It’s not long now until the 2021 Australian of the Year is announced, so we wanted to give you a rundown of the women who have been nominated for the national award. From a pool of eight outstanding candidates, five of the finalists are women.
From improving the health outcomes of Australia’s most vulnerable, to advocating for survivors of sexual abuse, and making the sporting world a more inclusive place, the women nominated for Australian of the Year have done some remarkable work in challenging circumstances.
The winner will be announced on January 25th.
Tanya Hosch, South Australia’s Australian of the Year finalist, is the AFL’s executive general manager for inclusion and social policy. She’s the first Indigenous person and second woman to be appointed to the AFL executive, and has used her leadership position to advance the place of women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and gender-diverse people in the sport.
Hosch is also at the forefront of the national conversation when it comes to constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and among many other achievements, helped secure an apology for Adam Goodes from the AFL and delivered an industry framework to prevent racist treatment of players.
In light of her nomination for Australian of the Year, Hosch has called for the date of Australia Day to be changed from January 26, telling the ABC she had debated whether to accept her nomination for the award at all.
“When I got notice that I had been nominated for this award, I really needed to think about whether I would accept this nomination,” she said.
“The reason that I did is I like to be in the room having the conversation and this is going to give me the opportunity — and has given me an opportunity — to do that.”
Dr Wendy Page
Dr Wendy Page, the Northern Territory’s finalist for Australian of the Year, is a global expert in Aboriginal health. Dr Page is the medical director of the Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation in Nhulunbuy. Over her more than 30-year long career, she has worked to highlight and eliminate a parasitic roundworm prevalent in Aboriginal communities across Northern Australia.
Dr Page’s efforts in this space have been instrumental in reducing the prevalence of for strongyloidiasis, a disease caused by the parasite worm, in East Arnhem Land communities from 60 per cent to below 10 percent. She has published many academic papers on the subject, which are world-recognised and used to inform all medical practitioners. She is also a passionate mentor of young doctors.
Professor Helen Milroy
Professor Helen Milroy, Western Australia’s finalist for Australian of the Year, was Australia’s first Indigenous medical doctor, and works as a highly regarded consultant psychiatrist with many years of experience in child and adolescent psychiatry.
For two and half decades, Professor Milroy has pioneered research into Aboriginal and child mental health and recovery from grief and trauma. She’s played key roles in many mental health advisory committees, including the National Mental Health Commission, and has supported the medical workforce in applying Indigenous knowledge and cultural models of care.
Professor Milroy served as commissioner for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013-2017 and was the first Indigenous commissioner to the AFL.
Donna Stolzenberg, Victoria’s finalist for Australian of the Year, is the founder and CEO of the National Homeless Collective, a grassroots organisation helping people affected by homelessness and domestic violence.
The National Homeless collective now has six sub-charities that target different issues facing Australians. There is the Period Project, the School Project, the Plate Up Project, Sleeping Bags for Homelessnesss and Secret Women’s Business. The charity also runs an op shop Kala Space, that employs women affected by homelessness and domestic violence.
Grace Tame, Tasmania’s finalist for Australian of the Year, is one of Australia’s leading advocates for survivors of sexual assault.
As a teenager, Tame was repeatedly sexually abused by her 58-year-old school maths teacher, who was convicted for his crimes against her. But due to Tasmania’s archaic sexual assault victim gag laws, Tame was never able to speak out about her experience in public.
With the support of the #LetHerSpeak campaign, Tame won the right from the Supreme Court to publicly self-identify as a rape survivor. Her courageous advocacy has helped pave the way for legal reform and raised awareness about the impacts of sexual abuse.
The remaining finalists for Australian of the Year include Former Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy, former NSW Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Dr Dinesh Palipana, an advocate for doctors with disabilities.