O P I N I O N P I E C E
NOW IS THE TIME FOR A HERO
“I'll never find another you” sang Judith Durham the same year The Seekers were named Australian of the Year in 1968.
We will never find another Judith Durham, yet each year our nation seeks another you. Another inspirational Australian to name as Australian of the Year.
A new name to add to the list alongside Taryn Brumfitt, Evonne Goolagong, Fred Hollows, Arthur Boyd and Rosie Batty.
There is no formula for what makes an Australian of the Year. None of the finalists sought this award. They have community minded missions driven by the values of kindness and integrity, courage and humility.
Since 1960, the Australian of the Year Awards have raised the profiles of countless extraordinary Australians – from artists and athletes to scientists, philanthropists and volunteers.
The awards have made our country stronger. Giving us role models who embody the hopes of our nation.
They have shown us the future can be brighter than the past, adversity can be turned into triumph, and life-changing breakthroughs are possible.
Our Australians of the Year also inspire. They challenge us to think about how each of us can contribute to a more inclusive, harmonious and resilient Australia, and ignite important conversations on the issues which matter to the future of our nation.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Local Hero Award. An award which celebrates some of the most humble and selfless recipients. Those who, so often, are the last to want to be thanked, despite their life-changing efforts.
This year’s Local Hero, NSW’s Amar Singh, founder of Turbans 4 Australia, leads the list of selfless community members.
Dr Shamaruh Mirza, a scientist from the Australian Capital Territory, created the volunteer-run not-for-profit SiTara’s Story. Organising workshops, seminars and creative competitions to support culturally and linguistically diverse women.
Keith Parker, a volunteer ambulance officer and ammunition technical officer from Tasmania. He has contributed more than 1,500 hours a year as a volunteer ambulance officer, being a first responder at countless medical emergencies across rural Tasmania.
Sacha King, a social worker from the Northern Territory, has set up her own charity Two Two One. Delivering mental health training and community workshops to close gaps in mental health services and education.
These Australians, and all the state and territory recipients across the award categories, are genuine heroes. But it took a nomination to get them recognised.
Nominations are all about recognising people who are changing Australian society for the better. People who are not afraid to take risks, have put in the hard yards and have made a positive impact in their community.
Anyone can nominate an amazing Australian, at any time. It couldn’t be easier to nominate your role model, inspiring colleague, superstar coach, community champion, friend or family member.
Your nomination does not have to be the most eloquent to stand out. It doesn’t need a long list of attachments or referees. Instead, the best nominations capture the story and heart behind an ordinary Australian doing extraordinary things.
To nominate someone you know, go to the Australian of the Year Awards website at australianoftheyear.org.au,
make an account and submit your nomination.
As we reflect today on this greatest of countries, Australia, and what it means to be an Australian, please consider helping grow our nation’s heart by nominating the 2024 Australian of the Year.
Patrick Gorman is the Federal Member for Perth and the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister.