The leaders who led the nation through a health and bushfire crisis are favorites to become Australian of the Year in 2021

State and Territory finalists for Australian of the Year are in Canberra ahead of the unveiling on Monday to find out who will receive the highest accolade

While ACT Australian of the Year Professor Brendan Murphy and NSW Australian of the Year Shane Fitzsimmons are favorites, they vie for the gong against passionate activists and doctors

Professor Murphy was the chief health officer at the start of the coronavirus crisis and was instrumental in getting governments to put health advice at the center of the country’s response

Being named Australian of the Year would mean recognizing the work of health professionals and civil servants throughout the pandemic, he said

“Everyone pulled themselves together and as a nation we showed how powerful we can be”

Like many Australians in NSW and the ACT, Professor Murphy witnessed the leadership of former rural fire chief Shane Fitzsimmons during last summer’s deadly bushfires

Mr. Fitzsimmons now heads Resilience NSW and says it would be an opportunity to be named Australian of the Year to advance the importance of volunteer, mental health and community

Heartbreaking images of Mr. Fitzsimmons giving awards of valor and service to toddlers instead of their fathers have been shared around the world

“We owe it to all of us to ensure that as they grow up they know that the only reason their father is no longer with them is because they were heroes who make a difference in their community” said Fitzsimmons

Coronavirus travel restrictions prevented Western Australia’s Australian of the Year, the country’s first Indigenous Doctor, Helen Milroy, from attending the Canberra celebrations

Wendy Page, Australian of the Northern Territory of the Year, says the pandemic has put health education first, which has contributed to her goal of raising awareness of strongyloidiasis, a disease caused by roundworms

After Dr. Page lost a friend to the disease in 1999, he was keen to make it reportable, which means cases must be legally reported to the authorities

Queensland’s Australian of the Year Dinesh Palipana is the second person with quadriplegia to graduate as a physician in Australia and is now advocating for physicians with disabilities

South Australia’s candidate for the top gong is Tanya Hosch, AFL’s General Manager for Inclusion and Social Policy

She plans to raise awareness and campaign for the age of criminal liability in Australia to be raised from 10 to 10 years

Tasmania’s candidate is sexual assault survivor and attorney Grace Tame, who became the first woman in the state to be granted an exemption to speak publicly about her assault

She is working to focus more on the education and prevention of child sexual abuse, in particular on the care and psychological manipulation of abuse

The founder of the National Homeless Collective, Donna Stolzenberg, is Victoria’s Australian of the Year and advocates a better understanding that poverty is the leading cause of homelessness

Australian of the year 2021

World News – AU – The Australian heads of state and government have been named Australian of the year 2021