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Finalists for Australian of the Year 2021

AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

ACT – BRENDAN MURPHY

The top Health Department bureaucrat, 65, steered the federal government’s response to COVID-19 last year, when Professor Murphy was Australia’s chief medical officer.

NSW – SHANE FITZSIMMONS

The 51-year-old led Australia through the devastating and deadly 2019 summer bushfires as NSW fire commissioner. He joined the NSW Rural Fire Service as a volunteer in 1985, inspired by his father who was later killed in an out-of-control fire in 2000. Mr Fitzsimmons is now the NSW resilience commissioner.

NT – WENDY PAGE

A friend’s 1999 death from strongyloidiasis, a disease caused by roundworm, motivated Dr Page, 65, to lobby for it to be a notifiable disease, ensuring it’s reported to authorities. Indigenous communities are hotspots for the disease.

QLD – DINESH PALIPANA

Nearly 11 years ago Dr Palipana became a quadriplegic after a car smash injured his spine. He went on to study medicine and is also a lawyer. The 36-year-old was the first quadriplegic medical graduate in Queensland. Dr Palipana co-founded Doctors with Disabilities Australia.

SA – TANYA HOSCH

The Indigenous rights advocate was the first Indigenous person appointed to the AFL executive, helping shape the sports’ inclusion of women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and gender-diverse Australians. The 50-year-old says the criminal age of responsibility should be raised from 10-years-old, to help close the gap.

TAS – GRACE TAME

The 26-year-old is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, after becoming the first woman in Tasmania to be granted a legal exemption to speak about her experience as a victim. She wants a greater focus on education and prevention of child abuse.

VIC – DONNA STOLZENBERG

As founder and chief of the National Homeless Collective, the 52-year-old has created six charities to target issues relating to homelessness. She wants Australians to better understand how and why people become homeless, by improving education and removing stigma on the issue.

WA – HELEN MILROY

As Australia’s first Indigenous doctor the 61-year-old has helped support the medical workforce by applying cultural knowledge. She has been on the National Mental Health Commission and was also a commissioner for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

ACT – PATRICIA ANDERSON

The 76-year-old is an advocate for the health of Indigenous Australians, and is also a widely-published author.

NSW – ISABEL REID

The 88-year-old is the oldest living survivor from the Stolen Generation, and has worked to increase awareness on what occurred to ensure it does not happen again.

NT – MIRIAM-ROSE UNGUNMERR BAUMANN

The 73-year-old Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu is an artist, activist, writer and public speaker who has worked to bridge the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous society.

QLD – AUNTY MCROSE ELU

As an advocate for Torres Strait communities and climate change the 75-year-old campaigns for renewable energy and sustainable production.

SA – RICHARD BRUGGEMANN

The 77-year-old from Adelaide is a disability advocate and leader, helping ensure people are supported by community services.

TAS – BRIAN WILLIAMS

Across more than half a century, Mr Williams, 73, has been a mentor to thousands of youth through Scouts.

VIC – BICH CAM NGUYEN

As founder and chief executive of the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, the 80-year-old has helped refugees by providing home care, training and counselling.

WA – RICHARD WALLEY

The 67-year-old helped make Welcome to Country ceremonies commonplace in Australia.

YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

ACT – TARA MCCLELLAND

The 25-year-old is an advocate for young people who work to support the rights and wellbeing of those at risk in the ACT.

NSW – NATHAN PARKER

The 25-year-old pilot was the first upper-limb amputee to graduate from the Australian Defence Force Academy, and later won three gold medals at Sydney’s Invictus Games.

NT – STUART MCGRATH

The passionate 30-year-old health practitioner will become the first Yolgnu registered nurse when he graduates, and he hopes to inspire more Indigenous youth.

QLD – DANIEL (24) AND WILLIAM CLARKE (22)

The conservationist brothers have raised more than $900,000 to help protect endangered orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra.

SA – ISOBEL MARSHALL

The 22-year-old social entrepreneur runs a menstruation product company where all the profits go to a charity, providing education for girls and women in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

TAS – TOBY THORPE

The 19-year-old climate action advocate has twice led Tasmania’s youth delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

VIC – TAYLA HARRIS

The 23-year-old professional AFL player is an advocate for respectful relationships after people sexually harassed her online over a photo of her kicking a goal.

WA – GRACE FORREST

At 27, Ms Forrest is the founder of Walk Free, a human rights organisation working to eradicate modern slavery.

AUSTRALIA’S LOCAL HERO

ACT – TIMOTHY MILLER

The 45-year-old founded Lids4Kids, a plastic lid recycling initiative that turns them into sustainable products for children.

NSW – ROSEMARY KARIUKI

The 60-year-old helps migrants facing domestic violence, language barriers and financial distress as a multicultural community liaison officer for police.

NT – ERICA GIBSON

The 54-year-old police officer is dedicated to making communities safer for women in the NT.

QLD – NATASHA JOHNSTON

The 47-year-old founded Drought Angels, helping struggling families in Queensland and NSW.

SA – RUSSELL EBERT

The 71-year-old former footballer is now an advocate and educator on respectful relationships, in a bid to end domestic violence.

TAS – EDNA PENNICOTT

The 73-year-old founded Kingborough Helping Hands, which delivers food and other items to community members facing hard times.

VIC – KIRBY WHITE

Running out of disposable medical gowns on week three of the COVID-19 outbreak prompted the Bendigo GP to fundraise and start Gowns for Doctors, which has since supplied thousands of reusable gowns.

WA – REBECCA PRINCE-RUIZ

A decade ago the 51-year-old from Fremantle encouraged her family to not use any plastic for the month of July, turning the cogs on what has become a global movement involving 326 million people.

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