Date: 
Friday 9 December 2016
Image: 

Pat Anderson AO, a tireless advocate for the rights and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, has won the prestigious 2016 Human Rights Medal. 

As Chair of the Lowitja Institute and co-chair of the Prime Minister's Referendum Council, Pat Anderson has made an exceptional contribution to advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in regards to education, health, early childhood development, and violence against women and children. 

Growing up in Parap camp in Darwin, she was acutely aware from a very young age of the extreme forms of discrimination and racism experienced by Aboriginal people.

“Pat Anderson has a great love for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and is greatly loved and respected by them,” said President of the Human Rights Commission Professor Gillian Triggs.

“Over the years, she has used her skills to drive better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with her sharp strategic mind, a great warmth and sense of humour.

“She is sister, grandmother and aunty to many members of her community. Throughout her career she has been driven by the desire to celebrate success and help nurture the possibility of fulfilment in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

In congratulating Ms Anderson, Professor Triggs commended her work with the Lowitja Institute, an innovative research body facilitating collaborative, evidence-based research into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

“Pat Anderson has played a leading national role in building collaborative relationships between researchers, Aboriginal communities and health service providers.”

Professor Triggs also congratulated the winners of the seven other Human Rights Awards, among them Arash Bordbar, a refugee from Iran who won the Young People’s Human Rights Medal for his work on asylum seeker issues.

“Today we honour individuals, businesses and organisations from across Australia who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to advancing human rights,” Professor Triggs said.

“I would like to acknowledge all those who were nominated for awards and who have taken the time to attend today’s awards.”

The 2016 Human Rights Awards winners are as follows:

  • Human Rights Medal: Pat Anderson AO
    Pat Anderson is an Alyawarre woman and advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in regards to education, health, early childhood development, and violence against women and children.
     
  • Young People’s Human Rights Medal: Arash Bordbar
    Since arriving in Australia as a refugee, Arash Bordbar has volunteered for a number of local and international organisations on asylum seeker issues.
     
  • Media Award: Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Mary Fallon, Elise Worthington (Four Corners)
    ABC’s Four Corners program, ‘Australia’s Shame’, exposed the mistreatment of young people in the Northern Territory detention system.
     
  • Business Award: Joint winners
    Etiko

    Etiko is a small business that has focused on supply chains by developing an accredited and scalable ethical supply chain model.

    Lendlease, Westpac, and the Australian Network on Disability
    Also winning a Business Award was a collaboration that led to the Design for Dignity guidelines which incorporate accessibility and were implemented at Barangaroo Tower Two.
  • Law Award: Anna Cody
    As Director of Kingsford Legal Centre, Anna Cody has provided high quality case work to thousands of disadvantaged people, as well as advocating for law reform to address systemic human rights breaches.
     
  • Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Community Individual Award: Jane Rosengrave
    Jane Rosengrave is a proud Yorta Yorta woman with an intellectual disability and a passionate advocate for people with disability.
     
  • Community Organisation Award: Bus Stop Films
    For approximately 8 years, Bus Stop Films has provided film studies and film-making opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as advocating for inclusion in the film industry.
     
  • Racism. It Stops With Me Award: National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council
    The National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council is the peak organisation of ethnic community broadcasters in Australia.

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