Praise for Outgoing Australian of the Year
Thursday, 22nd January 2015 at 11:02 am
Outgoing Australian of the Year Adam Goodes has been recognised for his role in pushing racism into the spotlight.
The Australian Human Rights Commission said the AFL star had shown leadership since being awarded the title last year.
Goodes courted controversy when he wrote that “Europeans, and the Governments that have run our country, have raped, killed and stolen,” with Herald Sun Columnist Andrew Bolt claiming that the statement was effectively preaching division.
Bolt was in turn criticised for misrepresenting Goodes’ statements.
But Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, said Goodes had used his position positively as more than 325 organisations across Australia had become official supporters of the Racism. It Stops with Me campaign – with 115 organisations joining since Australia Day 2014.
“Adam Goodes is an inspiring ambassador for Racism. It Stops With Me and he has been an outstanding Australian of the Year,” Soutphommasane said.
“Adam delivered a powerful message these past 12 months. On racism, he is absolutely right to say: If you see something, say something. It’s up to all of us to take a stand against prejudice and bigotry.”
Soutphommasane said Goodes had spoken about combating racism in media interviews, speeches, a Community Service Announcement and on social media.
“One hashtag that I’ve been really passionate about this year is #itstopswithme,” Goodes told Racism. It Stops With Me supporter Twitter Australia last week.
“That hashtag has been so important to help get the message out there in the community and to give people the courage to stand up and say no to racism.”
Soutphommasane said one in five Australians report being targeted by race-hate talk such as verbal abuse or racial slurs. More than one in 20 people say they have been physically attacked because of their race.
Goodes’ term as Australian of the Year concludes on 25 January, when the 2015 Australian of the Year will be announced by the Prime Minister in Canberra.
Pro Bono Australia News previously reported that women had dominated this year’s Australian of the Year nominations.