Thursday 10 November 2011

Finalists announced for human rights awards

The Australian Human Rights Commission has announced finalists in two categories for the upcoming Human Rights Awards.

Please note these are not listed in any particular order.

Community (Organisation)

Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation
WDNWPT is a small non-government community-controlled health service based in Alice Springs. The organisation aims to improve the lives of people suffering from end stage renal failure and help them to maintain links with family and country. Their influence goes beyond the Western Desert and has forced government to rethink policy and resourcing for services in remote communities.

Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE)

Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) has worked at the intersection of arts, community and technology in Western Sydney for more than 20 years.
Through digital stories, film, urban music and any other medium with a pulse or a pixel, ICE projects tell the stories and provide the platform for diverse and marginalised voices to be heard in Australian cultural life.

ICE also manages Switch, Western Sydney’s state-of-the-art multimedia and digital arts access centre, in partnership with Parramatta Council, and the Switch Academy offers cost-effective digital training to the public.

Swags for Homeless

Swags for Homeless was founded by Tony Clark when he questioned why homeless people sleeping on the street are not given suitable outdoor bedding when turned away from shelters.

Swags for Homeless partners with over 100 charities across Australia to distribute ‘Backpack Beds’ directly to homeless people in need. The backpack bed is designed to help give the homeless dignity, self-esteem, health, sleep, comfort and safety. Three thousand Backpack Beds were distributed in the last 12 months, with distribution numbers limited only by public and corporate funding.

Kids Helpline – BoysTown

Kids Helpline is a free confidential 24 hour counselling service specifically for young Australians up to 25 years of age. For a quarter of a century, Kids Helpline has been lending an ear and offering support to children and young people on anything ranging from discussions about family, friends and school to child abuse, suicide, self-harming, bullying, mental health, and homelessness.

Kids Helpline has incorporated new technologies over time and extended into email and web counselling, with more than 466,000 attempts to contact Kids Helpline last year.

The Community (Organisation) Award is sponsored by David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research.

Literature (non-fiction) finalists

Speech Matters - Getting Free Speech Right by Katharine Gelberargues that freedom of speech is a vital democratic freedom that most Australians take for granted and suggests many of Australia’s laws and policies are actually damaging our democratic ideals. The author considers the rules that regulate our speech and actions alongside the views of every day Australians on these issues.

Half a Citizen - Life on welfare in Australia by John Murphy, Suellen Murray, Jenny Chalmers, Sonia Martin and Greg Martsondraws on in-depth interviews with 150 welfare recipients to reveal people struggling to get by on a low income. By investigating the lives beyond statistics, Half a Citizen explodes powerful myths and assumptions on which welfare policy is based.

A Different Inequality - the politics of debate about remote Aboriginal Australia by Diane Austin-Broos takes a look beyond the dire living conditions, lack of employment opportunities, misspent funds and wrangles over resources, to ask where the obstacles really lie? She concludes the way forward can’t be a trade-off between land rights and employment, but needs to encompass both.

Mabo in the Courts - Islander Tradition to Native Title, A Memoir, by Bryan Keon-Cohen QC is the story of this Australian legal and political landmark in history. Narrated by a lawyer who acted for the plaintiffs, it is a memoir and factual account of dramatic, long-drawn-out, unlikely legal proceedings, and the legacy of the High Court’s decision 20 years on.

The Literature (Non-Fiction) award is sponsored by the Co-op Bookshop

More finalists will be announced in the coming weeks.

For details go to:

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Media contact: Louise McDermott (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597

major sponsors and sponsors of the Human Rights Awards