Award shines spotlight on inspirational eight
Sue Salthouse, ACT, 70
Disability advocate fights inequality
DISABILITIES advocate Sue Salthouse found herself in a wheelchair after a horse-riding accident at age 45. She experienced first-hand the systemic inequality facing people with disabilities.
Sue began advocating for disabled people's rights to accessible housing, economic security and the chance to contribute to society.
She now runs a consultancy company specialising in disability rights advocacy and works in the disability sector.
"As a 70-year-old paraplegic woman, my award highlights a need for awareness about disability and ageing,'' she said. "There are now nearly two million Australians over the age of 65 who have significant disabilities.
"Those of us who have had our disabilities in younger years will be joined by our friends who acquire disabilities as the years pass.
Banduk Marika (AO), NT, 65
Climate issues close to artist's heart
ARTIST, cultural activist and environmental adviser, Marika is known for her exquisite prints of ancestral creation stories on lino, her original medium of choice.
Banduk and her sisters are among the first Yolngu women whose male relatives have encouraged them to paint ancestral creation stories.
Marika is also a cultural activist and environmental adviser and has appeared as a speaker at national and international conferences.
"There are so many issues in communities, including climate change, which is changing the face of the environment. You can see it happening in front of you. I would love to have a round table with people who are caring enough to talk about what possibilities we have and what measures we have that will delay the environmental changes.
"What about having an emu parade around your community, picking up rubbish, cleaning up your creeks and digging up debris - volunteers working together. I am also working on a healing centre here; working on natural healing without going to doctors for hard drugs."
Dr Graeme Stevenson, TAS, 74
Digging in for land-care awareness
A LANDCARE activist and longstanding volunteer for Landcare Tasmania, Graeme has been promoting healthy soils in Tasmania for more than 30 years.
He has initiated and managed projects along the coastline, including willow removal, riverside fencing and managing soil slippage.
Graeme works with farmers as a soil assessor and agronomy consultant and has written a number of books showcasing his expertise.
He also presents his soil knowledge to schoolchildren as an alter ego, known as Dr Spluttergrunt.
"My wish is to promote land care to both regional and urban Australia," Graeme said. "Either join an existing group, form a group of your own or, if you live in a city, adopt a group. I am a Dr Who fan and consider land care is like the Tardis - bigger on the inside!"
Sue Lennox, NSW, 67
Champion of protecting our planet
Sue is an environmental educator and social enterprise founder.
As a teacher, she was concerned about young people's anxiety and despair about the future of the planet.
She co-founded the award-winning social enterprise OzGREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network Australia Inc), which teaches young people how to take positive environmental action through education, participatory leadership and community development.
OzGREEN has developed sustainability programs in 1600 locations across Australia, India, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Pakistan.
"The threat of global sustainability challenges like climate change call on us to redesign our society in a short time. If everyone lived like we do, we would need five planets. At a global scale we are living at 1.7 planets beyond the carrying capacity of our Earth.
"We all have a role in creating a world where we are living in harmony with each other and the Earth. We need to change our way of living, switch to renewables and reduce our carbon footprint.
"We need to be prepared for the increasingly severe impacts of climate change, as witnessed with the massive fires near my home on the NSW north coast.
"We need to equip our youth with skills to innovate new ways of living.''
PETER Dornan (AM), QLD, 76
Tackling men's unhealthy mindset
Following a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, and after experiencing depression, incontinence and other side effects, sports medicine physiotherapist Peter Dornan (AM) put an ad in a newspaper, inviting fellow patients to meet.
Since then, he has supported men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Peter's commitment to helping men share experiences and seek support has helped create a culture change in the treatment management for men with the disease.
Receiving a grant to research incontinence - a common consequence in men after prostate cancer treatment - he designed a successful program to treat the condition and published a book used by Australian prostate cancer support groups.
"My central quest is to change male culture in relation to their health'" he said.
"I want to remove their mantle of machoism. Part of the answer can be found by realising, historically, going back 200,000 years to the hunter-gathers, the first homosapiens, society needs have dictated men fulfil three main roles: the three Ps - that is, provider, protector and procreator.
"We delegated our women to look after our health. So, are men held captive by their manhood, isolated from emotion, vulnerability and their greater humanity?
In reality, these emotions have become unnaturally suppressed. We have to change now - to cut through the nonsense.''
Sylvia McMillan, SA, 90
Sylvia always willing to answer call
Sylvia McMillan has dedicated her life to being of service to her community.
The 90-year-old has been a force of good to everyone around her and shows no signs of stopping.
She is still the chairwoman for her local branch of Legacy, the organisation that provides services to families of deceased defence force members.
In between her volunteer activities, she regularly attends the gym and does water aerobics with a group at the local Parks Community Centre.
"I want people to get involved, to share the enjoyment of doing things for other people, to help other people," Sylvia said.
"I plan to keep doing what I am doing now and keeping happy, going to the gym and keeping involved with my clubs."
Dr Raymond Shuey (APM), vic, 74.
Making inroads in curbing fatalities for drivers
A former police officer and assistant commissioner for traffic and operations, Ray's signature achievement during his career was Project Beacon, which trains police in operational safety when responding to mental health and critical incidents.
With road safety partners, Ray developed initiatives to increase enforcement and education programs, resulting in a massive reduction in the Victorian road toll.
He contributed to WHO good-practice literature and has authored many road safety publications, providing knowledge and inspiration for others.
"The consequences of road trauma on the community, nationally and personally, are horrendous.
"My work, life experience and knowledge identify road trauma as predictable and preventable.
"Since nomination, I have assisted Rotary to develop learner-driver symposia to reduce P-plate trauma and have been co-opted to road safety advisory and editorial boards.
My 2020 award provides an authoritative voice, making a significant difference in saving lives.
"My contributions include keynote presentations, research, peer reviews and donation services motivating others in a paradigm change towards driver attitudes and behaviours, to achieve a 'culture' of safety and respect on our roads."
Professor John Newnham (AM), WA, 67
Obstetrics work a world benchmark
A professor of obstetrics, John has been instrumental in making Western Australia an international hotspot for research and clinical excellence in pregnancy and life before birth.
He founded and led the pioneering Raine Study, the world's first and most enduring pregnancy-focused lifetime cohort project.
John has been described by the world's leading scientific journal as an intellectual leader of modern obstetrics who has changed the practice of medicine and the lives of women and infants.
"I will use (this award) to my very best,'' John said.
"This program requires the education of our ever-changing pregnant population and their families, and our ever-changing workforce.
"We have much work left to do, but this award will be wonderful in helping us to achieve our goal."