2015 Western Australia's Australian of the Year Award Recipients Announced
2015 Western Australia’s Australian of the Year - Professor Lyn Beazley AO (Mount Claremont)
2015 Western Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year - Graham Mabury OAM (Riverton) - unable to attend
2015 Western Australia’s Young Australian of the Year - Drisana Levitzke-Gray (Balga)
2015 Western Australia’s Local Hero - Stacy Dunbar - (Merriwa)
The Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency The Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO, has announced the 2015 Western Australia’s Australian of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony at the Government House Ballroom in Perth this afternoon.
Her Excellency said she was inspired by the stories of courage, advocacy and leadership from all of the finalists and was very proud that the four recipients would represent Western Australia as National finalists in January.
Professor Lyn Beazley AO has been named 2015 Western Australia’s Australian of the Year for her work as a scientist.
For Lyn, science has been a lifelong passion. After graduating from Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, Lyn has dedicated more than 30 years to the field of neuroscience, researching recovery from brain damage and changing clinical practice in the treatment of infants at risk from pre-term delivery.
As Chief Scientist of Western Australia from 2006 to 2013, Lyn advised the state government on science, innovation and technology as well as fulfilling the role of science ambassador in Australia and internationally. Lyn has been determined to demonstrate that science is not just a theoretical exercise, but a practical one too. She helped set up a nationwide ‘hotline’ for laboratory technicians in schools, worked for healthier waterways across the state by establishing Dolphin Watch and was involved in the negotiations for the Square Kilometre Array, the radio telescope project that is arguably the world’s largest science endeavour. Lyn’s goal is for every Australian child to learn and love science.
Radio presenter and social justice leader Graham Mabury OAM has been awarded 2015 Western Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year.
For 33 years, Graham was a light in the darkness for hundreds of thousands of radio listeners in Perth. As the host of Radio 6PR’s popular Nightline program, 67 year old Graham was more than a voice across the airwaves, going above and beyond the call of duty to provide companionship and compassion, entertainment and encouragement for people from all walks of life.
In 1986, Graham established Lifeline WA in response to community need for counselling services. From humble beginnings with just a couple of off-air counsellors in the 6PR building, Lifeline has since evolved into a 24-hour counselling and support service which reaches out to thousands of people in need.
A pastor with the Mt Pleasant Baptist Church and patron of many charities, Graham is an advocate for social justice, helping the homeless, mentally ill and the lonely. Graham has worked with homeless young people, designed and implemented youth rehabilitation programs, directed major musical productions and charity fundraisers and has received many awards for his outstanding public service.
The 2015 Western Australia’s Young Australian of the Year is 21 year old Drisana Levitzke-Gray.
The fifth generation in her family to be born deaf, Drisana, is dedicated to helping other deaf people and advocating their human rights. Born with moderate hearing loss into a family with deaf parents, a deaf brother and a deaf extended family, Drisana cherishes her first language, Auslan. She promotes the deaf community as one without borders and one of rich language, culture, history and traditions.
As the only Australian selected to attend the Frontrunners international deaf leadership course in 2012 and 2013, Drisana worked with communities in Europe and Samoa to expand leadership capacity and human rights understanding of deaf youth. In 2014, Drisana became the first deaf Auslan user to fulfil her civic duty as a juror. Drisana is the embodiment of the concept of ‘deaf gain’, not ‘hearing loss’, inspiring the deaf community, encouraging others to accept diversity and promoting a positive image of deafness which says loudly and proudly: “it is OK to be deaf”.
Stacy Dunbar has been awarded 2015 Western Australia’s Local Hero for her work as a road safety campaigner.
In January 2013, Stacy’s precious eight-month-old son, Nate, was killed after a drunk driver crashed through his bedroom while he was asleep in his cot. In the awful aftermath of the accident, Stacy launched a major campaign in conjunction with The West Australian and Channel 7 to stop people from getting behind the wheel when they’ve had too much to drink. The Pledge for Nate campaign attracted the support of sportspeople and celebrities and more than 8,000 people promised not to drink and drive over the 2013 Christmas period, contributing to the state recording its lowest rate of drink driving offences in more than 60 years.
Stacy has become a strong advocate for improving road safety and is working with politicians and local councils to erect crash barriers at dangerous intersections. In the face of great loss, Stacy showed tremendous courage and dignity and responded to a terrible tragedy with an unswerving commitment to make her community a safer place to live.
The Western Australia 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 Western Australia Award recipients are four amazing Australians who should be thanked for their hard work and commitment.
“The Western Australia Award recipients are inspirational and we are truly proud to recognise them as great Australians making a difference to the society we live in,” 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 Western Australia and wish them all the best for the national Awards,” said Commonwealth Bank CEO, Ian Narev.
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.