Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Indigenous leaders share top NAIDOC Awards honour

Dr Chicka Dixon, Joseph Elu AO and Archie Roach were last night jointly awarded the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Ball.

The trio was presented with the prestigious National NAIDOC Awards honour in Canberra as NAIDOC Week celebrations drew to a close.

This is the first year the lifetime achievement award has been shared and is a reflection of the remarkable contribution made by all three Indigenous Australians to the nation.

Dr Dixon is a wharfie, unionist and humanitarian known for campaigning tirelessly for Indigenous rights and recognition.

He became involved with the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1960, when it built the foundations for the successful 1967 referendum that gave Aborigines citizenship rights.

Dr Dixon led the first Aboriginal delegation to China and was awarded honorary doctorates from three Sydney universities in 2006.

Mr Elu is the retiring chair of Indigenous Business Australia, which under his leadership increased assets from $58 million to $721 million and created many employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

He has been a strong and influential advocate for Indigenous economic and cultural development and a trusted advisor to all levels of government.

Mr Roach is a legend of the Australian music industry who has won multiple ARIAs.

His song Took the Children Away captured his own experiences and the plight of the Stolen Generations, resulting in him becoming the first songwriter to earn an international Human Rights Achievement Award.

Nine other outstanding individuals were recognised during the ceremony, with Associate Professor Colleen Hayward awarded NAIDOC Person of the Year.

Ms Hayward is renowned for heading Kulunga Research Network at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth and more generally for her dedication to Indigenous affairs and reconciliation.

For more than 20 years, Ms Hayward has contributed to policies and programs on a wide range of issues affecting Indigenous people, including health, education, training, employment and housing, as well as the rights of Indigenous Australians.

All award winners are congratulated and the announcement caps a successful week celebrating the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr Chicka Dixon, Joseph Elu AO, Archie Roach

Elder of the Year (Female)
Carol Pettersen, Albany

Elder of the Year (Male)
Bob Muir, Rockhampton

Person of the Year
Associate Professor Colleen Hayward, Perth

Artist of the Year
Les Envin, Cessnock

Sportsperson of the Year
Stacey Porter, Sydney (via Tamworth)

Apprentice of the Year
Amy McQuire, Canberra (via Rockhampton)

Scholar of the Year
Dr Karen Martin, Lismore (via North Stradbroke Island)

Youth of the Year
Angeline Blackburn, Canberra (via Cann River) and Krista Moir, Perth (via Esperance)