2013 Australian of the Year Media icon
DOB: 17 / Jan / 1942
From: New South Wales
Ita Buttrose has, over a lifetime, fostered many important public health conversations, using her high profile as a media icon to raise awareness of often ignored societal issues. Her numerous voluntary posts have included her chairing of the National Breast Cancer Centre’s Advisory Network, serving as director of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and her work spearheading Australia’s HIV/AIDS Education Program. In 2011 she became National President of Alzheimer’s Australia, a role in which she spoke across the country advocating and explaining the importance of health and wellbeing to an ageing population. She is now the organisation’s National Ambassador. She has given glamour to the unglamorous, and exposure to issues unseen. She is Patron of the Macular Degeneration Foundation, and Emeritus Director of Arthritis Australia. Ita was the founding editor of Cleo Magazine and the first ever woman to edit a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia. Her early career was the subject of the highly-acclaimed ABC miniseries Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo. In 2014 Macquarie University conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters on Ita in recognition of her contribution to the arts, and the following year she received another Honorary Doctorate, this time from the University of Wollongong for her contribution to mental health and ageing. She has received an AO for her services to the community notably in the area of public health education when she chaired the National Advisory Committee on AIDS, an OBE for her services to journalism, and a Centenary Medal for business leadership. Uncompromising integrity has characterised her approach to her life and her work, as has a passion to make a difference; and a fierce pride in Australia.