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Ita is Australian of the Year

26 January 2013 at 11:24 am
Lina Caneva
Publishing icon and health care champion Ita Buttrose AO OBE has been named Australian of the Year 2013 at the Australian of the Year Awards announcement held in front of Parliament House in Canberra.

Lina Caneva | 26 January 2013 at 11:24 am


Ita is Australian of the Year
26 January 2013 at 11:24 am

?Publishing icon and health care champion Ita Buttrose AO OBE has been named Australian of the Year 2013 at the Australian of the Year Awards announcement held in front of Parliament House in Canberra.

Buttrose was presented with the Australian of the Year award by Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. South Australia's Emeritus Professor Ian Maddocks AM was named Senior Australian of the Year 2013 for his lifetime of health care achievements; inspiring refugee and mentor Akram Azimi of Western Australia was named Young Australian of the Year 2013 and Indigenous community leader Shane Phillips from NSW was announced as Australia’s Local Hero 2013.

The Australian of the Year 2013, Ita Buttrose, was acknowledged for her extraordinary and inspiring achievements in a groundbreaking media career and her role in raising awareness of health care and media issues.

Buttrose was born in Sydney's Potts Point and attended Dover Heights Home Science High School and Sacred Heart Convent School in Sydney's eastern suburbs. She began her career as a 15 year old copy girl at The Australian Women’s Weekly and quickly became a cadet journalist on the women's section at the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph.

At just 23 she was appointed women’s editor of these two newspapers  and in 1971, created Cleo magazine for Sir Frank and Kerry Packer. In 1980 she became the first woman editor of an Australian metropolitan newspaper – the Murdoch owned Daily Telegraph and later the Sunday Telegraph.

She was the first woman appointed to the News Limited Board in 1981. Since 2011 she has been National President of Alzheimer’s Australia and is also Vice President Emeritus of Arthritis Australia.

She has been Patron of Macular Degeneration Foundation since 2005. Now aged 71, Ita also uses her national profile to raise awareness of breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and prostate cancer.

Alzheimer’s Australia chief executive, Glenn Rees, said: “Ita has shown unrelenting commitment and passion for improving the quality of life of people with dementia, taking every opportunity in her busy life to raise issues relating to ageing and dementia.”

“As a skilled communicator she has succeeded in getting dementia talked about in the media and the wider community and in promoting a greater understanding of the stigma and isolation that can result from a diagnosis of the condition.

“Since Ita has been President, we have achieved historic changes in dementia policy, including the designation of dementia as Australia’s ninth National Health Priority Area.

“Ita continues to be a particularly powerful advocate for increased funding in 2013 for dementia research and the role research must play if we are to move towards a World Without Dementia.” 

The Senior Australian of the Year 2013, Emeritus Professor Ian Maddocks AM, is one of Australia’s pre-eminent palliative care specialists and a passionate advocate for the cause of peace. 

He has been a key leader for many years in both the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War – an organisation which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in 1985. After promoting the development of palliative care in southern Adelaide for some years, Professor Maddocks was appointed Professor of Palliative Care at Flinders University in 1988, pursuing a rigorous teaching and research program as well as caring for his patients.

He was elected first President of the Australian Association for Hospice and Palliative Care and first President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine.

Recognised internationally for his work in palliative care, tropical and preventative medicine, Professor Maddocks’ texts are used world-wide.Ian's awards over the years include the inaugural Bethlehem Griffiths Medal for research in palliative care. Now 82 years of age, Professor Maddocks continues to supervise postgraduate students and care for the terminally ill.

The Young Australian of the Year 2013 is 25 year old mentor Akram Azimi of Marangaroo in Western Australia. Akram arrived in Australia from Afghanistan in 1999 as a refugee. His journey in Australia took him from ‘an ostracised refugee kid with no prospects’ to becoming his school's head boy.

An outstanding student at Warwick Senior High School, he topped the tertiary entrance exam scores among his classmates. He's now studying a triple major – law, science and arts – at the University of Western Australia.Intent on giving back to his adopted country, Akram uses his leadership and pastoral skills to help young people in remote and rural Western Australia. 

In 2011 he co-founded a student-run initiative I am the other, set up to raise awareness about Indigenous issues in universities.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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