2020 Australian of the Year Awards

2020 Australian of the Year Awards

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Four men dressed in suits stand in front of a large display. Three of them hold blue trophies. The background is dark with a few lights shining. At right is a young woman holding a blue trophy. She is wearing a blue top. Behind her is an orange display with the words Young Australian of the Year and a Woolworths logo.
Each winner of an Australian of the Year Award is a role model, and their achievements and contributions an inspiration to Australia.
Prior to the formal Award presentation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a reception at the Lodge for the State and Territory finalists.
‘You've helped make Australia a better place. You've made us proud. And I know the family members and loved ones who are here with you today are as proud.
‘Right now is a difficult time for Australia and we draw strength from you, from your example, from your courage, from your compassion. We draw strength from those amazing volunteers who are out there today, selflessly serving. Their courage, their generosity. How good is Australia?’
The 2020 Award winners are:

Australian of the Year - Dr James Muecke AM

‘James co-founded Sight For All, a social impact organisation aiming to create a world where everyone can see. 
James creates low-cost programs to fight blindness through research, education and infrastructure, including the comprehensive training of colleagues in Sight For All's partner countries.’

Senior Australian of the Year - Professor John Newnham AM

‘Professor John Newnham AM is recognised as one of the world's leading authorities in the prevention of pre-term birth – the single greatest cause of death and disability in children up to five years of age.
John has been described by the world's leading scientific journal as 'an intellectual leader of modern obstetrics who has changed the practice of medicine and the lives of women and infants.'

Young Australian of the Year - Ashleigh Barty

Professional tennis player Ash Barty is an inspiration to her fans and the nation as a whole. ‘She is ranked the world's number one singles tennis player by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) – only the second Australian WTA singles number one after Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
A First Nations woman, Ash serves as the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia.’

2020 Local Hero - Bernie Shakeshaft

‘After seeing the plight of disadvantaged youth in his community, Bernie Shakeshaft decided to take action. Starting with a shed and an idea, in 2006, Bernie founded the BackTrack Youth Works Program, turning around the lives of some of Australia's most vulnerable kids.
The BackTrack program, now the subject of a documentary Backtrack Boys, has the support of magistrates, police and mayors. It has helped decrease Armidale's youth crime rate by over 38 per cent, saving millions of dollars, and keeping children out of correctional systems.’
We also congratulate all state and territory nominees for their service and example to Australia.
*Profiles for each of the winners and further information on the Awards at Australianoftheyear.org.au