2021 Australian of the Year Awards Live from Perth

  • 25 January 2021

Last night, on the eve of Australia Day, Auspire – Australia Day Council WA hosted an exclusive red-carpet event to stream live from Canberra, the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards. More than 200 guests supporting the WA finalists, attended the event at the State Reception Centre, Frasers Kings Park to celebrate and honour the WA finalists, who due to Covid restrictions were unable to travel interstate.“Not being in Canberra with the other finalists this year may very well be considered a silver lining,” said Auspire Chairman Bradley Woods in his Chairman’s address. “By remaining here and streaming into the Canberra Ceremony live, we are able to celebrate and honour our WA recipients surrounded by a much larger group of supporters, family and friends.”

The Awards Ceremony was broadcast live on the ABC and WA was right in amongst it with ABC weekend news presenter Charlotte Hamlyn as Emcee and an ABC camera-crew on the ready to capture the moment the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced each category. Congratulations to all the worthy recipients  who are:

Australian of the Year – Grace  Tame (TAS)

Grace is an outspoken advocate for survivors of sexual assault, particularly those who were abused in institutional settings. From age 15, Grace was groomed and raped by her 58 year old maths teacher, who was found guilty and jailed for his crimes. However, under Tasmania’s sexual assault victim gag laws, Grace couldn’t legally speak out about her experience, despite the perpetrator and media being free to do so.  Grace applied to the Supreme Court for the right to publicly self-identify as a rape survivor and won. Grace has demonstrated extraordinary courage, using her voice to push for legal reform and raise public awareness about the impacts of sexual violence.  She is a regular guest speaker for high-profile events and television programs and uses her media profile to advocate for other vulnerable groups in the community

Senior Australian of the Year – Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM (NT)

Miriam-Rose is an Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu and a renowned artist, activist, writer and public speaker.  In 1975, Miriam-Rose became the Territory’s first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher.  As an art consultant for the Department of Education, she visited schools through the Top End, advocating for the inclusion of visual art as part of every child’s education.  Miriam-Rose became the principal of the Catholic school in her home community before being appointed to the Federal Government’s advisory body, the National Indigenous Council. In 2013, she established the Miriam Rose Foundation to bridge the divide between Aboriginal culture and mainstream society, driving reconciliation at a grassroots level.  Through her professional and creative life, Miriam-Rose has remained dedicated to maintaining the cultural independence of her people and being a spokesperson for the Aboriginal worldview. In recognition of her leadership, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia medal and an Honorary PhD in Education from Charles Darwin University.

Young Australian of the Year – Isobel Marshall (SA)

At just 18 years of age, Isobel co-founded TABOO with school friend Eloise Hall, to help women around the world by breaking down stigma around menstruation and providing greater access to hygiene products.  Isobel and business partner Eloise crowdfunded $56,000 to launch their range of products in August 2019. TABOO sells high quality, ethically sourced, organic cotton pads and tampons to an Australian market, with 100 per cent of net profits ; going to One Girls – a charity providing education programs for girls and women in Sierra Leone and Uganda.  Locally, Isobel and TABOO have partnered with Vinnies Women’s Crisis centre, providing free access to pads and tampons for women who require emergency accommodation in South Australia. Recognising period poverty is not just a big city issue, they also support the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council. Isobel is also a full-time student at the University of Adelaide, where she is studying a Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS) and a Bachelor of Surgery

Local Hero 2021 – Rosemary Kariuki (NSW)

Rosemary is the multicultural community liaison officer for the Parramatta Police.  She specialises in helping migrants who are facing domestic violence, language barriers and financial distress.  Fleeing Kenya alone in 1999 to escape family abuse and tribal clashes, her early years in Australia were terribly lonely.  Her experience helped Rosemary recognise that isolation is a huge issue for many migrant women.  Many aren’t used to going out alone, have no transport and speak little or no English. So Rosemary devised ways to help women leave their house and meet women in similar circumstances. In partnership with the African Women’s Group, she helped start the African Women’s Dinner Dance. Now in its 14th year, more than 400 women attend the annual event.  She also started the African Village Market – a program to help migrants and refugees start their own businesses – which ran for four years. Rosemary’s warmth, courage and kindness inspire all who meet her.  Her work was the subject of the documentary ‘Rosemary’s Way’.

The Australian’s of the year is now in its 61st year and we look forward to sharing the WA Finalists’ and National Recipients’ stories during 2021 through our Leadership Events and forums.

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