Inspiring Australians’ Network
Engaging and Inspiring leadership in citizenship.
The Inspiring Australians’ Network consists of a group of outstanding Australians and include finalists and recipients of the Australian of the Year Awards and our wonderful Auspire Ambassadors. These are sportspeople, scientists, business people, actors, social activists, multicultural leaders and community champions who provide inspiration by sharing their stories of resilience, effort, passion, triumph over adversity, and commitment to their cause.
During the year our Alumni and Ambassadors volunteer their time and energy to participate in our initiatives designed to focus on the concepts of community leadership, social inclusion, reconciliation, diversity, civics and citizenship; all important community-strengthening themes.
Activities may include:
- Visits to schools to support our Aussie of the Month Education Programs
- Forums during Harmony Week with local communities to promote equality, diversity and strength in our multicultural Australia
- At various NAIDOC Week events to encourage and inspire truth of our history in story-telling, celebration of culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- At our Reconciliation Week activities
- During Volunteering Week to promote and encourage connectedness and community engagement
- Speaking at Auspire forums, workshops and masterclasses delivered for culturally and linguistically diverse communities
- Attending Local Government and community celebrations on Australia Day
- At our youth leadership forums to promote and encourage leadership.
Our Inspiring Australian’s Network gathers several times a year to connect, share stories and find opportunities to collaborate on projects as well as to hear from other thought provoking leaders.
Paralympian – Basketball.
From a young age Adam was an avid sportsman but when he lost his leg due to an osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in his left thigh at the age of 17 his dream of becoming a professional sportsman looked as though it would never eventuate.
Adam plays in the Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team and represented Australia at the 2014 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in July where the Australian team was victorious in the gold medal match.
Adam became an Australia Day Ambassador in 2017 and loved the experience and is keen to visit more local celebrations in the future.
Finalist, WA Australian of the Year 2019
As an ophthalmologist, Director of Lions Outback Vision and Associate Professor at The University of Western Australia, Dr Angus Turner strives to end blindness and vision loss across rural and remote Australia.
With blindness rates three times higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous Australians, Angus delivers specialist outreach services to communities across the state. A passionate advocate for closing the gap for Aboriginal patients and a mentor for young ophthalmology students, he sees medicine as a vocation.
Under Angus’ leadership, in 2017 Lions Outback Vision conducted over 7,000 eye consultations across 20 communities, using innovative models of service delivery, including telehealth and a ‘Vision Van’ to transport the necessary equipment to each community.
In addition to his work at home, Angus regularly has volunteered his expertise to communities in South Africa, holding fundraising events to pay for the equipment and medicine he takes with him.
Finalist, WA Australian of the Year 2011.
Director of Angelhands.
Dr Ann O’Neill is an inspiration. Her story of triumph over severe hardship and her commitment to improving the lives of others is one that should be shared. She is able to deliver funny, engaging and well-structured presentations that will not only inspire your audience but equip them with tools to overcome and thrive personally and professionally.
Ann fills a variety of roles across the community and therefore she has an innate ability to engage with any audience in any format.
Ann is very proud to have been an Australia Day Ambassador for seven years.
A nurse, midwife and medical warrior, Anne Carey has spent her life helping others – even when it has been at great personal risk. Volunteering in some of the world’s hotspots, including Darfur, Papua New Guinea and most recently Sierra Leone, Anne leaves an impact on everyone she meets.
Every day, Anne was taped into a personal protection suit, and while she may have looked inhuman in her all-white sterilised suit, thick rubber gloves and perspex goggles, Anne extended humanity with a simple touch that helped people understand they were not alone.
Despite the death, fear and despair felt during the Ebola outbreak, Anne was a beacon of hope and continues the desperate fight to save the lives of people most in need.
Young Australian of the Year (WA) Finalist.
Suicide Prevention Advocate.
Ashlee Harrison is the CEO & Founder of mental health charity; zero2hero Inc. and the director of social media company; Social Say. Ashlee setup the charity at the age of 21 before commencing her commerce degree at Curtin, and during her 6 years working in mental health has partnered organisations such as Lifeline, Suicide Prevention Australia and Foundation for Young Australians.
Recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s 100 Woman of Influence.
Ashlee has also been awarded a Pride of Australia Medal in 2015, won the WA Youth Award for Education in 2013 and in the same year was also a Young Australian of the year finalist.
Ashlee was also awarded the Young West Australian of the Year Award.
Paralympian – Athletics.
Brad Scott is a two time paralympian and triple Paralympic Games medalist. He is a middle distance runner with a mild form of cerebral palsy.
In September 2008 his dream became a reality; He was given the honour of representing Australia at the Beijing Paralympic Games. With a crowd of 90,000+ in the stand, he was proud to be on the start line in the T37 800m.
At the 2012 London Paralympic Games, Brad cemented his position as one of the World’s top paralympic athletes by winning another two medals, silver in the 1500m and a bronze in the 800m.
Continuing from the success on the track, Brad medalled once again at his next international competition, the 2013 IPC World Championships in Lyon, France, where he secured yet another silver medal in the 800m.
Brad’s commitments and interests not only lie on the oval track. Using his knowledge and experience as an elite athlete, Brad coaches, mentors and encourages, people of all ages.
Brian Greedy is an award winning professional speaker who makes a difference with inspiring and motivational messages for all Australians. He draws from over 20 years highly successful business background, including early experience in accounting, marketing and corporate management with Australia’s market leader in electrical appliance manufacturing and distribution.
Brian has been a business development consultant since 1988 and now works with many of Australia’s top 100 companies and leading franchise groups.
He has been an Australia Day Ambassador for several years and delivers practical and motivational ideas to educate, entertain and energise Australians to build a better future and value the country we all enjoy.
Community Citizen of the Year 2018 (City of Perth)
Manager, Audience Development Cultural Precinct, UWA
Caine develops the role arts can play in fostering empathetic, inclusive and future-focused societies. At UWA’s Cultural Precinct, he is Audience Engagement Manager, and facilitates inclusive programs at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery breaking down barriers for visitors with disabilities to participate in arts and cultural life.
He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research inclusion programs and structures at galleries, museums and performing art centres across North America, the UK and Asia. Caine is also an accredited work-place mediator and conflict-resolution coach.
After organising the 2017 inaugural Inclusive Arts Week at UWA, he launched the Arts and Cultural Access Consortium, a network of individuals and organisations assisting arts organisations to become more accessible.
Caine received the Community Citizen of the Year Award for the City of Perth on Australia Day 2018 in recognition of his outstanding work in developing accessible art installations and cultural opportunities for Alzheimer sufferers and the disabled.
WA Young Australian of the Year 2016.
After her youngest child Riley died from whooping cough, Catherine Hughes became an ardent campaigner for vaccination. Rather than allow her grief to overwhelm her, Catherine has channeled her energy into immunisation awareness.
As a direct result of Riley’s death, every State and Territory in Australia has implemented free booster shots for pregnant women to provide the best defence against whooping cough in newborn babies.
With no thought of reward, Catherine has met with politicians, attended parenting expos, raised over $75,000 for whooping cough research, instigated a viral campaign for the donation of over 100,000 vaccines and shared her story to ensure no other family has to live without their child due to a preventable disease.
Australian of the Year (WA) Finalist 2016.
The daughter of Western Australia’s first Aboriginal teacher and school principal, Colleen Hayward has devoted her life to education.
As the head of Edith Cowan University’s Kurongkurl Katitjin Centre for Indigenous Education and Research, Colleen has been an inspiration not just to her own people, but to all Australians. She has made an enduring academic contribution through her work across a range of fields including education, human rights and children’s health and volunteers on boards focused on health, leadership, social justice and Indigenous affairs. After commencing her career as a classroom teacher, Colleen’s journey took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that left her unable to teach or have children of her own. Overcoming her illness, Colleen was determined to become a role model for Aboriginal students.
With inspiring exuberance and an enthusiasm for lifelong learning, Colleen reminds us that the values of integrity and hard work can achieve greatness.
Non-profit organization leader and workforce diversity specialist.
Conrad Liveris is a workforce diversity specialist, advising leading organisations and business people on how to realise inclusion. His approach to management and diversity considers economic, political and risk issues.
His current research crosses the following areas: labour market participation, flexible working practice and effects, board/management composition and remuneration, intergenerational finances and gender pay gaps.
Conrad has extensive media experience as an expert and writer, his work has appeared in The Australian, ABC, Financial Review, Sky News, Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The West Australian, Buzzfeed and WAtoday in Australia. Internationally, he is found in Singapore’s Straits Times, Xinhua and the South China Morning Post in China/Hong Kong; The Advocate and The Hill in the US.
His efforts professionally and in the community have been acknowledged by the Prime Minister of Australia and in 2015 he was appointed an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society (London).
Founder – Regions of Africa
Cynthia is a Social Entrepreneur, a Social Care Corporate Manager, and founder of the social enterprise Regions of Africa (RoA) and its partner organisation CaLD Impact. Cynthia is currently a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a publisher of various articles on Resilience, Migration, International Education, and Aged Care.
Cynthia is passionate about creating a positive impact in the world by creating leaders. Her success in her Career and Business comes down to her ability to build and maintain partnerships and collaborations; Cynthia’s success in business and in life is attributed by the connections she creates with others and the extent to which she can give and receive. She has created success in her roles as Clinical Consultant in Corporate Australia, with eleven years’ experience in the Aged care industry and five years in Business Management. Outside her Social care passion and channelling in her creative space, Cynthia has also created success roles as Chief Operating Officer of the skilled Migrant Professional Magazine with over 13K subscribers, editor-in-chief of Australia’s very first African fashion magazine “Face of Africa Australia Magazine”; creative director in collaboration with numerous well-known Australian fashion photographers, models, and modelling agencies; and in community engagement welfare programs such as “Education in the Shoes of a Humanitarian Student”. She is the 2016 -2017 Chairperson for the Organisation of Zambians Living in Western Australia (OZALIWA) with 4500 Zambians in WA.
Cynthia is described by her peers as driven, dynamic, and professional. Her strong leadership is strengthened by collaborating with other passionate and focused individuals. Her leadership is strengthened by her communication and negotiation skills as well as her ability to remain calm under pressure. She manages multiple teams and leads with a focus to motivate and empower by creating more leaders, change makers, listening, and discussing new ideas.
Founder of Dreamfit Foundation and GreenBatch.
CEO of Bloom.
WA Young Australian of the Year 2007.
Darren Lomman is passionate about improving quality of life for people with disabilities and enabling them to participate in life to the maximum. He was the CEO of the Dreamfit Foundation which he founded as a teenager in 2003 whilst completing his mechanical engineering at The University of Western Australia. Darren designed hundreds of new inventions and pieces of equipment enabling thousands of people with disabilities to participate in all sorts of activities. He is currently the CEO of Bloom, an organisation supporting and encouraging young people in developing their entrepreneurial skills to benefit the wider community.
His latest passion project is Greenbatch, a plastic recycling start-up.
Global Diversity and Inclusion strategist.
Social Justice Advocate.
A dynamic and engaging international speaker and a skilled facilitator in the areas of Unconscious Bias, Cultural Competency and Racial Socialisation and Identity, her work primarily focuses on addressing systemic and institutionalised barriers held towards historically marginalised groups.
Over the course of her career she has been the recipient of various awards and accolades including being awarded the 2016 International Racial Equity Leadership Award in USA and being named a 2016 finalist for the Australian Human Rights – ‘Racism it Stops With Me’ Award. Fadzi was also appointed a People of Australia Ambassador and was awarded the National Community Ambassador Award.
Fadzi is the Manager of Inclusion and Diversity at UWA and currently serves as the National Human Rights Program Manager for the United Nations Association of Australia.
Fadzi is a fellow of the HIVE Global Leadership Program and Leadership WA Signature Program.
Professor Fiona Wood’s journey of over 3 decades treating people with burn injuries is a story about her passion, dedication and belief in striving for excellence to improve the outcomes of patients by bringing science to the bedside.
Fiona is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon specialising in the field of burn care, trauma and scar reconstruction.
As Director of the WA Burns Service of Western Australia she is consultant at Perth Children’s and Fiona Stanley Hospitals.
As director of burns research she leads an interdisciplinary team with broad collaboration focused on translation to improve clinical outcomes.
She has been the recipient of the 2003 Australian Medical Association ‘Contribution to Medicine’ Award and an Order of Australia Medal for work with Bali bombing victims. As a National Living Treasure and Australian Citizen of the Year in 2004. she received the honour of being named Australian of the Year in 2005.
Fiona and Marie Stoner, co-founders of Clinical Cell Culture, now Avitamedical, won the 2005 Clunies Ross Award for their contributions to Medical Science in Australia.
WA Senior Australian of the Year 2016.
While serving in Vietnam in 1970, Graham Edwards was hit by an exploding mine. Both his legs had to be amputated, but he never let his disability get the better of him. Returning to civilian life, he battled the aftershocks of war and fought discrimination before moving into public affairs and politics.
Spending 14 years of service in the WA Legislative Council, including as a senior minister and nine years in the federal parliament, Graham actively contributed to defence, disability services and veterans’ policy.
More recently, as State President of the Returned & Services League of Australia, Graham oversaw a membership base of 10,000 people, sat by bedsides, lobbied government for funding and organised large events to commemorate the sacrifice made by many, particularly for the 2015 Centenary of Gallipoli.
A board member of the Australian War Memorial, Graham is ensuring that the nation’s war heroes gain the recognition they deserve.
WA Young Australian of the Year Finalist 2018.
Social Entrepreneur and Humanitarian.
Founder of DrawHistory.
Born in Jakarta, Jeffrey Effendi was just seven when his family, who are Chinese-Indonesian, fled the country’s mass race riots.
Today, this social entrepreneur is using the power of human-centered stories to deepen empathy, create dialogue on contemporary issues and spark positive change.
As the founder of DrawHistory, a social impact brand agency, Jeffrey has helped over 100 not-for-profit initiatives tell their stories by designing social brands and campaigns that rally people and funding to important causes. In fostering further open conversations, Jeffrey also leads the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community in Perth and advises The Humanitarian Group to bring light to challenges such as the gender gap and global refugee crisis.
Jeffrey is a former UNICEF youth ambassador and is tackling society’s most important issues, from health and sustainability to education and inclusion. Jeffrey is delighted and extremely proud to be an Australia Day Ambassador.
WA Young Australian of the Year 2014.
While working as a doctor in the remote Pilbara region, Dr John van Bockxmeer had an epiphany.
He started recycling sports equipment in the city, packing a boot full of gear and driving the 3,500 kilometres from Albany to Kununurra to deliver it.
Despite a series of successes, John realised that communities needed more than just sports equipment to stay healthy, and so he founded Fair Game, a charity that assists thousands of people in Indigenous and migrant communities with recycled equipment, sport, fitness and wellness programs and capacity-building through health education.
In June 2014 John was awarded as Junior Doctor of the Year by the Australian Medical Association (WA). He received the Dr Camille Michener Legacy Award which recognises the significant and outstanding contribution of junior doctors to the medical profession and the community.
In 2015 John was named as one of the top 10 inspirational young people in the world and he conquered a personal challenge, completing the New York Marathon with 11 other Fair Gamers.
Judith Fordham commenced her career in science, studied law, then founded and ran her own law firm for far too long. She then practiced as a barrister, and is also an Associate Professor at the Centre for Forensic Science, University of Western Australia, teaching scientists about the legal system and lawyers and police the basics of forensic science.
She is a past President of the Australian & New Zealand Association for Psychiatry, Psychology & Law (WA), past President of the Criminal Lawyers Association of WA, past President of the Australian & New Zealand Forensic Science Society (WA).
Judith is now in a multidisciplinary partnership with Steve Roast, a former Detective Superintendent and head of Commercial Crime Squad.
Judith has been honoured to serve as an Australia Day Ambassador each year from 2012, has been awarded an honorary life membership of Angelhands (a support group for secondary victims of homicide), and her law practice Fordham & Roast won the WA 2015 Telstra Micro-Business Award.
WA Senior Australian of the Year 2018
Women’s Health Champion
Facing a radical gynaecological cancer diagnosis at the age of 39, Kathleen Mazzella was convinced she was alone. In her search to find someone else facing the same experience, Kath placed an ad in Woman’s Day, receiving responses from women all over Australia who felt the same sense of isolation and embarrassment.
Determined to connect and empower other women, and to reduce the stigma and squeamishness around women’s health, Kath established the Perth-based Gynaecological Awareness Information Network.
Since then, Kath has become a voice for the millions of Australian women managing polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, fibroids, menopause, sexually transmitted diseases, hysterectomies and more. At the core of her work is a straight-talking message: embarrassment around gynaecological issues risks lives. Kath breaks down the social stigma by sharing her journey and challenges, and promoting a positive preventative message.
Twenty-three years after her initial diagnosis, Kath has not only survived, but thrived and dedicated her life to ensuring no other woman suffers in silence.
Relationships and Inclusion Consultant
A country girl and Anthropologist, Katie is passionate about community, technology and human connection. She is an engaging facilitator and human centred designer who strongly believes in putting people at the centre of any intervention intended to impact their lives. Her work focusses on crafting contexts for people to come together to create localised solutions to complex social problems.
Katie graduated from Manjimup Senior High School in 2003, before moving to Perth to attend university. She has a Bachelor of Arts (double major in Psychology) and Graduate Diploma in Arts (Anthropology & Sociology) with Honours and is a PhD Candidate at UWA, where she is researching the lived experiences of care workers engaged through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Katie is also involved with the Ageing and New Media Collaborative Research Project, which is exploring how support networks for older people can be meaningfully enhanced through the use of digital technologies.
Having worked in the community sector since 2010, Katie has rich history of working with diverse population groups experiencing disconnection, isolation and exclusion. She has worked with people experiencing homelessness, people with a disability and people experiencing mental illness, both in grass roots and project roles. She has also had the privilege of working with Traditional Owners living in the Central Desert in Western Australia.
Katie currently works as a Consultant with Befriend Inc., a Perth-Based Social Enterprise that exists to break down the barriers that perpetuate social exclusion and isolation and spark connection for all people, from all walks of life. Katie works with community sector staff and organisations to design and implement grounded, effective and sustainable approaches to enable service users to live good lives as valued citizens. Passionate about her local community, Katie is also an Executive Member of the Northbridge Common Town Team.
Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate.
Finalist – WA Young Australian of the Year 2012 and 2015.
A 27 year old Nyoongar woman, Krista Dunstan is a human rights and reconciliation advocate in her community of Perth. Krista believes in giving back to the community and is passionate about ensuring that all Australians are given a “fair go”.
Krista is a board member of Celebrate WA, and a committee member of the WA Aboriginal Advisory Council, the Law Society of WA’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, the Law Council of Australia’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee and the WA Cricket Association’s Aboriginal Cricket Advisory Committee. In recognition of her hard work and commitment to community issues, Krista was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011, awarded the Human Rights Awards Young People’s Medal in 2012, listed in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence Young Leader category in 2013 and a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in both the Corporate & Private and Young Business Woman categories in 2015 and received lawyer of the year awards in 2017 and 2018.
Lisa Fernandez is a popular Perth media personality, radio broadcaster, TV host, public speaker and a proud born and bred West Aussie.
As a popular female voice on the 92.9 breakfast show, Lisa developed a loyal listenership through her active participation in numerous local charity events around Perth. Lisa is a Fremantle Dockers supporter and a member of the Sirens, Fremantle’s female supporter group. She is also an ambassador for the RSPCA, McHappy Day supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Telethon Adventurers.
Lisa hopes Australia continues to embrace its cultural diversity by welcoming others who have chosen to make a new life here too. Lisa is proud to be Australian and even prouder to be an Australia Day Ambassador.
Lisa has been an Australia Day Ambassador since 2013.
Australian of the Year (WA) 2015.
For Professor Lyn Beazley, 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.
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 both in Australia and internationally.
Professor Beazley was an inaugural inductee of the WA Women’s Hall of Fame and is also a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Giving in recognition of her enthusiastic philanthropy promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the WA community.
Lyn was also honoured to be inducted into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame. Lyn’s goal is for every Australian child to learn and love science.
A super athlete and Fremantle’s most decorated player in its 18-year history, Matthew Pavlich is among the game’s biggest stars. His combination of size, speed and skill meant he was one of the AFL’s best all-round talents.
He fulfilled such promise, starring in a number of on field positions for the Dockers being one of the club’s leading possession getters for the last 16 years. Pavlich was named Captain in 2007, a position he held at the Club for 9 years.
His amazing career saw Pavlich named in the All-Australian team six times in an astonishing five different positions, six Doig Medals and eight club leading goal kicker awards. Retiring as the Dockers’ career leader in games played and goals scored, he led Fremantle to the club’s first Grand Final appearance.
One of the most recognisable people in Western Australia, Pavlich is also known as an excellent media performer, working with the likes of Channel 7 and the West Australian newspaper. His autobiography ‘Purple Heart’ was published by Pan MacMillan in 2015 with the book selling out in stores almost instantly.
Finalist, WA Australian of the Year 2019
Surgeon & Mentor
As a senior surgeon at St John of God Hospital in Perth, Dr Michael Levitt has helped more than 50 overseas doctors’ transition to life and work in Australia, through his mentoring and care.
Michael helps migrant doctors at the hospital with their educational and registration needs – and provides appreciated personal support as they adjust to a new country and culture.
In a profession that’s been in the media spotlight for its harsh treatment of junior doctors, Michael is an advocate for fair treatment, career support and a workplace free from bullying and humiliation. A dedicated mentor, he has guided young medical practitioners with a deep sense of care and commitment.
As a former president of the Carmel School Board, a Modern Orthodox Jewish school in Perth, Michael has performed a pivotal role in the leadership within the Jewish community. With wisdom, compassion and good humour, he successfully led the school through numerous challenges.
Lawyer, Charity Fundraiser.
Patti Chong studied law at the University of Western Australia and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Laws in 1980. Patti was articled to the Director of Legal Aid and was admitted to practice in December 1981.
In November 2004, Patti was appointed the inaugural General Counsel to the Corruption and Crime Commission.She held this appointment until December 2005 when she returned to the Office of DPP.
Patti had been involved extensively in fund raising for the Leukaemia Foundation, sat on a number of Law Society Committees and was, for a number of years, on the Committee of Women Lawyers’ Association.
On behalf of the Women Lawyers’ Association, Patti was instrumental in organising the collection of pre-loved clothes from women lawyers and staff for donation to the Banksia Pre-release Centre to assist women prisoners prepare themselves for job interviews, attendance in Court and release upon prison, by having appropriate clothes for such occasions.
In 2005, Patti was named as one of Lotterywest’s 21 Inspirational West Australians. In 2006, Patti was appointed the Ambassador of the Leukaemia Foundation. Patti was one of Western Australia’s inaugural Australia Day Ambassadors when the program launched in 2008.
Senior Australian of the Year (WA) 2016.
A community enthusiast and social entrepreneur, Peter Kenyon has worked with more than 1,600 communities in Australia and 59 overseas to stimulate economic renewal.
Motivated by the desire to create healthy, inclusive and enterprising local economies, in 1989 Peter started Bank of I.D.E.A.S (Initiatives for the Development of Enterprising Action and Strategies). Since then, he’s helped communities spark their own ideas and invest in themselves to build a sustainable future. He’s worked with communities to build economic strategies in locations as far flung as Kuwait and Kakadu, Somalia and Subiaco.
A keen author, Peter has written 16 books on community and economic development, youth policy and enterprise. A master communicator, he is a sought-after presenter and speaker, and tirelessly supports other international thought leaders in the pursuit of community activation.
Priya Cooper defeated cerebral palsy to become one of Australia’s leading Paralympians. By 1995, at the age of 21, she held the world record for the 50m and 100m freestyle events and in 1996 the world record for the 400m and 800m freestyle and 100m backstroke.
Priya has been given the keys to the City of Sydney, appointed a member of the State Government committee, established to co-ordinate the Western Australian celebrations for the centenary of Federation in 2001, named Australia’s 1995 Paralympian of the Year and inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions in 2006. In 1999, Priya was named The Young Australian of the Year for Sport over Pat Rafter and Ian Thorpe, both finalists for the title.
In October 2015 Priya was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Priya is proud to have been an Australia Day Ambassador since 2009.
WA Australian of the Year 2010.
Professor Ralph Martins AO is well-known and highly respected both nationally and internationally as a prominent researcher in Ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
In recognition of his outstanding research achievements, Professor Martins was awarded a number of very prestigious accolades, including the Melvin Jones Award from Lions Club International Foundation USA in 2010 (which is the highest Award that Lions can bestow recognising outstanding service to the community and being one of only two recipients of this award by the Club in the last 25 years), the WA Australian of the Year in 2010, the Western Australian Citizen of the Year in 2011, the Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club in 2011, Member of the Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem (KSJ) in 2013 and the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the General Division in 2013.
Professor Martins is very proud to have been an Australia Day Ambassador since 2011.
Rick Newnham is the Chief Economist at the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the State’s peak business organisation representing 9,200 business members. As Chief Economist, Rick is responsible for identifying and advocating ways to improve the WA economy to make our state a world leading place in which to live and do business.
Prior to taking up the role of Chief Economist, Rick was a Commercial Negotiator for the world’s largest LNG producer, Royal Dutch Shell.
In 2011 Rick was named as Young Western Australian of the Year for founding the nation’s youth-led and non-partisan think-tank, named “Left Right”.
More recently, he has been recognised internationally by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper. He completed his undergraduate business studies at The University of Western Australia and post-graduate studies at Oxford University where he won the prize for the best thesis.
An Australia Day Ambassador since 2012 with a brief period overseas, Rick was very proud to return to the program in 2017.
West Australian of the Year 2015.
Dr Isaacs is from the Whadjuk, Bibbilmum-Wardandi Noongar language group of the South West region of Western Australia and is Executive Manager of Social Lending Keystart Shared Equity home loan schemes for the Department of Housing.
In recognition of his service to community he has received many honours including the Order of Australia, Centenary Medal of Honour and honorary doctorate for his contribution to Aboriginal Affairs.
Dr Isaacs was the first aboriginal Chairman of any Australia Day Council throughout Australia.
Dr Isaacs has recently been appointed as the Chairman of the Aboriginal Lands Trust.
Dr Isaacs is passionate about building a genuine, respectful and reciprocal relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
On WA Day 2015 Dr Isaacs was awarded as Western Australian of the Year and he received the honour of Freeman of the City of Gosnells.
Marathon Swimmer and Business Speaker.
To most West Australians Shelley Taylor-Smith is known for her amazing athletic achievements.
Regardless of being tagged with ‘no natural ability’, ‘disabled’ and ‘nothing above average’, 7-time World No.1 Women’s Marathon Swimming Champion Shelley Taylor-Smith is the only woman to achieve No.1 world ranking for both men and women in the history of any sport worldwide.
A 2-time West Australian of the Year – Australian of the Year Finalist (1989 & 1991) and nicknamed ‘Dangerous When Wet’ by her competitors (and apt title of her biography); Shelley believes anyone can achieve the impossible with the right combination of Mindset, Motivation & Mental Toughness.
And still the only West Australian swimmer, male or female, to win a gold medal and be crowned World Champion at FINA Swimming Championships
Shelley’s greatest personal achievement is not a title or an award. It is the result of her achieving the No.1 world ranking for both men and women that lead to the governing body creating equal prize money for men and women and separate rankings that is her global legacy for women.
Western Australia’s Local Hero 2015.
Road Safety Campaigner.
In January 2013, Stacy Dunbar’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.
Since being announced as Western Australia’s Local Hero Stacy has visited many schools and community groups around the state to share her story and encourage all to get on board and join the Pledge for Nate.
Steph got her first taste of advocating for her peers in high school, and she hasn’t stopped advocating for young people since.
As a participant in the annual Western Australian YMCA Youth Parliament program, Steph experienced the empowerment and confidence that comes from being able to speak up for what you believe in.
Steph is involved in a number of youth and community initiatives, and particularly likes to use her infectious enthusiasm to bring other young people in on things she’s involved in.
Steph has also been a member of the judging panel for the Australian of the Year Awards.
Steph has been an Australia Day Ambassador for Newman (Shire of East Pilbara) and Wyndham (Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley) and is thrilled to be a little closer to home in 2018.
Cross of Valour recipient.
On 12 October 2002, following a terrorist bombing in Bali, Constable Timothy Britten placed his life in danger by repeatedly entering the burning Sari Club to rescue a seriously injured woman and to search for survivors.
Constable Britten remained at the site helping Indonesian police and security guards, and only when he felt assured that emergency workers had the Sari Club site secured did he return to his hotel. On that night, Constable Britten selflessly placed himself in constant danger, sustaining burns to his arm, deep cuts and abrasions to his feet from explosion debris, potential injury from gas cylinder explosions, and exposure to deadly infection from blood-borne diseases.
By his actions, Constable Britten displayed most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.
Tim Britten has been an Australia Day Ambassador since 2016.
2018 Australian of the Year (WA)
A childhood yearning to be a psychologist was sorely tested when Njamal woman, Dr Tracy Westerman, left her home in the Pilbara to attend university in Perth where she struggled to reconcile mainstream psychology with Aboriginal culture. Tracy’s PhD research resulted in the development of several unique psychological tests to identify Aboriginal people at risk of suicide and mental health issues. In 1998, she founded Indigenous Psychological Services solely to address the high rates of mental illness among Aboriginal people in the absence of government funding.
Now an internationally-recognised leader, Tracy has trained 22,000-plus clinicians in culturally-appropriate psychological approaches and delivered her suicide intervention programs into remote Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. She has been an expert witness at numerous parliamentary inquiries and her Aboriginal suicide prevention strategies have been emulated in Canada.
A trailblazer, Tracy has spent over two decades working to reduce the burden of mental illness in Aboriginal people and ensure minimum standards of cultural competence in her profession.
Tracy has recently launched the Tracy Westerman Scholarship for aboriginal students studying Psychology in conjunction with Curtin University.
WA Australian of the Year 2015 Finalist.
Despite a childhood of extreme hardship, Professor Yogesan Kanagasingam has become a world-renowned scholar, innovator and champion, who is bringing eye care to the doorsteps of under-served populations.
Today, as the Research Director of the Australian e-Health Research Centre at the CSIRO, Yogi is changing the way eye care is delivered around the world.
A ‘serial inventor’, Yogi holds more than 30 patents and is the creator of a number of low-cost diagnostic imaging technologies for early detection of conditions, ranging from those that directly threaten sight, through to stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
His team is the first in the world to research and develop an eye test for Alzheimer’s disease.
Olympian – Water Polo.
With parents who both represented Australia in water polo, Zoe Arancini has always been passionate about the sport and will have the opportunity to showcase her experience and skills when she makes her Olympic debut at Rio.
Zoe won bronze at her FINA international debut at the 2009 World League Super Finals in Russia. The same year she was crowned the Australian Junior Women’s Player of the Year.
Zoe’s career highlights include silver at the 2010 FINA World Cup in New Zealand, bronze at the 2011 FINA World Junior Championships in Italy and silver again at the 2013 World Championships in Spain. In 2015 she was named in the FINA World All Stars team.