Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Young Australian of the Year
National Finalist Young Australian of the Year 2017
AFL player turned diversity and inclusion champion
In 2012, Jason Ball harnessed the national spotlight when he became the first Aussie Rules player at any level of the game to come out. With no openly gay players at the elite AFL level his announcement was a game changer in the hyper-masculine sport and Jason’s story quickly captured the media's attention and the public's imagination. Jason was met with overwhelming support and used his platform to shine a light on the prevalence of homophobia in sport. Since then, Jason has marched in Pride March Victoria alongside his teammates from the Yarra Glen Football Club. He kick-started the Pride Cup – an event that celebrates diversity and inclusion in sport, and was the inspiration for the AFL's Pride Game between St Kilda and Sydney. He’s trained AFL draftees on inclusive language, and has represented beyondblue and the Safe Schools Coalition Australia, speaking at schools, sporting clubs and conferences about mental health and inclusion. With tremendous courage and conviction, Jason has elevated the conversation about homophobia in sport.