On January 25, the Australian of the Year Awards 2023 will honour people young and old who embody what it means to be Australian.
Since its inception in 1960, the Australian of the Year Awards has provided a forum for the recognition of outstanding achievement across the nation.
Over the years the criteria for the awards has shifted significantly. Initially the focus was on international acclaim and awarding the person who had 'brought the greatest honour to Australia'. Now, the criteria focuses on excellence in a field and being an inspirational role model for the Australian community.
The 2022 winner was athlete and disability advocate Dylan Alcott.
As well as the Australian of the Year, the Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia's Local Hero will be announced at the awards ceremony in Canberra.
There are 32 finalists across the four categories who were nominated by members of their community and recognised for their contributions.
Here are the finalists for each category:
Former Socceroo and human rights activist Craig Forster is the NSW nominee. He earned international acclaim during his tenure as Socceroo's captain and since retiring as a player has become a prominent analyst and commentator.
Foster's human rights activism has taken centre stage in recent years. He was involved in advocating for the release of refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi in 2019.
Queensland finalist William Barton is a proud Kalkadunga man, and a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, didgeridoo player and renowned classical composer.
He was invited to perform with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at 17, has received numerous prestigious music awards including Best World Music Album at the 2022 ARIAs, and was the 2019 artist in residence at Melbourne Recital Centre.
Proud Mayili man Samuel Bush-Blanasi is the Northern Territory's finalist. Bush-Blanasi has worked for decades to empower Indigenous Australians through native title claims and constitutional reform. He is Chair and Deputy Chair of the Northern Land Council.
From Victoria, paediatrician and co-found of Health Awareness Society of Australia Dr Angraj Khillan is the nominee. He works with the Health Awareness Society of Australia to dispel taboos, myths and misinformation about health and deliver reliable information around topics like vaccines in numerous languages.
Western Australian advocate for end of life care Professor Samar Aoun is also in the running. She advocates for person-centred approaches to end of life care and is an international leader in in the advocacy of public health approaches to palliative care.
From the ACT, Olympia Yarger is an insect farming pioneer and climate action activist. Yarger has developed an innovative waste management system that uses maggots to process food waste and reduce greenhouse gases.
Tasmanian John Kamara is the co-founder of Culturally Diverse Alliance of Tasmania. Originally from Sierra Leone, Kamara now works with migrants, refugees and people from culturally diverse communities.
South Australian body image activist Taryn Brumfitt has been nominated for her work promoting body positivity, which includes directing the 2016 documentary 'Embrace' as well as writing four best-selling books.
Young Australian of the Year nominees are:
Senior Australian of the Year nominees are:
The nominees for the Local Hero award are:
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