Anti-violence campaigner Rosie Batty has been named as the 2015 Australian of the Year.
On the eve of Australia Day Prime Minister Tony Abbott has presented the 2015 Australian of the Year Awards at Parliament House.
Rosie Batty, 52, was presented with the top honour for her tireless effort in campaigning against domestic violence, even in the face of personal tragedy. After the tragic loss of her son Luke, aged just 11, at the hands of his father in a shocking public assault, Rosie now publicly champions efforts to fight domestic violence.
The Prime Minister’s office said: “Rosie’s story jolted Australia into recognising that family violence can happen to anyone and she has given voice to many thousands of victims of domestic violence who had until then remained unheard.”
In spite of her own tragic experience, Rosie has gone on to make many media and public speaking appearances to shine a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence and call for systemic changes.
Tony Abbott also said that: “Her incredible strength and selfless efforts are an inspiration to many other victims of domestic violence, while her courage and willingness to speak out will make Australia a far better and safer place.”
2015 has also marked the first time in the history of the Australian of the Year Awards that women have been awarded the top honour in all four award categories.
The Australian of the Year finalists at a morning tea with Prime Minister Tony Abott ahead of the awards ceremony.
The 2015 Young Australian of the Year is Drisana Levitzke-Gray,21, who is the fifth generation in her family to be born deaf and has dedicated to helping other deaf people and advocating their human rights.
The 2015 Senior Australian of the Year is celebrated children’s book author Jackie French, 61 and charity founder Juliette Wright is 2015 Australia's Local Hero.
The Chairman of the National Australia Day Council, Ben Roberts-Smith congratulated the Award recipients: "It is a great moment in the 55 year history of these Awards to honour four women.
"Rosie, Jackie, Drisana and Juliette remind us of the many ways in which women contribute to our nation - that women are a force for change, a voice for rights, influencers, educators and the heart of our communities. "Most of all, they are admired and respected by their fellow Australians - they are people we can be proud of and look to as examples of the good in us all." Many congratulations to the finalists who will also take part in Australia Day activities by attending the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony in Canberra.
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