Meet the eight upstanding citizens who are nominated for Australian Of The Year 2016. Each of the nominees is a shining light in their respective fields. And while it’s disappointing to see that none of the nominees are men and women of colour, all of the nominees are united in their commitment to a diverse, compassionate and just Australia.
NSW: Elizabeth Broderick, social change innovator.
Working as Sex Discrimination Commissioner from 2007 to 2015, Elizabeth Broderick has brought together industry leaders, governments and Defence Force chiefs to tackle gender inequality.
Broderick’s determination to break down the structural and social barriers women face in the workforce has been unwavering. Not only has she been a key advocate for the national paid parental leave scheme, she has also pushed for an increase in the number of women in decision-making positions and fought to elevate the voices of women in marginalised communities.
The trained lawyer’s influence spans globally. She established the internationally recognised ‘Male Champions of Change’ strategy, enlisting top tier businessmen to tackle gender discrimination in the workplace head on. An adviser to the UN, the World Bank and NATO, Broderick has asserted herself as a powerful voice in bringing about meaningful social change.
VIC: Julian McMahon, barrister and human rights advocate.
Barrister Julian McMahon has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to represent Australians in capital punishment cases abroad. A dogged opponent of the death penalty, McMahon has worked to support national citizens abroad for over 13 years without payment.
Most recently, he fought to protect the members of the Bali Nine, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. During the case, which required he sacrifice of all other work, McMahon exemplified outstanding compassion.
Watch Julian McMahon discuss his nomination below (post continues after video).
Currently on the board of Jesuit Social Services, and President of Reprieve Australia, Julian is a leading voice in fighting the death penalty and other social justice issues.
QLD: Catherine McGregor, diversity champion.
A former Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army, and a Group Captain in the Royal Australian Airforce, McGregor publicly announced she was embracing a female gender in 2012.
Leaving behind Malcolm to live full-time as Catherine, she has adopted the responsibility of sharing the hidden stories of thousands of gender-diverse Australians. A shining light of the transgender community, McGregor has spoken at the National Press Club in Canberra and at writers’ festivals to give a voice to those who have been silenced by prejudice.
Exhibiting immeasurable courage, McGregor has inspired and moved the Australian public, largely contributing to what is now a greater community understanding of gender diversity.
WA: Anne Carey, medical warrior.
Anne Carey has dedicated her life to caring for others, even when doing so comes at great personal risk. A nurse, midwife and medical warrior, Carey has volunteered in remote hospitals and clinics in marginalised communities in Papua New Guinea, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Working in extremely violent hotspots within Sudan, Kenya and Sierra Leone as an Australian Red Cross aid worker, Carey has consistently placed her life in danger to help local residents. Notably, Carey was one of the first healthcare professionals to volunteer battling on the frontline against the deadly Ebola virus.
Watch Anne Carey discuss her ‘call to action’ below (post continues after video).
SA: Dr John Greenwood, burns surgeon.
Dr John Greenwood has dedicated his life to securing affordable and fantastic burn care for patients around the world. Aside from attending to some 450 acute burns patients every year, Dr Greenwood is the Medical Director of the Adult Burn Centre.
Seeing patients across South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria (an area spanning 2.4 million square kilometres), John also runs state-wide education services.
For over a decade, John has been developing skin substitute products based on a biodegradable polyurethane platform that replace the skin graft. His commitment to patients has improved survival rates and resulted in an increased quality of life for burns victims across the world.
TAS: Jane Hutchinson, conservationist.
Committed to environmental conservation, Hutchinson started volunteering at the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) in 2001. Through her passionate commitment, the TLC has grown to become $30 million organisation responsible for the protection of 65,000 hectares of threatened habitat.
A practicing lawyer, Jane helped establish the legal and financial frameworks for the TLC in her spare time, sitting on the board for five years, which included three years as president. Stepping into the role of CEO in 2011, Jane is now responsible for safeguarding over two per cent of Tasmania’s private land.
ACT: David Morrison, equality advocate.
Morrison, a Chief of Army, has been globally recognised for his commitment to gender equality, diversity and social inclusion. Igniting a cultural shift that has changed Australia’s armed forces, the former Lieutenant-General has ordered male troops to ‘get out’ if they couldn’t accept women as equals.
As a result of Morrison’s influence, the number of women joining the army has grown, and today’s culture is moving towards one of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity. David’s speech at the 2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict reached all corners of the globe. Despite retiring in 2015 after serving for 36 years, David continues to champion human rights in his new role as the Chair of the Diversity Council Australia.
NT: Will MacGregor, youth worker.
Having struggled with extreme drug and alcohol problems as a youth, Will MacGregor has committed his life to helping young people face addiction in the Northern Territory.
MacGregor has now been sober for more than three decades, and works closely with Aboriginal elders and community leaders to run rehabilitation programs in the bush. With limited funds, Will originally worked out the back of his 4WD, but has worked tirelessly to attain funding, and now runs a 20-bed facility with nearly 30 staff members.
With a focus on natural healing, cultural respect and individual empowerment, Will helps young people with their decision making in order to rebuild their lives.
Who do you think is most deserving of winning Australian Of The Year 2016?