Alumni News Articles

Anti-violence campaigner tells us how being Young Australian of the Year 2009 has changed her life

25 June 2013

Anti-violence campaigner tells us how being Young Australian of the Year 2009 has changed her life

Jonty Bush was named Young Australian of the Year in 2009 for her work campaigning against violence and providing support to others, who like her, have experienced tragedy and lost family and friends to acts of violence.  

Since being awarded she has been given a “foot in the door” to continue her work and give a voice to the many victims of violence. Here is what she had to say about her experience as the 2009 Young Australian of the Year.


“To say that being recognised as the 2009 Young Australian of the Year was life-changing is an understatement.  

It was an achievement I never expected, after all, no one embarks on a career in community services for the accolades, but it was an amazing acknowledgment of the life-saving work we were doing at the time and an opportunity to shine a national light on an issue which at that time, was struggling to receive the exposure it deserved.  

The person who nominated me was from a family I was assisting at the time.  Simply being nominated was an incredible honour, that someone would take time out of their week to firstly notice your work and then complete the nomination process was, I found, a uniquely humbling experience and one which helped keep my fire for anti violence work burning.

One of my proudest days was to take her (my nominator) to Canberra for the announcement of the awards, to be there when (then) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd read my name out.

During my year as Young Australian of the Year, I travelled the country speaking with businesses, schools, communities, families and individuals about the impact of violence on our young people particularly.  

I was honoured at dinners, met with Ministers and Premiers, addressed thousands of people at conferences and even flew out in a tiny 8-seater plane to visit a remote community in the Northern Territory.  

I was trusted with numerous stories from individuals around how violence had affected their lives, including their ideas for how we can create a safer nation - these opportunities could never have occurred without the profile of the Australia Day awards.

Since 2009, I have continued my work in the anti-violence field. Receiving the Young Australian of the Year award did and continues to afford me a 'foot in the door' where formerly a victim's voice may have been overlooked.  

I encourage everyone to consider those around them, ordinary people who are putting in extraordinary efforts to improving our nation, who deserves recognition for the work they're doing - they just may be 2014's Australian of the Year!”


If you know someone who is championing for a good cause, whether it be someone you know or someone you admire from afar, you can have their achievements recognised and possibly change their life forever. Nominations for the Australian of the Year Awards 2014 are now open. You can nominate online until midnight Friday 2 August 2013.