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  1. #1
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    2014 : Australian of the Year

    Australian of the Year:
    Karen Percy

    Eight candidates from around the nation vie for honour

    Scientists, community leaders, a footy player, a dancer and an anti-bullying campaigner are among this year's finalists for the Australian of the Year award, to be announced tonight at Parliament House in Canberra.

    Hosting a morning tea at Parliament House this morning for the finalists and their families, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said those nominated represented the very best of Australia, and demonstrated the nation's diversity.

    "We have an amazing range of extraordinary, dedicated, committed, passionate, achieving people here in this courtyard this morning," said Mr Abbott, who has just arrived home from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

    "Where else could you find an award where finalists include footballers, ballet dancers, cancer researchers, singers and songwriters?

    "The genius and the wonder of our country is found in our people, in every part of our country, in every part of our life and you collectively reflect the very best of our country."

    However, Mr Abbott acknowledged that good work often came at a personal cost.

    "All of you who are finalists in the various Australian of the Year categories have spent a large part of your life working for the community," he said.

    "And if you're working for the community, inevitably you're not at home with your spouses, with your partners, with your children."

    And while hobnobbing with the prime minister, celebrities and other VIPs can seem glamorous, the lead up to the naming of Australian of the Year, for nominees, can involve hard work, and even pain and suffering.

    John Caldwell - Victoria's nominee - had the most difficult of childhoods.

    Drunk and abusive parents dragged the family from place to place.


    John Caldwell (VIC)

    He was always the new kid, always the butt of jokes and ridicule.

    At 15 he thought about ending his own life, just as his father had committed suicide just a few years before.

    But something within him resisted the urge. Now at just 36 years of age, he's a successful businessman, working hard to run three recruitment companies around the world.

    He came to the attention of Victoria's selectors because of his campaigns in schools and workplaces to combat bullying which he says is becoming more prevalent.

    Parents in particular have an important role to play in stopping bullies.

    "That person doesn't stop when they go home - making those negative comments about people whether it's in the workplace or at school. So parents I think, if they're not turning a blind eye can pick up on those things."

    It's harder to detect those who are being bullied, he says, because people instinctively try to hide the fact they are being targetted.

    He hopes his story will inspire others.

    "I hope it brings people out of the woodwork that never thought they could win an award like this," he told the ABC this week.

    Shellie Morris is an Aboriginal singer and health campaigner from the NT who didn't really understand her Indigenous roots until she was in her 30s.


    Shellie Morris (NT)

    She was adopted by a non-Indigenous couple as a baby and spent her life in the Sutherland Shire south of Sydney.

    Her teen years were difficult as she experienced racism, but eventually music and her extraordinary voice helped her to find her way again.

    Since reconnecting with her family in the Top End, she's immersed herself in the culture of her people singing about their lives and learning the numerous local languages spoken by her many aunties and uncles and cousins.

    Singing "saved my life. It's given me a voice," she told ABC News Breakfast recently.

    "I suppose when I first went to those remote places and saw the extreme poverty and difficulties, well I thought what can I do? I just have a guitar and was able to make the children smile and laugh.

    "And eventually I got brave enough to sing in all the languages."

    She also works on behalf of the Fred Hollows Foundation to raise awareness about glaucoma in Aboriginal communities.

    Aboriginal AFL footballer Adam Goodes is also making a difference for his people, particularly troubled youths.


    Adam Goodes (NSW)


    He runs a foundation with his cousin Michael O'Loughlin which aims to assist young girls and boys to get an education and a job.

    In 2013 Goodes won recognition for his stance against racism after a "hurtful" incident at an AFL game where a Collingwood supporter - a 13-year-old girl - called him an "ape".

    It was closely followed by insulting comments by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

    There were apologies and frenzied discussions within the AFL about attitudes towards race.

    "It'd be nice to think it was the last incident but people make mistakes," Goodes said.

    A number of this year's finalists are successful migrants.

    German-born Zsuzsoka Kecskes has become one of the nation's most celebrated neonatal doctors for her work at the new Centenary Women and Children's Hospital in Canberra.


    Zsuzsoka Kecskes (ACT)

    Her success can be put down to the simple adage "mother knows best", but in this case she really means it.

    The parents of babies in intensive care spend months by their sides, so they know as much if not more than the doctors and nurses about how their children will respond in certain circumstances.

    Dr Kecskes puts that at the heart of her neonatal program.

    "It's about giving information, understanding where the family is coming from because every family is different," she said.

    "Listening to them, then together taking the decision and taking the responsibility and the good outcome in the end."

    When she first came to Australia almost 20 years ago, it was supposed to be a short-term visit to undertake a research project.

    "By you choosing me as Australian of the Year (ACT) you have made me part of the story of Australia and for that I'm incredibly proud and incredibly thankful," she said.

    Another "accidental" Australian is Professor Thomas McMeekin, who left Northern Ireland in the mid 1970s to take up a three-year post in Tasmania.


    Thomas McMeekin (TAS)

    When his term was up, he decided to stay.

    He's credited with helping to develop maths formulas and models to predict potential problems, whether it's determining the shelf life of yoghurt or ideal temperatures for meat when it's exported around the world.

    He's also been a big supporter of education around food safety and established the Food Safety Centre in Hobart.

    Professor McMeekin has been party to more than 200 published research articles.

    He's confident the predictive modelling his team is working on will have broader applications.

    "We're getting attention in the global (climate) change debate, in environmental microbiology, marine microbiology and biotechnology," he told ABC News Breakfast.

    Last year he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for his service to science.

    Li Cunxin's journey to Australia - from his home in China to the US and then Europe - was ultimately driven by love.


    Li Cunxin (QLD)

    While dancing in London he was paired with his now wife, Australian Mary McKendry.

    They settled in Australia in 1995.

    He's been nominated for his work in developing excellence in ballet through his job as artistic director at Queensland Ballet.

    He celebrates his birthday on Australia Day and sees that as a great sign for his life here.

    "It's really natural to fall in love with this country and with its people. So naturally I want to be a part of the ongoing success of this country," he told the ABC this week.

    Father of three Bruce Robinson of Perth has developed an educational mentoring program to encourage boys and men to value the role of fathers and father figures.

    The lack of a father figure is evident in WA's alarming juvenile crime statistics affecting an estimated 80 per cent of young men in detention, particularly Aboriginal youths.


    Professor Bruce Robinson (WA)

    It's having an effect on the next generation.

    "When you look at fathers and you see how lost they are - they love their kids but they don't know what to do. The kids suffer because of it," he told local ABC Radio in Perth recently.

    Mr Robinson's day job entails dealing with cancer patients at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and researching mesothelioma, the asbestos-related cancer that could affect as many as 1 million Australians in the years to come.

    He and his team at the University of Western Australia have achieved a number of world firsts in the detection and treatment of mesothelioma, including a blood test.

    Felicity-ann Lewis is a proud supporter of public education - having attended public schools as a youth, and taught in them as an adult.


    Dr Felicity-ann Lewis (SA)

    Now she teaches the teachers at Flinders University in Adelaide with an emphasis on health and physical education.

    She's actively engaged in the community through her work as Mayor of the Adelaide suburb of Marion.

    She regularly meets disability advocates, local migrant groups, Indigenous leaders and other groups to encourage the best health and life opportunities.

    "Early life, poverty, education levels, access to health care, to transport, addiction, work and unemployment - those are the things that can really shape people's health outcomes, their ability to be well and therefore to be really fully-functioning in our community," she told the ABC this week.

    Last year she helped to fundraise for the country's first war memorial dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, which was erected in Adelaide in November.

    xxx.xxx.xx
    Last edited by Mid; 25-01-2014 at 03:06 PM. Reason: formatting

  2. #2
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    The 2014 Australian of the Year :

    Aboriginal AFL footballer Adam Goodes is also making a difference for his people, particularly troubled youths.


    Adam Goodes (NSW)


    He runs a foundation with his cousin Michael O'Loughlin which aims to assist young girls and boys to get an education and a job.

    In 2013 Goodes won recognition for his stance against racism after a "hurtful" incident at an AFL game where a Collingwood supporter - a 13-year-old girl - called him an "ape".

    It was closely followed by insulting comments by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

    There were apologies and frenzied discussions within the AFL about attitudes towards race.

    "It'd be nice to think it was the last incident but people make mistakes," Goodes said.

  3. #3
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    AFL legend Adam Goodes wins Australian of the Year
    Paul Farrell
    Saturday 25 January 2014

    Sydney Swans player sees winning accolade as a chance to celebrate his Indigenous culture


    Australian of the Year 2014 winner Adam Goodes pictured at Parliament House in Canberra on Saturday.

    Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAPimage

    Indigenous campaigner and Sydney Swans AFL star Adam Goodes has been named the 2014 Australian of the Year.

    Goodes was presented the award by Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Saturday night at Parliament House in recognition of his leadership and dedication to the Indigenous community.

    As well as being a decorated AFL player, winning two Brownlow Medals and two premierships, 34-year-old Goodes has been actively involved in Indigenous sporting and community programs, and has championed the fight against racism both on and off the sporting field.

    Goodes has made a significant contribution to outreach programs for young people, and has spent time working with troubled Indigenous youths.

    He and his cousin Michael O’Loughlin set up the Go Foundation which helps young Indigenous people to seek a brighter future in education, employment and health.

    Fred Chaney AO was named Senior Australian of the Year for his dedication to advocating for Indigenous rights and reconciliation.

    As deputy president of the National Native Title Tribunal he played a major role in the recognition of native title interests in Australia, and has a long commitment to social justice and advancing indigenous causes.

    The Young Australian of 2014 is 21 year old Jacqueline Freney, a paralympic swimmer who won an impressive eight gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic games, the most of any Paralympian in a single games.

    Born with cerebral palsy, Freney has demonstrated exceptional courage and spirit, and has also become involved in the broader community, working as a motivation speaker for Swimming Australia.

    Tim Conolan has been named Australia’s Local hero of 2014 for his charity work with TLC for Kids. Conolan founded the charity in 1998, which helps provide support for seriously ill children and their families.

    The chair of the National Australia Day Council, Adam Gilchrist, offered his congratulations to all of the finalists.

    "The finalists are an extraordinary group of Australians who represent theirs tates and territory with distinction and who show us all what is possible in our country," said the former Test cricketer.

    "In Adam, Fred, Jacqueline and Tim we have fellow Australians who live their values every day, who have achieved great success and also use their success to help others and make a difference.”

    "They inspire us to be better Australians and their contributions make Australia a better place to live."

    theguardian.com

  4. #4
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    Feck me, how agenda driven is that lot?

    "He's been nominated for his work in developing excellence in ballet through his job as artistic director at Queensland Ballet."

    Really? Really??

    double feck.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Li Cunxin
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    Feck me, how agenda driven is that lot?
    It does look to be at the PC extreme. If you get offered the award, N99, I suggest you decline as a matter of principle.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Li Cunxin
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    Feck me, how agenda driven is that lot?
    It does look to be at the PC extreme. If you get offered the award, N99, I suggest you decline as a matter of principle.
    you are right about having a mixed bag of lollies nominated to please the pc wankers.
    hope necron is never seen in a tutu.
    but good on the champion afl footy player getting the nod as aust of year.

  7. #7
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    Why wasn't Rolf Harris on the list?

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