Human Rights Medal

Ian Thorpe OAM  His exploits in the pool have made him a household name, but what is less known is that Ian Thorpe has spent more than a decade as a passionate advocate for Indigenous people and young Australians. His Fountain for Youth charity is working with twenty remote communities across the country.

Thorpe has taken a hands-on role in his Fountain for Youth charity, which is working with twenty remote communities across the country to build better literacy for Aboriginal children.  His work has extended beyond the Foundation to becoming an active advocate as the Co-Patron for the Close The Gap campaign.

Young People’s Human Rights Medal (sponsored by Department of Immigration and Citizenship)

Krista McMeeken
21 year old Krista is studying to be admitted as a solicitor and working with the WA Aboriginal Legal Service, mainly on the Stolen wages Case. During her studies, she became a member of the WA Law Society's Aboriginal Lawyers Committee, aiming to help provide greater access to legal opportunities for Indigenous lawyers, and has assisted in legal work on the impact of intellectual property rights in regard to gene patenting on Indigenous peoples. She has won three state and national NAIDOC awards and assisted the Child Rights Taskforce to draft a UN report on Australia’s performance under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Law Award (sponsored by the Law Council of Australia)

Human Rights Law Centre
An independent, non-profit, non-government organisation, the Human Rights Law centre strives to promote and protect human rights, in Australia and in Australian foreign policy, though advocacy, strategic litigation, professional education, strategic legal, human rights and academic partnerships, lobbying and media promotion. Over the last seven years it has succeeded in securing constitutional recognition of the right to vote, improved access to healthcare for prisoners, strengthened legislative protection of human rights, provided human rights training to over 15,000 people and held Australia to account for its human rights obligations on the international stage.

Business Award

Hoyts Cinemas, Village Cinemas, Event/ Greater Union/ Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinemas and Reading Cinemas
In 2010, Australia’s four major cinema chains jointly announced an agreement to roll-out the Cinema Access Implementation Plan, a world first plan in accessible cinemas – cinemas that provide captioned and audio described movie sessions. Now, the roll-out has begun ahead of schedule. Whereas, historically, accessible movie sessions were limited to just a few a week at major city locations, this plan will see more than 132 cinemas and more than 242 screens around the country capable of showing accessible films. At judging time (October 2012), there were 74 cinemas in Australia with a total of 134 screens capable of operating in an accessible manner.

Community Individual Award – Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award (sponsored by iHR Australia)

Pat Anderson
Pat is recognised nationally and internationally for her leadership in promoting and advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In the 1980s and early 90s, Pat worked in Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria advocating for improved education for aboriginal children. Since the mid-90s, she has been a national leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, particularly in relation to the rights and needs of children, the importance of education and the need for genuine reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia. Pat is currently chairperson of the Lowtja Institute.

Community Organisation Award

Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA)
ALSWA provides culturally safe legal representation and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout WA. Its clients represent some of WA’s most disadvantaged people, many suffering from mental illness, homelessness, or carrying the legacy of our stolen generations including institutionalism, dispossession and marginalisation. ALSWA’s approach is a holistic, human rights based one that goes beyond straight civil, criminal and family legal representation, advice and support services to advocacy, community and school education, lobbying and working cooperatively with other organisations devoted to Aboriginal people.

Literature (non-fiction) Award (sponsored by the Co-op Bookshop)

The People Smuggler by Robin de Crespigny – Penguin Australia, May 2012
Drawn from three years of interviews, The People Smuggler recounts the life of Ali Al Jenabi, one of the first men to be tried in Australia for people smuggling offences. The book puts a human face on those involved in the boat voyages, revealing a harrowing picture of a man who, by turning to people smugglers, sought to escape severe repression in Iraq and seek safety for his mother and six younger brothers and sisters, only to become a ‘people smuggler’ himself. The book exposes many anti-refugee myths common in Australia and points to the actions of governments, police and intelligence agencies in encouraging anti-refugee sentiment.

Print and Online Media Award (sponsored by Vibe Australia)

Professor Sharon Pickering and The Conversation Academic Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers series – Series of 14 articles published in The Conversation between June and August 2012
Professor Pickering is one of Australia's leading criminologists working in the field of migration and border crossings. Following two boat tragedies off Christmas Island in June 2012, she wrote an article entitled, ‘Six issues missing from the Asylum seeker debate,’ for online publication, The Conversation. The Conversation then asked her to lead an expert panel of academics who, using evidence-based research, wrote 14 articles that exposed the realities of asylum seeker issues and advocated for a human rights based response – two of which highlighted failure of the Government's Houston Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers to consider humanitarian responses.

Radio Award

Intellectually Disabled People Fight for Access to Justice – PM –ABC Radio National - Produced by Nance Haxton – Aired in January 2012
This program exposed a legal loophole preventing South Australians with disabilities from giving evidence in court, leaving several cases of sexual abuse against people with intellectual disabilities untested in the State. Earning the trust of the families of alleged victims, Nance Haxton encouraged them to tell a story that not only exposed a major human rights dilemma, but reached Parliament House. An inquiry has since been established to investigate how to remedy the situation and avoid people with intellectual disabilities from being the target of predators. Since the story aired, the South Australian government has also pledged to close the loophole.

Television Award

Age of Uncertainty – The Project – Network Ten - Produced by Hamish MacDonald and Sam Clark – Screened over April and May 2012
Over three months, Macdonald and Clark investigated the case of Ali Jasmin, an Indonesian child serving five years in a maximum security adult prison in WA for people smuggling – accepted as an adult on the basis of a wrist X-ray. In a tiny fishing village in Indonesia, they found three forms of evidence which the Australian legal system had received and comprehensively failed to recognize - documenting he was, at most, 14 when convicted. Additional investigation uncovered the scale of Australian miscarriages of justice about Indonesian children convicted as people smugglers, discredited wrist x-rays and ultimately contributed to major policy change.