The Human Rights Awards is given in recognition of the efforts of an Australian citizen or resident who, through personal endevours, has made a substantial contribution to the promotion and advancement of the rights of all people - regardless of their sex, race, colour, origin, age or disability - to live in a fair and just society in which they may reach their maximum potential.

The 1989 Medal and Awards were presented to the winners on Human Rights Day, 10 December , by Ms Hazel Hawke at the Commission's Sydney Office.

human rights medal

Winner: Reverend Robert Ridley

The Human Rights Medallist 1989 was the Reverend Robert Ridley from Victoria, Director of Orana Family Services and a minister of the Uniting Church. He was considered to have made an outstanding effort in identifying and promoting action to overcome discrimination and the infringement of human rights by a panel of four judges.

film award

Winner: Blowpipes and Bulldozers - Jeni Kendall and Paul Tait, Producers

literature and other writing awards


  • Winner: Wanamurraganya - Sally Morgan
  • Winner: Noonkanbah - Steve Hawke and Michael Gallagher
  • Winner: I came Back to Show You I Could Fly - Robyn Klein
  • Highly Commended: No Man;s Land - Barbara James
  • Highly Commended:The Lost Children - edited by Coral Edwards and Peter Read
  • Highly Commended: Black Words, White Page - Adam Shoemaker
  • Highly Commended: Miracle of the Waters - Zeny Giles

television drama award

Winner: GP - ABC TV / Roadshow, Coote and Carroll

television documentary award

Winner: Nobody's Children - David Goldie - ABC

radio documentary award

Winner: There's No Place Like Baryulgil - Background Briefing - Sharon Davies - ABC

print newspapers award

Winner: Corporate Woman - Sue Neales - Australian Financial Review

print magazines award

Winner: Yarranma - WA Drug and Alcohol Authority and the Nindila Committee

Highly Commended: Denis Barrass for her series of articles in the Maitland Mercury entitled Youth in Crisis.