Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Margaret Steadman.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Margaret Steadman. National Australia Day Council

AUST DAY AWARDS: Which senior gets your vote?

VOTE for your choice of 2017 Senior Australian of the Year Award from an impressive list of nominees for all states and territories.

While the final decision on the winner in the four categories that make up the Australia Day Awards is made by the National Australia Day Council Board, we are giving you the opportunity to participate in the Seniors News public vote to determine who you think the winner should be.

The eight national finalists represent a broad spectrum of the Australian community and include a doctor, scientist, activist, social entrepreneur, educator, conservationist, sports scientist and historian.

The nomination details are listed below.

The winners of all four Australian of the Year Awards categories will be announced in Canberra on the eve of Australia Day.

Have your vote below.

Who should receive the 2017 Senior Australian of the Year Award?

This poll ended on 26 January 2017.

Current Results

Margaret Steadman

0%

Dr John Knight AM

70%

Lois Peeler Am

5%

Professor Perry F Bartlett FAA

20%

Peter Kenyon

0%

Patricia Buckskin PSM

5%

Dick Telford

0%

Sister Anne Gardiner AM

0%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

MARGARET STEADMAN (pictured above)

TAS - Sustainable living and conservation champion

A climate and sustainable living advocate, Margaret Steadman finds practical solutions to many of our challenging conundrums.

As executive officer of Sustainable Living Tasmania and since her retirement, Margaret helps people understand the small steps that can make a big difference to the environment - from energy efficiency to low-carbon footprint end of life options.

A founding member of Climate Action Hobart and the West Hobart Environment Network and a Council member of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Margaret has worked to influence the climate policy of the Tasmanian Government.

She was the Hobart coordinator for the global People's Climate March before the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, and has organised local lobbying of banks to divest of climate-damaging investments.

Margaret has led community initiatives from bushfire-ready forums to a local suburban walking map.

She also volunteers in the Migrant Resource Centre's refugee program and the Source Community Wholefoods Co-op and is a keen food gardener and electric bike rider.

Quietly determined but never confrontational, Margaret works hard for people and planet.

 

Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Dr John Knight AM.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Dr John Knight AM. National Australia Day Council

DR JOHN KNIGHT AM

NSW - Doctor and altruist supporting elderly Australians in need

Australia's first celebrity doctor, Dr John Knight AM has spent decades amassing a residential property portfolio.

John, also known as Dr James Wright, answered the nation's medical queries in print, radio and as a regular guest on Midday with Ray Martin for 30 years.

In 1973, John and his late wife Noreen established Medi-Aid Centre Foundation, a charity that provides accommodation for the elderly, particularly those who are frail, have no family support and no home.

Now at 89, John has battled through heartbreak, personal and financial loss and cancer, but he's kept buying property for Medi-Aid and now has almost 1,000 investments - including hundreds of Surfers Paradise waterfront apartments - that are rented out for a meagre sum.

While John could afford to live in luxury, he chooses to live in the same un-renovated home where he raised his four children and has lived for the past 60 years.

 

Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Lois Peeler OAM.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Lois Peeler OAM. National Australia Day Council

LOIS PEELER AM

VIC - Former Sapphires singer turned educator, uniting Indigenous values with Western academia

A member of the Sapphires, Lois Peeler is also a political activist, passionate educator and principal at Australia's only Aboriginal girls' boarding school.

Lois has worked in a range of roles in Indigenous affairs and currently chairs the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.

At Worawa Aboriginal College in Victoria's Healesville, Lois welcomes students from some of Australia's most remote regions, many of whom have been exposed to trauma and dysfunction in their young lives.

Lois oversees a holistic approach to education that brings together Aboriginal knowledge, values and pedagogy and Western academic leadership.

A powerful role model for her students, staff and community, Lois instils pride and confidence in her students, and helps them gain a deep appreciation of their culture, encouraging the celebration of Aboriginal ways of knowing, doing and being.

More than a principal, Lois is also an Elder of the Yorta Yorta people, with the abiding responsibility of nurturing Aboriginal culture, history and identity in an education framework.

 

Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Professor Perry Bartlett FAA.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Professor Perry Bartlett FAA. National Australia Day Council

PROFESSOR PERRY F BARTLETT FAA

QLD - Neuroscientist and founder of the Queensland Brain Institute

A pioneering neuroscientist, Professor Perry Bartlett has made ground-breaking progress in the discovery of how the human brain can be regenerated through stimulating the production of new nerve cells.

Perry discovered the brain could produce new nerves in 1992, overturning traditional dogma and transforming the way we think of the brain.

Once considered a static organ, the brain is now understood as an ever-evolving body part that can produce new nerve cells capable of altering learning, memory and mood.

In 2003, Perry founded the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland, and through his leadership and vision it has become one of the world's leading neuroscience institutes with over 500 staff.

Perry and his team now have their sights set on a slowing down dementia by activating stem cells to produce new nerves.

With dementia currently affecting one in three adults over the age of 85, Perry's work has the potential to change the lives of many older Australians.

 

Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Peter Kenyon.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Peter Kenyon. National Australia Day Council

PETER KENYON

WA - Social entrepreneur, author and economist

A community enthusiast and social entrepreneur, Peter Kenyon has worked with more than 2000 communities in Australia and in 59 countries seeking to facilitate fresh and creative ways that stimulate community and local economic renewal.

Motivated by the desire to create caring, healthy, inclusive and enterprising communities, Peter, through his organisation, Bank of I.D.E.A.S (Initiatives for the Development of Enterprising Action and Strategies) helps communities spark their own ideas and invest themselves in building sustainable futures.

A significant part of the organisation's income is returned to innovative community initiatives.

In the last year he has worked with 70 communities from Marble Bar to Margaret River, Launceston to Mission Bay, and convened community building conferences in Australia, India and New Zealand.

A keen author, Peter has written 16 books on community and economic development, youth policy and enterprise.

Peter's passion and purpose sees him traverse the globe continuously in his relentless desire to enable communities to discover their strengths and transform themselves.

 

Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Patricia Buckskin.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Patricia Buckskin. National Australia Day Council

PATRICIA BUCKSKIN PSM

SA - Educator and driving force behind the Kaurna Plains Aboriginal School

A proud Narrunga Kaurna woman, Patricia Buckskin grew up in a family of eight children in South Australia's Riverland.

Her lifelong passion for Aboriginal education was sparked in 1972, when she was appointed to Mansfield Park Primary School as its first Aboriginal teacher aide.

In 1987, following the formation of the South Australian Aboriginal Education Unit, Pat was appointed as the first Aboriginal state manager of aboriginal education workers - a position she held until her retirement in 2009.

A strong advocate and sounding board for many, Pat drove the development of the first culturally-based education award in Australia, led committees and was instrumental in setting up the Kaurna Plains Aboriginal School - the first public Aboriginal school established in an urban setting in Australia.

After decades spent encouraging Aboriginal parents to have a voice in their children's schooling, Pat continues to contribute by working tirelessly on committees and councils to ensure all children have access to quality, enriching education.

 

Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Dick Telford.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Dick Telford. National Australia Day Council

DICK TELFORD

ACT - Successful sports coach turned 'physical literacy' pioneer

Undoubtedly Australia's most dedicated marathon running coach, Dick Telford has coached distance runners to eight Commonwealth Games medals, four being gold, as well as coaching Australia's only Olympic marathon medallist, Lisa Ondieki.

While his sustained coaching success has propelled him into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Dick's pioneering research into the 'physical literacy' of Australian children is equally deserving of a gold medal.

As the director of the National Lifestyle of Our Kids Study, Dick's work has shown that quality physical education led not only to better health, but to better NAPLAN results.

He's now working on a plan to implement physical literacy programs into state education systems.

The first sports scientist appointed by the Australian Institute of Sport, Dick is currently a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra's Research Institute for Sport and Exercise and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University, while volunteering endless hours to coach an elite distance running squad and Olympic marathon runners.

 

Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Sister Anne Gardiner AM.
Senior Australian of the Year Award 2017 national finalist, Sister Anne Gardiner AM. National Australia Day Council

SISTER ANNE GARDINER AM

NT - Community champion, connecting cultures and celebrating aboriginal heritage

In 1953, as a 22-year-old member of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Sister Anne Gardiner was asked to move to Bathurst Island to live among the Tiwi people.

Sister Anne has devoted 50 of the 63 years since to enriching community, enhancing opportunity and supporting the Tiwi culture.

An advocate of peace, love, local decision-making Tiwi language and culture, Sister Anne has worked tirelessly to educate generations of children while also establishing community groups from mother's clubs to Little Athletics.

Since her retirement as principal of the local primary school, Sister Anne has run regular prayer meetings, founded an op shop and established a coffee shop to support her much-loved community.

Sister Anne's labour of love is working with community members to establish the Patakajiyali museum where Tiwi history, culture and language can be preserved for future generations.

A key part of the community, Sister Anne is much loved and respected by the Tiwi people and has earned an enduring place in their hearts.


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