The 1999 Medal and Awards presentation ceremony was held on 10 December 1999 at a luncheon in the James Cook Ballroom, Hotel Inter-Continental in Sydney. Special guest was the Attorney-General the Hon. Daryl Williams AM QC MP and the guest speaker was film maker Paul Cox. Christina Koutsoukos was the MC.

The judges were: Doug Anderson, Michael Antrum, The Hon. Justice Catherine Branson, Linda Burney, Lee Burton, The Rev Tim Costello, Nicholas Cowdery QC, Kate Gilmore, Jacqueline Gillespie, Chris Haywood, Anne Henderson, Tan Le, Sally Loane, Julie McCrossin, Meme McDonald, Alan Matheson, Mick O'Regan, Jan Owen, Brian Pickett, Simon Rice, Adam Spencer, Greg Thompson, James Valentine, Sue Williams, Sir Ronald Wilson and Susan Wyndham.

human rights medal

Winner: Helen Bayes

Helen Bayes is the founder and National Coordinator of Defence for Children International in Australia. Her work focuses on issues including child labour, juvenile justice, sexual exploitation and effective laws to end all forms of violence towards children. Her work recently has concentrated on Indigenous children, particularly the effects of mandatory sentencing laws in Western Australia and in the Northern Territory on those children.

The judges commended Ms Bayes for her capacity and energy in bringing to the notice of Australians the standard by which we can assess our treatment of all our children.

youth medal

Winner: Prashanth Shanmugan

Homebush Boys High School Captain, Prashanth Shanmugan was the recipient of the Youth Medal for his energetic campaign to promote multiculturalism and his initiative in establishing a community awareness program entitled The Australian Vision: 2020 with Strathfield Council. He was commended by the judges for investing the traditional role of school captain with the important message of appreciating diversity in unity.

law award - sponsored by the law council of australia

Winner: Public Interest Advocacy Centre

The judges presented the Award to the Centre for its work in using law to further the rights of disadvantaged groups in the community. This work included the Stolen Generations project, employment rights for women at the Australian Iron and Steel Works, asserting the rights of people with disabilities, securing compensation for borrowers from the HomeFund Loan Scheme, and seeking redress for migrants who have been the victims of dubious practice by migration agents. The Centre has also been engaged in a wide range of other work in public advocacy and the engagement of the media in publicising and promoting human rights in the public interest.

community award

Winner: National Children's and Youth Law Centre

The Centre has been focused over a long period of time on empowering young people through a range of programs and resources which develop young peoples' understanding of their rights, directly benefiting their own sense of integrity.

corporate award

Winner: 100% in Control Croc Eisteddfod, Queensland Health

The Croc Eisteddfod is an innovative and proactive approach to tackling alcohol, tobacco and drug issues, which affect youth in remote communities. The festival involved Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth performances as well as sports and careers clinics, all within a 100% alcohol and drug free environment.

arts award

Winner: Why Weren't We Told? A personal search for the truth about our history, Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynold's account of how he became aware of the history of Indigenous people made a strong impact of the judges, who in addition to praising the book for its literary merit, admired the author's skill in communicating his own uncomfortable feelings as an awareness of past and present injustices emerged.

The judges thought the book was outstanding and commended its honesty and accessibility, especially as so many Australians will relate to those uncomfortable feelings of not knowing enough about the past and Indigenous history. They felt that the book would contribute greatly to the Reconciliation debate by inspiring readers to actively seek out knowledge and understanding about the whole story of their country's history.

television award

Winner: Solutions for a Secret Shame, Sunday, Channel Nine - Helen Dalley (reporter) and Paul Steindl (producer)

This controversial and complex Sunday cover story looked at the abuse of human rights revealing amongst other things that Aboriginal women were 45 times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than non-Indigenous women. The report focused on community initiated responses and highlighted the power of ordinary people in creating positive social change. The program itself was a catalyst for change, prompting several funding and policy initiatives.

radio award

Winner: A Foreign Student's Story: A Cautionary Tale, Background Briefing, ABC Radio - Chris Bullock and Dai Le

This documentary highlighted the problems that fee-paying overseas students face when coming to Australia at the invitation of unscrupulous business operators. Judges found the personal approach to the investigative journey into the world of foreign students a compelling and creative use of the radio medium.

print award

Winner: Terminal Neglect - Julie-Anne Davies and Bill Birbauer, The Age

Terminal Neglect is a series and special report on young people in nursing homes. The series examined the state of nursing homes in Victoria. The judges were impressed with the prominent coverage of the story and the commitment of the journalists to their subject, exploring it from different angles and going beyond "just doing their job".