Australian of the Year could be somebody you know: Nominate now

WA Senior Australian of the Year Professor John Newnham and WA Young Australian of the Year Yarlalu Thomas.
WA Senior Australian of the Year Professor John Newnham and WA Young Australian of the Year Yarlalu Thomas.

Got somebody in mind to be the next Australian of the Year? Time is running out to get your nomination in.

You've got until July 31 to nominate somebody as inspiring as Western Australia's inspirational Australians of the Year for 2020.

They were Senior Australian of the Year Professor John Newnham; Young Australian of the Year Yarlalu Thomas; Australia's Local Hero Suzy Urbaniak; and Australian of the Year Annie Fogarty.

Professor Newnham is recognised as one of the world's leading authorities in the prevention of pre-term birth - the single greatest cause of death and disability in children up to five years of age.

A Professor of Obstetrics, Professor Newnham has been instrumental in making Western Australia an international hotspot for research and clinical excellence in pregnancy and life before birth.

In 1989, he founded and led the pioneering Raine Study, the world's first and most enduring pregnancy-focused lifetime cohort project. John developed a program for preventing preterm birth - a pioneering initiative which resulted in an 8 per cent reduction in premature births across WA.

After a successful national rollout in 2018, he founded the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance - the world's first ever national program of its kind. John has been described by the world's leading scientific journal as 'an intellectual leader of modern obstetrics who has changed the practice of medicine and the lives of women and infants'.

Also in the medical field is WA Young Australian of the Year Yarlalu Thomas.

Mr Thomas is a Nyangumarta Pitjikarli man, originally from Warralong, southeast of Port Hedland. The first in his community to complete a high-school certificate, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Sydney.

Between his bachelor's degree and MD, Mr Thomas was awarded the inaugural Roy Hill Community Foundation Fellowship. He now works with the WA Register of Developmental Anomalies, Genetic Services WA and Cliniface, to transform genetic health care services for remote Indigenous people.

Mr Thomas also works with Pilbara Faces, which aims to understand 3D facial variation of ATSI peoples to provide more accessible, quicker and non-invasive diagnosis for children with rare and genetic diseases.

Mr Thomas launched the UNESCO-endorsed Life Languages project to translate medical terminology into ATSI languages, and indigenous languages internationally. He combines the newest scientific and medical knowledge with old and ancient wisdom.

Yarlalu mentors and tutors Aboriginal boarding students, helping them adjust to their new lifestyle.

What you need to know to nominate somebody

National Australia Day Council chief executive Karlie Brand urged Australians to nominate someone who is helping to make Australia better and who they admire for their inspiring work.

"This year, perhaps more than any other since the awards began in 1960, we've seen Australians overcome many adversities, help each other in times of crisis and carry out acts of bravery, leadership and kindness on a daily basis," Ms Brand said.

"It only takes one nomination for someone to be considered for the awards, but a nomination must be submitted for a person in order for them to be in the running.

"No matter how well known someone may be, a public nomination must be submitted before they can be considered for the awards."

Four national awards will be presented by the Prime Minister at a nationally televised ceremony on the eve of Australia Day in 2021 - and each state and territory has a finalist in each of the four categories.

Nominations for 2021 Australian of the Year must be: individuals (groups of people are not eligible); a living person (unfortunately posthumous awards cannot be granted); Australian citizens; aged 16-30 for Young Australian of the Year; and aged 65 and over for Senior Australian of the Year.

Selection criteria to consider when nominating a person for the awards include:

  • Significant contribution to the Australian community and nation
  • An inspirational role model for the Australian community
  • Demonstrated excellence in their field
  • The Local Hero award acknowledges a significant contribution at local community level


You can help find the 2021 Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year (65 years+), Young Australian of the Year (16-30 years) and Australia's Local Hero by nominating a champion in your community.

The awards are nominated by the public, so visit to nominate someone you admire who is helping to make Australia better.

The National Australia Day Council has tips for writing a top nomination.

Nominations are open until July 31.

  • ACM, the publisher of this website, is a proud supporter of the Australian of the Year Awards.