A West Australian who has spent more than 30 years working to advance the rights of indigenous people has been recognised with the inaugural Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award.
The Hon Fred Chaney AO was last night congratulated for his exceptional leadership in the fields of social justice, human rights, equality and anti-racism.
Multicultural Interests and Citizenship Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich said his efforts to promote indigenous reconciliation and Native Title were particularly noted.
“The value of this work cannot be underestimated,” Ms Ravlich said.
“At a time when we have made a national apology to the Stolen Generation, it’s pleasing to see that a local advocate of indigenous rights has been recognised.”
Mr Chaney is best known for his role as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1983 to 1990. During that time, he managed a number of ministerial portfolios, including Aboriginal Affairs.
In 1994, he was appointed as a part-time Member of the National Native Title Tribunal, a full-time Member in April 1995 and Deputy President in April 2000.
Mr Chaney’s first involvement in indigenous affairs began when he joined the Aboriginal Legal Service in a voluntary capacity in the early 1970s.
The Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award is a key initiative of Harmony Week, held between March 15 and 21.
Harmony Week promotes cultural diversity and encourages all Western Australians to participate in our society, respect each other and take a stand against racism.
Harmony Week is an initiative of the Office of Multicultural Interests and Department for Communities.
The Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award honours the lifelong work of the late Sir Ronald Wilson, who was one of Western Australia’s most distinguished public servants, a respected lawyer, judge, social activist and a steadfast advocate for the disadvantaged.
His commitment to advancing the cause of minority community groups, in particular indigenous people, made him arguably without peer in this area.
The Minister said striving to build a society that was inclusive, free of prejudice and discrimination, was fundamental to the ideal of multiculturalism.
“All citizens regardless of their origin, culture, religion, ethnicity and nationality, are entitled to exercise their rights and participate fully in society,” Ms Ravlich said.
For more information, visit http://www.multicultural.wa.gov.au.
Minister's office -9213 6800