Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Indigenous Australians receive national recognition

Bunna Lawrie has been recognised for his contribution to Australian music and his people at the 2012 National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Awards in Hobart tonight.

Mr Lawrie received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the national NAIDOC ball.

As a respected Mirning Elder, song man and storyteller from the coastal Nullarbor in South Australia, Mr Lawrie was a founding member of Coloured Stone, a band formed in the Koonibba Mission.

Among a long list of achievements and accolades, he was awarded the Don Banks Music Award in 1999. This was the first time this award had ever been received by a rock musician.

Mr Lawrie has conducted music workshops with organisations such as Musica Viva and Music Outback and taught young people to play musical instruments, compose songs and set them to music.

David Wirrpanda was named Person of the Year for his work with Indigenous young people and the establishment of the David Wirrpanda Foundation. The foundation delivers programs to help young Indigenous people make healthy life choices, stay at school and enter the workforce.

Indigenous elders, Maureen Kelly from Western Australia and Margaret Lawton from Queensland, jointly received the Female Elder of the Year Award for their contribution to community service.

Ms Kelly has represented the Aboriginal people locally, nationally and internationally and was the first female Aboriginal Justice of the Peace in the Pilbara. Ms Kelly left school at 14 but returned to education as a grandmother, obtaining a university degree.

At 82, Ms Lawton is constantly looked to for support, advice and guidance by her community. She has successfully lobbied for her people and brought many local Indigenous community and cultural issues to public attention.

These winners joined seven other outstanding individuals who have been recognised for their contribution to improving the lives of Indigenous Australians, including Stephen Page who was named Artist of the Year for his dedication to bringing cultures together through performing arts.

The National theme of 2012 NAIDOC Week is Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on. Through their dedication to excelling in their chosen fields and to improving the lives of others in their communities and beyond, this year’s award recipients embody the spirit of the Tent Embassy and are positive role models for all Australians.

I congratulate all the recipients of the awards.

For a full list of the recipients of the 2011 NAIDOC Awards visit:

2012 National NAIDOC Award Category 2012 National NAIDOC Award Finalist

Caring for Country

Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation

Person of the Year Award

David Wirrpanda

Lifetime Achievement Award

Bunna Lawrie

Male Elder of the Year

Hezekiel Jingoonya

Female Elder of the Year

Margaret Lawton

Female Elder of the Year

Maureen Kelly

Apprentice of the Year

Michael Clinch

Sportsperson of the Year

Vanessa Wilson

Sportsperson of the Year

Joshua Robinson

Artist of the Year

Stephen Page

Scholar of the Year

Sarah Bourke

Youth of the Year

Benson Saulo