Human Rights Medal Finalists - from left: Dorothy Hoddinott AO, Noel Tovey (Pic credit: Ross Coffey), Michael Traill AM, Dr John Falzon
Human Rights Medal Finalists - from left: Dorothy Hoddinott AO, Noel Tovey, Michael Traill AM, Dr John Falzon

The Human Rights Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights in Australia. The medal has a rich history of prestigious winners.

The finalists for 2014 are:

Dorothy Hoddinott AO

Dorothy Hoddinott AO is the principal of Holroyd High School in Greystanes. She has demonstrated a 20-year commitment to advancing the education rights of young people and refugees. In 2002, Ms Hoddinott established the Friends of Zainab trust fund to allow a young asylum seeker to complete their high school education. This initiative has supported over 100 students. Mrs Hoddinott has focussed attention on the importance of teaching English as a second language (ESL) and how this enhances learning environments for all students and improves social cohesion. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2008 for her career-long contribution to social justice issues and she received the College Medal from the Australian College of Educators in 2012 for service to school education, particularly to disadvantaged students.

Noel Tovey

Pic credit: Ross Coffey

Noel Tovey is an actor, author, choreographer and dancer. He is also a lifelong advocate for Indigenous Australians and the rights of LGBTI Australians. Mr Tovey established the Noel Tovey Scholarship Fund in 2001 and the Noel Tovey Award for Achievement in 2006, both of which give young people access to a performing arts education. Mr Tovey gained international acclaim for his book and stage play Little Black Bastard, an account of his early experiences of adversity and discrimination. He is a patron of Val’s Café, a Victorian organisation focused on the health and wellbeing of older LGBTI people. Mr Tovey received the Also Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and the Uncle Bob Maza Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Indigenous Theatre in 2014.

Michael Traill AM

Michael Traill AM is the executive director and former chief executive of the non-profit organisation, Social Ventures Australia. He is also the interim chairman of the charity, Australian Schools Plus. For over 12 years he has worked to improve the education and employment outcomes of disadvantaged Australians, advancing the award-winning SVA Social Impact Fund, which provides equity investments and grants to social enterprises focused on improving education, employment and life outcomes for disadvantaged community members. Mr Traill was the driving force behind the social purpose buy-out of ABC Childcare Centres, the largest social finance deal undertaken in Australia. In 2013, he was involved in Australia’s first Social Benefit Bond, Newpin SBB, which raises private capital to help provide home care for families with young children.

Dr John Falzon

Dr John Falzon is chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia. Trained in sociology, theology, politics and poetics, he has worked in academia, in community development in large public housing estates and in research and advocacy for non-government organisations. He is also a poet. Dr Falzon has written and spoken widely on the structural causes of inequality in Australia and has long been an advocate for a fairer society. He is currently a member of the ACOSS Board, was a participant in the 2020 Summit and has also served on government advisory committees such as the Australian Social Inclusion Board, the Community Response Task Force during the Global Financial Crisis and the Energy White Paper High Level Consultative Committee. He is also the author of The language of the unheard (2012).


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