2015 Victorian Australian of the Year Awards Recipients Announced
2015 Victorian Australian of the Year - Rosie Batty (Tyabb)
2015 Victorian Senior Australian of the Year - Professor Sam Berkovic AC (Caulfield North)
2015 Victorian Young Australian of the Year - Thomas King (Kalorama)
2015 Victorian Local Hero- Louise Davidson (Balwyn)
The Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, AC, Lieutenant Governor of Victoria, has announced the 2015 Victorian Australian of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony at the RACV City Club in Melbourne this evening.
The Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, AC, Lieutenant Governor of Victoria, said she was delighted to announce the Award winners.
“Each of the Victorian recipients have not only demonstrated excellence in their field but have significantly contributed to the benefit of our vibrant and dynamic community,” said Chief Justice Marilyn Warren.
“On behalf of all Victorians I congratulate the recipients on their achievements and thank them for their continued dedication to the betterment of our society.”
Rosie Batty has been named 2015 Victorian Australian of the Year for her work as a domestic violence campaigner. Rosie has risen above her personal tragedy and the great loss of her 11 year old son, Luke, who was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father in a very public assault. Rosie’s story jolted Australia into recognising that family violence can happen to anyone and she has given voice to many thousands of victims of domestic violence who had until then remained unheard.
Rosie now champions efforts to fight domestic violence, making many media and public speaking appearances to shine a spotlight on the issue and call for systemic changes. Her incredible strength and selfless efforts are an inspiration to many other victims of domestic violence, while her courage and willingness to speak out will make Australia a far better and safer place.
Neurologist Professor Sam Berkovic AC has been awarded 2015 Victorian Senior Australian of the Year.
One of the world’s most respected neurologists, Professor Sam Berkovic’s seminal research has revolutionised understanding and approaches to human epilepsy. Sam’s original and meticulous research over 25 years has transformed diagnosis, enabled accurate genetic counselling and significantly improved treatment for patients.
Sam’s work established the connection between genetics and epilepsy, with major global efforts now focused on gene discovery and understanding how genetic abnormalities cause seizures. Recognised at the highest international level, Sam has published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles relating to epilepsy and genetics; these have been cited in scientific publications more than 25,000 times.
He is admired for his careful mentorship of young specialists, his leadership in building the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Austin Health, his work chairing international committees and his skill as a teacher and communicator. Now 61, Sam leads his field with wisdom, intellect and skill and his research has put Australia at the forefront of global research into epilepsy while improving the lives of people around the globe.
The 2015 Victorian Young Australian of the Year is 18 year old Kalorama resident Thomas King.
At age 13, Thomas became a real life hero in the campaign against unsustainable palm oil. After learning about the devastating environmental and social impacts of palm oil development in Borneo and Sumatra, Thomas created an online resource to help consumers avoid palm oil in everything from cosmetics to cleaning products. SayNotoPalmOil.com now receives up to half a million visitors each year from 180 countries around the world.
Having raised more than $25,000 towards rainforest protection and wildlife centres in Malaysia and Indonesia, Thomas has since branched out into other environmental, animal rights and humanitarian causes.
Now 18, and an articulate, engaging and charismatic public speaker, Thomas works for Oaktree, Australian Teens Against Animal Cruelty and the Jane Goodall Institute as a change‐maker in human rights, environmental preservation and animal protection. A talented young journalist and filmmaker, Thomas has a passion for film and photography and uses this to communicate his message to a global audience.
Balwyn's Louise Davidson has been awarded 2015 Victorian Local Hero for her work as a breast cancer fundraiser.
When Louise Davidson’s three daughters were little, they gave her a special card every Mother’s Day which read: “Dear Mum, Happy Mother’s Day Classic.” Louise co-founded Australia’s largest national fun run and breast cancer fundraising event after her mother passed away from the disease.
What started as a ‘walk in the park’ in 1998 has since grown into a major national community event, attracting 135,000 participants and raising $4.5 million in 2014 alone. With the help of her Women in Super colleagues, Louise worked as a volunteer event manager while bringing up young children.
Today, Louise works as an investment manager in the superannuation industry, acts as voluntary Chair of the event she co-founded and remains an intrinsic part of the management team. Louise’s vision, passion and determination inspires a team of six staff and an enormous group of volunteers who have raised $24.3 million over 16 years. Louise has created a celebration of spirit and hope which funds research projects that are making a massive impact on the quality of life of thousands of Australians.
The Victorian Award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national Awards to be announced on 25 January 2015 in Canberra.
National Australia Day Council CEO, Jeremy Lasek, said the Victorian Award recipients are four remarkable Australians.
“The Victorian Award recipients are selfless Australians using their own challenges, talents and passions to make Australia a better place for everyone,” said Mr Lasek.
The Commonwealth Bank is a major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards.
“For more than 35 years, we have been pleased to support the Australian of the Year Awards - a national program that recognises outstanding individuals. Each year we are inspired by the calibre of recipients from each State and Territory. We congratulate this year’s recipients from Victoria and wish them all the best for the national awards,” said Commonwealth Bank CEO, Ian Narev.