Date: 
Saturday 14 July 2018

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has been named the NAIDOC Person of the Year at the National NAIDOC Awards in Sydney.

Commissioner Oscar received the award in recognition of her work championing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially women and children, and her tireless work to preserve ancient languages.

Alyawarre woman Pat Anderson AO was also honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award, for her work to improve the health, welfare and education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Pat Anderson is a distinguished and passionate social justice advocate and is a former recipient of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Medal.

Commissioner Oscar congratulated Pat Anderson and all the winners of the NAIDOC awards who were recognised for their outstanding work in their communities.

Commissioner Oscar dedicated her award to her mother and grandmother - fierce and independent Bunuba women.

“Because of them, my ancestors’ spirits and knowledge drove my determination to learn and succeed, while never relinquishing any aspect of my Indigenous womanhood.

“The NAIDOC awards are wonderful recognition. This is an absolute honour, particularly this year, with the theme ‘Because of Her, We can’, Commissioner Oscar said.

As the first woman to be the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar has been carrying out national talks with First Nations women, with the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project.

“I accept this NAIDOC award with the full responsibility of carrying your voices, and I am committed to making what you say count.

“Let me tell you that this year I hear you, I hear our Women’s Voices our Wiyi Yani U Thangani. You are here, you are not silent, you are not invisible. Our voices are rising loud and clear,” Commissioner Oscar said.

Media contact: Lindy Kerin 0430 366 529