Australian of the Year

Women Take All at Australian of the Year Awards.

The Australian of the Year awards have been running for 55 years and in that entire time, the major awards have never all been won by women; until 2015. The awards is a time where we recognise and celebrate outstanding citizens who are role models for creating a better Australia. “The Australian of the Year finalists represent our country at its best,” stated Tony Abbott.

The Australian of the Year award was presented to Rosie Batty, who has spent the year following the murder of her son, Luke, to fight against domestic violence. Batty’s estranged husband murdered their son after a cricket training session at the oval in Tyabb, Victoria on Wednesday February 12th 2014. In the days following the attack Rosie spoke to media, stating, “I want to tell everybody that family violence happens to everybody. No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It can happen to anyone, and everyone.”

The Young Australian of the Year award went to Drisana Levitzke-Gray. Drisana has travelled the world in order to promote and advocate for deaf rights. She has also been a pusher in trying to achieve universal access of AUSLAN to deaf children. “It’s a human right for deaf children to be able to access their language,” the 21 year old said. In 2014, she became the first deaf person to be accepted onto jury duty. Her ballot was not called, but she has now paved the way for other deaf people to do the same. Levitzke-Gray is a fifth generation deaf person in her family.

Author Jackie French was the recipient of the Senior Australian of the Year award. The 2014-2015 Australian Children’s Laureate has written over 140 books for kids in 25 years.  Overcoming dyslexia herself, French believes in how essential storytelling is to a child’s learning process, thus earning her this high honour.

The award of Local Hero was given to Juliette Wright. In 2009, Wright set up GIVIT, a website that creates a safe place for people to donate goods to those most in need. The initiative played an enormous role in helping Queensland flood victims get back on their feet. Juliette Wright has recently launched GIVIT Kids, which is designed for children to be able to donate pre-loved toys.

All four women have embarked on incredible and noble causes and deserve to be recognised for their achievements and citizenship. The fact that all four women won in the same year refreshingly helps us realise they aren’t based upon gender, but dedication and hard work.

That is the best of what Australia has to offer, and it also offers us inspiring role models for young girls in this country.