Alumni News Articles

Who will it be?

12 January 2011

Who will be named Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia’s Local Hero for 2011?

On the evening of Tuesday 25 January, 32 men and women will gather in Canberra as finalists for the annual announcement of Australia’s most prestigious, peer-nominated awards. The four names announced that evening will be added to a list of great Australians which goes back to 1960.

Among the names in the running for Australian of the Year 2011 are Tasmania’s long distance fundraising runner Deborah De Williams, Australian National University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb AC, Northern Territory Indigenous language expert Professor Michael Christie and Victorian social entrepreneur Simon McKeon.  (see list of all finalists at end of this release)

The Senior Australian of the Year 2011 could come from among names such as Queensland’s gay rights advocate Shelley Argent OAM, disability rights campaigner Professor Ron McCallum AO of NSW and South Australian water expert Professor Don Bursill AM. (see list of all finalists at end of this release)

Among the 16-30 year olds being considered for Young Australian of the Year 2011 are skin cancer crusader Clinton Heal of Western Australia, tireless ACT volunteer David Bresnik and Queensland’s solo sailor Jessica Watson. (see list of all finalists at end of this release)

Australia’s Local Hero 2011, an award which recognises the extraordinary achievements of people at a community level, could see people such as Sydney’s angel of The Gap Don Ritchie OAM, Yirrkala Indigenous community leader Djapirri Mununnggirritj, Tasmanian police offer Senior Constable Ian Edwards or Melbourne’s multicultural mentor Waleed Aly achieve national hero status. (see list of all finalists at end of this release)

Tam Johnston, Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, said the 2011 finalists were all inspirational for the many different ways in which they were making a difference in their communities or their nation.

“All of this year’s award finalists represent the values we hold dear as Australians,” said Ms Johnston.

“They have each displayed excellence; they’ve inspired us with their actions and are truly exceptional role models for us all.”

Ralph Norris, CEO Commonwealth Bank, offered his congratulations to all state and territory award recipients. The Commonwealth Bank has been the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than thirty years.

“The state and territory award recipients are making life better for others with their work and their contributions are something we can all be very proud of,” said Mr Norris.

The Australian of the Year Awards 2011 will be announced at a ceremony outside Parliament House Canberra from 6:00pm on Tuesday 25 January 2011.  The ceremony will also be attended by Australian of the Year 2010 Professor Patrick McGorry AO, Senior Australian of the Year 2010 Maggie Beer, Young Australian of the Year 2010 Corporal Mark Donaldson VC and Australia’s Local Hero 2010 Ronni Kahn.

Australian of the Year 2011 Finalists:
NSW  Professor Larissa Behrendt
VIC Simon McKeon
QLD  Assoc Professor Noel Hayman
WA Malcolm McCusker AO QC
SA  Professor Tanya Monro
TAS  Deborah De Williams
ACT  Professor Ian Chubb AC
NT  Professor Michael Christie

Senior Australian of the Year 2011 Finalists:
NSW  Professor Ron McCallum AO
VIC  Leslie Erdi OAM
QLD Shelley Argent OAM
WA Robert Vojakovic AM
SA Professor Don Bursill AM
TAS  Mary Parsissons
ACT  Marie Coleman PSM
NT Barry Abbott

Young Australian of the Year 2011 Finalists:
NSW Tara Winkler
VIC Angela Barker
QLD  Jessica Watson
WA Clinton Heal
SA  Vincent Buckskin
TAS Kirsty Albion
ACT David Bresnik
NT Kalinda Griffiths

Australia’s Local Hero 2011 Finalists:
NSW  Donald Ritchie OAM
VIC Waleed Aly
QLD Dr Don Bowley
WA  Mary Victor O’Reeri
SA  Peter Goers
TAS Senior Constable Ian Edwards
ACT  Alan Jessop
NT   Djapirri Mununggirritj

For more information on the national finalists, click here.