Dylan Alcott named 2022 Australian of the Year.
2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott has vowed to use his title to improve the lives of people living with disabilities. But first, he has another tennis grand slam to win.
Born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord, Alcott grew up hating his disability and "didn't want to be here".
Now, the seven-time Australian Open champion thinks it's the "best thing that ever happened to me".
"We have to have greater representation of people with a disability absolutely everywhere," Alcott told the Australian of the Year Awards in Canberra on Tuesday night.
"In our boardrooms, in our parliaments, in our mainstream schools, on our dating apps, on our sporting fields, in our universities, absolutely everywhere."
Alcott received the honour fresh off a win at Melbourne Park before rushing back to try to secure an eighth Australian Open title.
2022 Senior Australian of the Year: Long-serving St John Ambulance volunteer Valmai Dempsey, 71, who was recognised for her efforts responding to the Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.
2022 Young Australian of the Year: Founder of mobile homeless medical service, Street Side Medics, Dr Daniel Nou, 26. Who has so far helped an estimated 300 people with his not-for-profit which launched in August 2020.
2022 Local Hero: Recovered alcoholic and Sober in the Country founder Shanna Whan, whose movement is changing lives across remote and rural Australia.
Your 2022 Australians of the Year 🙌 It was such an inspiring evening having all our state and territory recipients in one room together, celebrating their accomplishments.— AusoftheYearAwards (@ausoftheyear) January 25, 2022
Thank you for watching and don't forget to nominate someone great for the 2023 #AusoftheYear awards! pic.twitter.com/SXU7KSXHlu
Multiple gold medal-winning swimmer Emma McKeon was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), while other stars such as slalom canoeist Jess Fox, skateboarder Keegan Palmer and swimmers Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown were awarded Medals of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Fellow athlete, basketball player Patty Mills, was awarded an AM for leading the Boomers to bronze at the Olympics and his Indigenous leadership.
Former chief scientist Alan Finkel, picked up the highest honour in being made a Companion of the Order (AC).
Some 58 people were recognised for their efforts in Australia's pandemic response, with those to be added to an ongoing and permanent COVID-19 honour roll.
Other notable names on the honours list include: singer Delta Goodrem (AM), mining magnate Gina Rinehart (AO), cook and food author Maggie Beer (AO), former NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons (AO) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims (AO).
Of the 732 awards in the general division, 47 per cent were given to women, the largest percentage of female recipients since the honours system was introduced in 1975.
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Tame will fight 'for as long as it takes'.
Grace Tame ensured her final hours as Australian of the Year were neither quiet nor forgettable.
The child sexual abuse survivor, and advocate for women and children, has been a vocal and sustained critic of the Morrison government's track record.
Tuesday's morning tea ahead of the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards was no exception.
Ms Tame stood, stony faced, next to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny for an obligatory photo opportunity at The Lodge in Canberra.
She reluctantly shook Mr Morrison's hand without meeting the Prime Minister's eyes.
The exchange led LNP senator James McGrath to label Ms Tame "partisan, political and childish".
But former Liberal MP-turned Morrison government critic, Julia Banks, saw it differently.
"Grace ... is the only person in this photo who lives her life with honesty, integrity and empathy," Ms Banks wrote as she tweeted the photo.
Hours later, Ms Tame outlined her next steps - "with the creatively named Grace Tame Foundation" - as she handed over her Australian of the Year title to wheelchair tennis champion Dylan Alcott.
We’re officially live!— Grace Tame (@TamePunk) December 10, 2021
1 in 5 Australian children experiences sexual abuse.
Our purpose is to drive cultural and structural change, with the ultimate goal of a future free from the sexual abuse of children and others. For more information, visit: https://t.co/ALrKGcorMn pic.twitter.com/r6OMwOeKij
"I'm standing on the shoulders of giants and I want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Australia who have been continuing this conversation for a such a long time and for embracing the message last year," she said.
Her foundation has the "overarching goal of ending the sexual abuse of children and others ... pursuing that specifically through structural change, so education, and legal reform".
"That's what we'll be doing for as long as it takes to achieve that goal."
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Protests to mark January 26.
Protesters will gather at Canberra's Aboriginal Tent Embassy today - which marks 50 years of advocacy - before an expected march to Parliament House, which will be mirrored across the country this January 26.
While the date of 'Australia Day' remains contentious, a new Roy Morgan poll shows 65 per cent of Australians say January 26 should be considered "Australia Day" - up six points on a year ago - with 35 per cent saying "Invasion Day" is more appropriate.
However, the figures are reversed when it comes to Australians under 25, with 64 per cent in favour of changing the date.
Mamamia only refers to January 26 by its date, to acknowledge that it is not a day of celebration for all Australians. If you want to be an ally today, we urge you to sign this letter to your MP about the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for constitutional chance and structural reform that recognises the sacred, ancient spiritual link Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to their land.
It's been more than four years since the release of the statement, and still no legislative progress has been made.
- How to have a conversation with someone who's against the push to change the date.
- 6 important facts Australians should know about January 26.
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NSW on track for millionth virus case as restrictions extended.
NSW is expected to report its one millionth coronavirus case of the pandemic, two years after the first cases recorded in Australia.
Half of those cases were added in the last two weeks and more than 90 per cent of them in the last two months of the Omicron variant's ferocious spread after returning international travellers unknowingly brought the variant into the country.
On Tuesday, Mr Perrottet announced reintroduced restrictions for mask use, hospitality density limits and bans on singing and dancing, due to end on Thursday, would be extended until the end of February in a bid to suppress the spread of Omicron as children return to classrooms.
He said extending restrictions to February 28 was "the right approach" as it would suppress the spread of Omicron ahead of increased movement once schools return next week, he said.
NSW Health reported 18,512 new cases on Tuesday - a rise of 3421 - but the seven-day average lowered to 23,100.
29 people died yesterday, and COVID-positive people in hospital hit a record 2943, but those requiring intensive care dropped by 13 to 183.
Victoria recorded 14, 836 infections and 29 deaths. Another 11 people died in Queensland, which reported 9546 new cases, while the ACT recorded 904 infections and one death.
South Australia recorded 1869 cases and five deaths, while there were 643 new cases in Tasmania and one death.
There were 517 cases in the NT, and 14 in WA.
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Australian boy held in Syrian prison.
A 17-year-old Australian boy has sent his family voice messages from a Syrian prison, saying he fears for his life after his friends died beside him.
The boy says children as young as eight are being killed in the Guweiran prison and that he has been injured by gunfire.
"I'm seeing a lot of bodies of kids –eight years, 10 years, 12 years. My friends got killed here. I'm very scared, I'm by myself," he said.
"There's a lot of people dead, a lot of people injured, people are screaming next to me, people are scared. Please help me."
The boy says he's bleeding from bullet wounds and there are no doctors in the prison that are able to help.
JUST IN: An Australian boy is one of 700 trapped in a prison under attack in North East #Syria. Save the Children is calling for the Australian Government to intervene and bring all Australian children home to safety. #auspol @tomrjoyner @abcnews— Save the Children Australia News (@SaveAusNews) January 24, 2022
It's believed the boy has been in the prison since he was 15 after being separated from his mother after the capture of Baghouz - situated on the Syria-Iraq border - by ISIS in 2019.
The Save the Children organisation believes children are being used as human shields at the prison and has urged the Australian government to heed the boy's pleas.
"Save the Children warned Australian officials of the significant risks to Australian children in northeast Syria, including this boy," the organisation's acting CEO Mat Tinkler said.
"Will it take the death of an Australian child to compel the Australian government to act?"
Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters she was seeking further advice about the matter, noting that Australia did not have diplomatic representation in Syria.
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Feature image: Brook Mitchell/Getty/Don Arnold/Jenny Evans.