THE RYDGES POST
Whoever votes for our Australians of the Year seem to have nailed it for 2014. While they are awards of recognition, these awards also help inspire us ordinary folk and give promise for a more inclusive and caring Australia.
Australia’s Local Hero: Tim Conolan. Tim established an organisation called TLC For Kids back in 1998 with a mission to ensure that every child in very hospital in Australia has the emotional and practical support they need. So far Tim has assisted more than four million sick kids and their families.
Young Australian of the Year: Jacqueline Freney. Jacqueline is a role model and motivational speaker who works in the community helping people with disabilities achieve their potential. She is also an outstanding Paralympian, having won eight gold medals at the 2012 London Games.
Senior Australian of the Year: Fred Chaney. Fred comes with the title ‘reconciliation advocate’… which means he is a caring Australian who continues his ongoing quest to support often marginalised indigenous Australians. He has a long history of selfless public service committed to social justice.
Australian of the Year: Adam Goodes. Adam is an elite AFL athlete who has won two premierships and two Brownlow Medals who has actively used his high sporting profile to work against racism and to develop indigenous sporting and community programs that promote education, employment and healthy lifestyles.
Already government has listened to Fred and Adam's goal of having Aboriginal Australians recognised in our Constitution. Tony Abbot has promised the first draft by September this year.
Congratulations to Adam, Fred, Jacqueline and Tim as well as the other 30 finalists in each category plus the 900 other Australians recognised in the Australia Day Honours List for their service to the community.