Date: 
Tuesday 14 November 2017
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The Australian Human Rights Commission has announced six finalists for the 2017 Human Rights Medal.

Among them is Chrissie Foster and her husband Anthony. Sadly, Anthony passed away earlier this year, aged 64. The couple spent more than twenty years advocating and campaigning for survivors of child sex abuse, after two of their three daughters were abused by a Catholic priest in Melbourne. Their advocacy helped bring about the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Dr John Malouf is an Ear, Nose and Throat, Head and Neck surgeon. For the past seven years, he has provided free surgical outreach programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities in Queensland. His programs aim to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous peoples, particularly in relation to ear and hearing conditions, and preventing subsequent disease or permanent disability.

Walter Mikac is an advocate for strong gun control and the Founding Patron of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. After the loss of his wife and two children in the tragic massacre at Port Arthur in 1996, Walter asked the then Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard, to review the nation’s gun laws. Today, Walter Mikac continues to be committed to the protection and rights of children by providing a voice for victims of serious violence and/or bullying.

Since the murder of her daughter just over ten years ago by a man posing as a teenager online, Sonya Ryan has campaigned for stronger laws to protect young people online. She set up the Carly Ryan Foundation and in June, Federal Parliament passed ‘Carly’s Law’ to help protect children on the internet from online predators.

NRL star Johnathan Thurston was recently named the 2018 Queensland Australian of the Year for his ongoing commitment to improving the life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Jonathan is a role model and mentor and is involved in a multitude of community programs including Cowboy House which provides support and accommodation for Indigenous students from remote Queensland communities.

Ben Quilty is a renowned artist and human rights advocate. He campaigned tirelessly against the death penalty and produced art with Myuran Sukumaran, an Australian who was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Indonesia. Ben’s other works include an installation of hundreds of vests to symbolise the refugee crisis.

The Human Rights Commission President Rosalind Croucher has congratulated the finalists for their outstanding work as fearless advocates protecting and advancing human rights in Australia.

The Awards will be held on Friday, 8 December 2017 at Sydney’s Westin Hotel. Tickets are available here https://hrawards.humanrights.gov.au/tickets

Media contact: Lindy Kerin 0430 366 529
Lindy.Kerin@humanrights.gov.au