[supplied by Reconciliation Australia]
Australian of the Year Awards finalists honoured for reconciliation contribution
Rapper Danzal ‘Baker Boy’ Baker, AFL legend Michael Long and veteran broadcaster Charlie King will be among the Australian of the Year Awards finalists honoured at a special event that celebrates the immense contributions First Australians make to bettering our nation.
Reconciliation Australia will hold its annual Australian of the Year Awards breakfast on Friday morning, in the lead-up to the announcement of the national Australian of the Year Awards winners on Friday night.
This year, six of the 32 state and territory recipients are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. There is at least one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander state-level recipient in each of the four award categories (Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero).
Michael Long with a statue of himself at Essendon’s training facility, the Hangar, in Melbourne.
Crowdfunding campaign to free Indigenous women shocked by WA government response
[Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian]
The organisation behind a funding campaign that has raised almost $300,000 to pay off the unpaid court fines of Aboriginal women in Western Australia has criticised the McGowan government for not working with them to clear the debt.
Why everyone is talking about Warren Mundine all of a sudden
[Jade Macmillan and Jackson Gothe-Snape, ABC]
Prominent Indigenous leader Warren Mundine is the new Liberal Party candidate for the southern New South Wales federal seat of Gilmore.
Central Land Council warns of more emergency feral animal culls
[by Elke Wiesmann]
Horses and other feral animals are dying of thirst and hunger because many reliable water sources, such as Apwerte Uyerreme, have dried up in the current heatwave and areas overpopulated by feral animals suffer erosion and vegetation loss
Among the high-profile finalists who will attend the event is Danzal Baker (NT Young Australian of the Year) – better known as Baker Boy – who achieved mainstream success in the music industry as the first musical artist to rap in the Yolngu Matha language.
AFL icon Michael Long (2019 NT Australian of the Year) will also be recognised at the breakfast for his efforts to fight racism and put Indigenous issues on the national agenda. In 2004, Long famously embarked on The Long Walk from his home in Melbourne to Canberra, and later established the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre.
Veteran sports broadcaster Charlie King (2019 NT Senior Australian of the Year) will be honoured for his work in campaigning for human rights, including initiating a zero tolerance campaign against domestic violence that today has links with more than five sporting codes and nearly a hundred teams.
The breakfast will also recognise non-Indigenous state and territory award recipients who have done important work to support or promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The significant representation of First Nations people has long been a prominent feature of the Australian of the Year Awards program, which is run by the National Australia Day Council.
Since the awards commenced in 1960, there have been eight Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander recipients of the coveted Australian of the Year Award and four Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander recipients of the Young Australian of the Year Award.
Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said the Australian of the Year Awards program brings to light stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success that the broader community doesn’t often get to hear.
“Often the stories that feature in the media are couched in terms of a deficit – but the Australian of the Year Awards highlight the many ways and fields in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are leading positive change,” she said.
“The fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are so highly represented among the state and territory recipients shows that we punch above our weight in terms of the contribution we make to this nation.”
Ms Mundine said that sharing stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success was key to creating a more just and equitable Australia
“Through acts of recognition come pride and respect, and these are the building blocks of reconciliation.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recipients:
Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker (2019 WA Local Hero)
Mr Frank Mallard (2019 WA Senior Australian of the Year)
Mr Reginald Dodd (2019 SA Senior Australian of the Year)
Mr Michael Long (2019 NT Australian of the Year)
Mr Danzal Baker (2019 NT Young Australian of the Year)
Ms Charlie King OAM (2019 NT Senior Australian of the Year)
Non-Indigenous recipients who support or promote Indigenous communities:
Mr Mark Sullivan (2019 VIC Australian of the Year)
Mr Elijah Buol (2019 QLD Local Hero)