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Australian of the Year nominees

on 11/01/2019

The Australian of the Year for 2011 will be announced at a ceremony outside Parliament House on Tuesday January 25th.

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Here’s a list of candidates.

This year’s finalists range from Queensland’s first Indigenous doctor Noel Hayman, nominated for his efforts to improve the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians, to Young Australian of the Year nominee Jessica Watson for her solo sailing voyage around the world.

Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, Tam Johnston, says the 2011 finalists are inspirational for the different impacts they have had on their communities or the nation.

“All of this year’s award finalists represent the values we hold dear as Australians,” Ms Johnston said.

Winners from the four categories: Australian Local Hero, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, and Australian of the Year, will join a list of honoured Australians which dates back to 1960.

Here’s a list of candidates from each of the four categories, and biographical notes on the Australian of the Year finalists from around Australia.

Australian of the Year 2011 Finalists

NSW Larissa Behrendt

Larissa Behrendt decided when she was 11 years old that she wanted to be a lawyer after her indigenous father found her mother’s removal certificate. Today, she is a Professor of Law and Director of Research at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology in Sydney. Larissa is a Euleyai and Kamillaroi woman and advocates for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. She continues to be at the forefront of national discussion. In 2009, she was named the NAIDOC Indigenous Person of the year and has authored several books on Indigenous legal issues, which have earned her multiple awards.

VIC Simon McKeon

Simon Mckeon is a prominent and successful investment banker but has earned his nomination for Australian of the Year for his support of various Australian and international charities. Simon recently retired as the Founding Chairman of MS research Australia. He supports World Vision International and is involved in the Global Poverty Project and Red Dust Role Models which works with remote Indigenous communities.

QLD Associate Professor Noel Hayman

Queensland’s first Indigenous doctor Noel Hayman is dedicated to improving the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians. Noel is Director and Founder of a major Indigenous health medical centre at Inala. Over the last decade he’s helped increase the number of patients from 12 to 2,500. Noel is working to improve diabetes and immunisation rates and is also actively recruiting and training indigenous doctors.

WA Malcolm McCusker AO QC

Malcolm McCusker is Western Australia’s most senior QC and has dedicated extensive time and effort to helping Australian communities in need. After identifying a community in need, Malcolm encourages collaboration from corporate and private stakeholders and develops strategy to best implement change. He has donated in excess $20 million and provided many hours of volunteer service, making a remarkable difference to over 100 organisations and a multitude of individuals.

SA Professor Tanya Monro

Professor Tanya Monro is one of Australia’s leading physicists. Her work in the field of photonics and the use of optical fibres has applications in information processing, surgery, health monitoring, military technology, agriculture and environmental monitoring. Her PhD research at the University of Adelaide developed new classes of optical fibres and won her the Bragg Gold Medal for the best physics PhD in Australia. Tanya and her team are leading the world in the development of a new generation of optical fibres.

TAS Deborah De Williams

Breast cancer survivor Deborah De Williams is the first woman to run a complete, non-continuous lap around Australia. In 2009 Deborah and her border collie Maggie ran 20,000km from Hobart to Darwin via the east coast and raised $100,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In 2010 she began the second leg from Hobart to Darwin via the west coast raising a further $82,000. She is expected to complete the lap in March 2011. Deborah hopes to educate women about the importance of regular breast examination and screening.

ACT Professor Ian Chubb AC

Professor Ian Chubb is Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University and has made an exceptional contribution to tertiary education over three decades and believes a robust higher education system is crucial to the nation’s economic, social and cultural prosperity. He holds a Master of Science, a Master of Arts and a Doctorate of Philosophy. He has been published widely, received numerous academic awards and has held executive university appointments. He has served as President of the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, Chair of the International Alliance of Research Universities, and has held various positions on research councils.

NT Professor Michael Christie

Professor Michael Christie is a linguist, educator and researcher working with remote indigenous communities. A fluent speaker of Yolngu languages he helped establish the Yolngu studies program at Charles Darwin University which won the Prime Minister’s prize for teaching in 2005. He developed a program for enabling Yolngu elders in remote homeland communities to teach their languages and culture to students around the world using remote digital technologies.

Senior Australian of the Year 2011 Finalists:

NSW Professor Ron McCallum AO

VIC Leslie Erdi OAM

QLD Shelley Argent OAM

WA Robert Vojakovic AM

SA Professor Don Bursill AM

TAS Mary Parsissons

ACT Marie Coleman PSM

NT Barry Abbott

Young Australian of the Year 2011 Finalists:

NSW Tara Winkler

VIC Angela Barker

QLD Jessica Watson

WA Clinton Heal

SA Vincent Buckskin

TAS Kirsty Albion

ACT David Bresnik

NT Kalinda Griffiths

Australia’s Local Hero 2011 Finalists:

NSW Donald Ritchie OAM

VIC Waleed Aly

QLD Dr Don Bowley

WA Mary Victor O’Reeri

SA Peter Goers

TAS Senior Constable Ian Edwards

ACT Alan Jessop

NT Djapirri Mununggirritj


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