We have some exciting news to share with you!
We’re thrilled to see that Dr Anthony Lynham, June Oscar AO, and Professor Kate Conigrave are in the running to be named Australia’s 25 most influential people in the social sector, as voted by their peers.
And the best part is that you can help us get them into the final 25. Exciting, right?
Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25 Awards recognise inspirational people that do amazing and often unrecognised work.
Since 2014, these awards have showcased individuals who are working to make the world a better place. Past winners have included the likes of Rosie Batty, Tim Costello, Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull and Kon Karapanagiotidis.
The full list of 2016 nominees is available here and features some truly inspirational individuals, including friends of ours Anne Russell from the Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association and Jono Nicholas from ReachOut.
While we would love to pat each and every one of these outstanding Australians on the back and show our gratitude, we are only able to submit three votes.
It’s not often that we get a chance to tell the people who are doing amazing things for our shared cause how much we appreciate their efforts. Voltaire said it best, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well”.
The team here at FARE want to show our nominees Anthony, June and Kate that we appreciate their hard work, so we’re doing all that we can to help rally the votes for these inspiring campaigners. But we need your help to make a true impact.
To make it easy for you, we’ve put together some key details on what you can do to help show your support for these incredible people.
So, are you in?
Great! Voting is easy. Just head on over to the voting page. Once there you can vote for up to three people who you think should be recognised as having the most influence in the for-purpose sector.
All you have to do is select Dr Anthony Lynham, June Oscar AO, and Professor Kate Conigrave from the list of nominees and then hit the ‘submit’ button to lodge your vote. See? Easy!
Voting will close at midday on Thursday 1 December, so tell your colleagues, family and friends to take part!
Still not convinced?
Most of you who are reading this post will be familiar with the work of these people. But just in case you need a reminder, we’ve put together some information on why FARE nominated these three people below.
Dr Anthony Lynham is a maxillofacial surgeon and consultant surgeon who, after relentless exposure to preventable trauma from alcohol-fuelled violence, has worked to stop this unnecessary suffering. For more than 12 years, Dr Lynham campaigned tirelessly for earlier pub closing times to prevent violence in communities across Queensland. He worked closely with community groups, public health organisations, emergency services and law enforcement agencies to campaign for governments to take action to address alcohol-related violence. Dr Lynham was the inaugural chairman of the Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol, and he was resoundingly elected to Parliament in the July 2014 Stafford by-election, partly on a platform to stop alcohol-fuelled violence. As a Minister in the newly elected Queensland Government, Dr Lynham championed from within Government for the introduction of last drink measures across the state.
June Oscar AO is a fierce advocate and activist for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). After attending 50 funerals in 18 months, June steered a women-led campaign to restrict the sale of full-strength takeaway alcohol across the Fitzroy Valley. June understood that to reduce the horrific effects of family violence, child abuse and suicide, they first had to stem the flow of alcohol. As CEO of the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centres (MFWRC), June led the application to the West Australian Government for alcohol restrictions. It was an Australian first. Within six months, the results of the restrictions were indisputable. Children were going to school more often and doctors at the local hospital were staying for longer to help the community rebuild its health and its future. Police reported that rapes, bashings and street drinking were also on the decline. In 2009, June was instrumental in the establishment of FASD prevalence study the ‘Lililwan Project’, one of the first steps to overcoming FASD and protecting the community from the devastating impacts of excessive alcohol consumption.
Professor Kate Conigrave is an Addiction Medicine Specialist at the University of Sydney’s Medical School, Public Health Physician at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and Director of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. For the past 15 years, Professor Kate Conigrave has worked in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and agencies in urban, regional and remote Australia. Her work combines treating individuals with alcohol, drug, and tobacco problems; promoting the health of communities; and research and teaching. Professor Conigrave has facilitated collaborations in research and in teaching for frontline workers, supporting communities in their work on reducing harms from substance use. Her special interest in putting best evidence into day-to-day clinical practice and making healthcare more accessible has seen her recently awarded National Health and Medical Research Council funding for the establishment of a Centre for Research Excellence in Indigenous Health. As well as caring for patients with alcohol or other drug problems, Kate provides education and training for health professionals across the country, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers.
Why you should vote for them
We could write an entire book on why these three people are deserving of your vote but instead we will let them speak for themselves.
Dr Anthony Lynham said in his first speech to Queensland Parliament:
“I operated on one unsuspecting teenager after another who was just out for a good night but ended up in my care after a senseless assault. This constant exposure to trauma and violence caused me to consider how this mindless behaviour can and should be stopped… It is easy to watch the nightclub brawls on the TV news and think that you know the answer, but my team and I were the ones who had to pick up the pieces on a weekly basis.
“As a surgeon, I could only keep operating on more and more distressing cases. As an elected representative of the people of Stafford, I aim to do more. Alongside others, I will be working hard to bring common sense to the debate, to provide solutions as to how we can prevent these attacks. Preventing violence surely is more worthwhile than trying to mop up the aftermath.”
As a result of Dr Lynham’s efforts, Queensland now leads the way, not only in Australia, but across the world, in acting to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.
June Oscar AO said in her acceptance at the 2016 Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship award:
“To truly change the course of history, we need everyone to embark on this journey with us. It will take us all to build a firm resolve and commitment to ensure the work we do today can restore our Indigenous societies to full health, wellbeing and vibrancy so that our children can have access to all the opportunities that are their birth right.”
June’s courage and determination to address the most complex and sensitive issues affecting the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is inspirational. Her determination that we do not sacrifice the health of our children for the ‘right’ to buy full strength take-away alcohol, makes her a role model for all Australia.
Professor Kate Conigrave wrote in her article Support for Indigenous Australians:
“Accessing treatment for alcohol dependence is an ongoing challenge. In rural NSW individuals may travel more than six hours to access residential services. Lack of childcare or family friendly services pose a challenge, and residential youth programs are scarce. Furthermore, many services do not accept individuals with complex physical or psychiatric illness and this complexity is more common among Indigenous Australians.
“Aboriginal community controlled services and Aboriginal staff have a unique ability to improve treatment access and to provide culturally appropriate care. However historically Indigenous services suffer from inadequate and insecure funding. This stands in the way of maintaining professional staffing and development.”
Kate’s continual efforts to train and skill health workers, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, to empower them to make real change to the health of their communities sees Kate as a leader and mentor across the alcohol and drug sector.
How can you help?
- Vote for all three by following this link and clicking on their names.
- Share the link with your networks and ask them to vote.
- Jump on social media and promote their nominations using #2016IMPACT25
The Impact 25 winners will be selected based on the number of peer votes they receive, so once you have voted please share this information and encourage other people to vote.
It would be fantastic to see these champions in the alcohol harm reduction space to be recognised for their tireless work and advocacy in making Australia a safer place.
It is no secret that FARE works tirelessly to reduce the harm caused by alcohol, but we know that we are not alone in this fight. The problem is bigger than us and we want to see the people who are working alongside of us in this field recognised for their hard work.
Because after all, we are all in this together.