It was great to see The Project's Carrie Bickmore use her TV WEEK Gold Logie acceptance speech to raise awareness of an issue that affects so many people. Nominations for the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards are now open and if you know of someone going above and beyond, give them the recognition they deserve! #beaniesforbraincancer www.australianoftheyear.org.au/nominate Read More →
Victoria's Australian of the Year Award recipients announced
Victorian Australian of the Year 2011 – Simon McKeon
Victorian Senior Australian of the Year 2011 – Leslie Erdi OAM
Victorian Young Australian of the Year 2011 – Angela Barker
Victoria Local Hero 2011 – Waleed Aly
Philanthropist Simon McKeon has been named Victoria’s Australian of the Year 2011 and was presented with his award by the Governor of Victoria, His Excellency Professor David de Kretser AC.
Simon is currently the Executive Chairman of the Macquarie Group’s Melbourne office and Chair of the CSIRO, but it’s his efforts to support multiple Australian and international charities which has earned him great admiration. The 55 year old from Brighton is a well-known philanthropist and avid sportsman who, despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) ten years ago, has not slowed down in his corporate life or his tireless community work.
He is involved with Business for Millennium Development a group which encourages businesses to engage with the developing world and Red Dust Role Models, which works with remote Indigenous communities. Simon was a Director of World Vision for 15 years and is now a Director of the Global Poverty Project, as well as volunteering as a counsellor for heroin addicts at the First Step Clinic in St Kilda.
Toorak’s Leslie Erdi OAM was awarded Victoria’s Senior Australian of the Year 2011 in recognition of a lifetime of generosity and community involvement based on his belief that success is not based on wealth but on your treatment of and respect of others.
At 89, Leslie has led an extraordinary life, having escaped a firing squad line-up in Nazi occupied Hungary and immigrating to Australia where he and his wife started a new life running a boarding hostel. From there he ventured into the fashion industry and became one of Australia’s most sought after manufacturers and retailers for the major department stores. In 1967, he built the world’s first purpose-built apartment hotel, marking the start of a hotel and apartment empire which allowed him to pursue his philanthropic activities. He has been involved in the creation of a $1 million centre for youth arts which allows young people to work with professional artists to develop their career, is responsible for revitalising Melbourne’s Sandridge Bridge which pays homage to the contribution of immigrants in Australia and has made major contributions to the Diabetic Institute, Leukaemia Foundation, Melbourne University Research and the Jewish National Fund.
Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year 2011 is 25 year old Angela (Anj) Barker, an advocate of care services and support for young people.
Brutally bashed by her ex-boyfriend, Anj suffered severe brain injury which saw her spend three years in hospital, rehabilitation and a nursing home before returning home where she still needs full time care. Her personal experiences as a young person housed in aged care facilities left her angry, sad and feeling trapped but they have also motivated her to campaign against placing young people in care facilities for the elderly and to lobby for the introduction of a national no-fault insurance scheme. Anj educates the public on anti-violence by talking to students, young women, police and politicians. She empowers others to say ‘no’ to violence, by advocating respectful relationships and has represented Australia at the United Nations and she also works to educate others to see the person, not the disability.
The Victorian Local Hero 2011 is Waleed Aly of Mitcham, in recognition of his work encouraging peaceful multiculturalism and cross-cultural understanding.
Waleed Aly is a lecturer in politics at Monash University, and works within the university's Global Terrorism Research Centre. A board member of the Islamic Council of Victoria, 32 year old Waleed has risen to prominence as a young, articulate spokesperson for the Australian Muslim community and has provided articulate and considered commentary on human rights and multiculturalism within Australia. Waleed’s articles on politics, religion, community and sport appear in newspapers all over Australia and he won a Walkley Award Commendation fin 2005. Waleed was made the White Ribbon Day ambassador for the United Nations’ international day for the elimination of violence against women in 2005 and was named one of The Bulletin’s ‘Smart 100’ in 2007. He was one of 40 Australians selected as a youth leadership delegate to the 2005 Future Summit and continues to challenge Australians to think about our country’s multicultural identity.
The Victorian award recipients will now join recipients from all other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2011 in Canberra.
Tam Johnston, Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, said the Victorian award recipients shared a common passion for helping others.
“This year’s Victorian award recipients are all committed to making a difference in the lives of others, whether it’s through philanthropy, through their personal time and passion or by using their own experiences to ensure others will benefit,” said Ms Johnston.
“These great Victorians show us all what courage, conviction, understanding and sharing can achieve.”
Ralph Norris, CEO Commonwealth Bank, offered his congratulations to the Victorian award recipients. The Commonwealth Bank has been the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than thirty years.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth Bank, I would like to congratulate the Victorian award recipients. Their hard work and achievements are an inspiration to the Australian community,” said Mr Norris.