The Riverina has a chance at claiming 2017’s Australian of the Year in Stan Grant, a journalist with a career spanning newspapers, radio and television both at home and abroad.
A proud Wiradjuri man, Mr Grant received a lot of attention in 12 months ago when he made a speech declaring that racism was “killing the Australian dream”. He later appeared on the ABC's Q&A program and said he found the response to his speech overwhelming.
The former Griffith High School student defied racism and fought for an education that would lead to great success, covering the British handover of Hong Kong to China and civil unrest in Northern Ireland as well as hosting various television programs.
Mr Grant has challenged people to embrace reconciliation and a true common nationhood built on respect for the first Australians. In his books The Tears of Strangers and Talking to My Country, he shared a profound and moving account of his life’s journey, overcoming enormous disadvantage to achieve great success in his chosen career.
With an honorary doctorate from the University of NSW for his contribution to Aboriginal people, Mr Grant is chair of Indigenous Affairs at Charles Sturt University and was recently appointed to advise the Australian Government on constitutional recognition.
Mr Grant has a pride in his culture and a deep love of country and has elevated the conversation about the impact of dispossession on Aboriginal people.
Wiradjuri politician Linda Burney said she first met Mr Grant “long before he was famous” and had watched his rise with pride.
“I strongly endorse Stan’s nomination,” Ms Burney said.
“He is a proud Wiradjuri man and he speaks and writes eloquently and passionately about his experience from the worldview of being a Wiradjuri person.
“He’s also a damn nice bloke.”
Ms Burney said the nomination showed once again that Murrumbidgee kids can do great things.
Mr Grant is shortlisted alongside refugee and lawyer Deng Adut, biomedical engineer Dr Jordan Nguyen and ironwoman Turia Pitt for the NSW Australian of the Year Award, which will be announced on November 7.
The winners in each category will go on to be candidates for the national award, which will be announced on January 25, 2017.