Australian of the Year Award
2013 Australian of the Year, Ita Buttrose. Image courtesy of the National Australia Day Council.
On Australia Day - 26 January - each year, the Prime Minister of Australia announces the Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, and Local Heroes Awards.
Australian of the Year
The Australian of the Year Award is one of the country's most prestigious, open to all Australians regardless of age. It recognises outstanding achievement, and an individual's role in inspiring fellow Australians and contributing to the nation. The first Award was presented in 1960.
Acknowledged for her brilliant and groundbreaking media career, the 2013 Australian of the Year, Ita Buttrose now dedicates her considerable energy and skills to championing medical education and health care. At 23 just she was appointed women's editor at The Telegraph and, in 1971, created Cleo magazine for Sir Frank and Kerry Packer. It was an instant hit, becoming the top selling monthly women’s magazine and propelling Ita to national celebrity status. Three years later Ita was appointed editor of Women’s Weekly and in 1980 became the first woman editor of an Australian metropolitan newspaper and was the first woman appointed to the News Ltd Board in 1981.
In parallel to her stellar media career, Ita continues to champion social and health issues. Since 2011 she has been National President of Alzheimer’s Australia and is also Vice President Emeritus of Arthritis Australia. She uses her national profile to raise awareness of breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and prostate cancer.
Previous Australians of the Year include: Nobel Prize winner Sir John Eccles, AC (1963); Australia's first Aboriginal Senator, Neville Bonnor, AO (1979); adventurer and philanthropist Dick Smith (1986); eye surgeon Fred Hollows, AC (1990); artist Arthur Boyd, AC, OBE (1995); Army Chief Lieutenant-General Peter Cosgrove, AC, MC (2001); Professor Fiona Stanley, AC (2003); Professor Tim Flannery (2007); Lee Kernaghan (2008); Professor Michael Dodson AM (2009); Professor Patrick McGorry (2010); Simon McKeon (2011) and actor Geoffrey Rush (2012).
Young Australian of the Year
2013 Young Australian of the Year, Akram Azimi. Image courtesy of the National Australia Day Council.
The first Young Australian of the Year Award was announced in 1979. This Award recognises the achievements of young people aged 16 to 24.
The Young Australian of the Year 2013 is Akram Azimi, a dedicated mentor to young Indigenous people. Arriving in Australia 13 years ago from Afghanistan he went from being ‘an ostracised refugee kid with no prospects’ to becoming his school's head boy. An outstanding student, he topped the tertiary entrance exam scores among his classmates. He's now studying a triple major – law, science and arts – at the University of Western Australia. Intent on giving back to his adopted country, Akram uses his leadership and pastoral skills to help young people in remote and rural Western Australia. In 2011 he co-founded a student-run initiative I am the other, set up to raise awareness about Indigenous issues in universities.
For three years, Akram mentored young Indigenous people in the Looma community in the Kimberley region and he has mentored primary school students in the small farming community of Wyalkatchem, in WA’s wheat belt. He is also mentoring a Special Olympics athlete to help raise community awareness of disability issues.
Former Young Australians of the Year include: conductor Simone Young (1986); Olympic champions Cathy Freeman (1990), Kieren Perkins, OAM (1992), and Ian Thorpe (2000); youth leader Trisha Broadbridge (2006); Casey Stoner (2008); Jonty Bush (2009); Trooper Mark Donaldson VC (2010); Jessica Watson (2011) and Marita Cheng (2012).
Senior Australian of the Year
2013 Senior Australian of the Year, Ian Maddocks. Image courtesy of the National Australia Day Council.
The Senior Australian of the Year Award began in 1999. It honours Australians aged 60 years and over who continue to make a significant contribution to the nation.
The Senior Australian of the Year 2013 is Emeritus Professor , an eminent palliative care specialist and a passionate advocate for world peace. He has been a key leader for many years in both the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War - an organisation which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in 1985.
Since 1980 he has advocated improved care for the dying, and was first Chair of Palliative Care at Flinders University, first President of the Australian Association for Hospice and Palliative Care and first President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine. Recipient of the inaugural Bethlehem Griffiths Medal for research in palliative care, Ian is recognised internationally for his work in palliative care, tropical and preventative medicine.
Other winners since 1999 include: entertainer and songwriter Slim Dusty; founder and Chairman of the 2002 Year of the Outback Bruce Campbell, MBE (2003); Antonio Milhinhos, businessman and philanthropist, (2005); David Bussau AM (2008); Pat LaManna OAM (2009); Maggie Beer (2010); Professor Ron McCallum AO (2011) and Laurie Baymarrwangga (2012).
2013 Local Hero, shane Phillips. Image courtesy of the National Australia Day Council.
The Local Heroes Award was introduced in 2003. It recognises the outstanding work of local communities, and provides an opportunity for more Australians to be recognised for their dedication to improving the lives of those in their neighbourhood. The first national Local Hero 2003 was Superintendent Brian Parry, AFSM, who was recognised for his long service to firefighting. Other local heroes include patient advocate Toni Hoffman (2006); Jonathon Welch AM (2008); Graeme Drew (2009); Ronni Kahn (2010); Donald Ritchie OAM (2011) and (2012).
Australia’s Local Hero 2013 is advocate for Aboriginal rights, Shane Phillips. He is a respected member of the Redfern Aboriginal community and is regarded as their voice on a range of youth issues, juvenile justice and Aboriginal deaths in custody. He is the fulltime CEO of the Tribal Warrior Association, a non-profit organisation directed by Aboriginal people and Elders that offers training for employment and helps at the grassroots level with emergency relief for struggling families. He also operates a mentoring program to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to achieve their full potential. Shane is also credited with improving the relationship between his community and the police. Born and raised in Redfern, Shane is an outstanding community leader, respected by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike for his integrity, hard work and determination to get things done.
Nominations and selection
Anyone can nominate a candidate for the Awards. Nomination forms are available from the Australian of the Year website or by phoning 1300 130 279.
Biographies throughout from The Australian of the Year website.
Australian achievement and excellence
- Australian of the Year
- It's an Honour - Australian Honours Website
- The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust - aims to reward proven achievement with further opportunity
- Australian Business Excellence Awards
- Australian Achiever Awards - Australian excellence in customer service
- Grants and initiatives - Australia Council
Last updated: 29th January 2013
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