Australian of the Year Awards 2016Share Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
I can’t remember a wet and wild Australian of the Year presentation event, and I’ve been to them all over many years. It is always hot, a little too hot for the VIP’s sitting front and centre, but all getting plenty of water and baseball caps for the duration.
Optimistically there were many industrial size fans pumping out cool air for this year’s event, with again plenty of water and dicky blue caps but it was a brolly and poncho kind of event as the rain started, the sensible huddled under market umbrellas in the party space and the decision to stay seated exacerbated the drip effect.
But the Summer Cocktail Party that preceded the presentations was a fine affair for the invited to mix and mingle to meet the nominees, their family and friends and catch up with the locals who sponsor and support this annual recognition of Australians who make us proud. And in we all swept in summer finery, to rub shoulders with past and current recipients, toast them with our finest local Clonakilla and Pankhurst wines or a nice drop of Zierholz on tap. The food kept coming, the excitement was building and the heavens opened. So the presentations were hastened with the brolly holding to protect the winners ably handled by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Chairman of the National Australia Day Council Ben Roberts-Smith. And not one of them turned inside out! Brollies that is not the blokes.
The winners are a cross section of the egalitarian mix we’ve become as Australians who celebrate multiculturalism and embrace changing and evolving to be better at what we do and what we aspire to be. But evidenced in the eclectic mix of backgrounds of the nominees are the seeds of the need to make major changes in so many areas with promises and commitments from winners to bring about change in equality, diversity, education for the marginalized, keeping the scourge of family violence on the agenda after Rosie Batty’s extraordinary 2015 effort and finding innovative and practical solutions to homelessness, mental health and disability needsand caring for the elderly and know then that “there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian”.We have the talent, well demonstrated over the years by the extraordianry alumni of this very exclusive club that is the Australian of the Year Awards.