Meet your new Australian of the Year

Alan Mackay-Sim, the scientist who helped a quadriplegic man move again, has received the top honour.
Society
Alan Mackay-Sim is this year's honouree.

The country has a new Australian of the Year and this time there’s no doubt he will be beloved by all.

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim was named as this year’s honouree at the annual ceremony last night for his amazing work on stem cell research, which saw him help a paraplegic man gain mobility again.

His breakthrough work has been hailed as the scientific equivalent to the moon landing, putting Australia at the forefront of this important research.

Professor Mackay-Sim said he was nearly in disbelief he was being honoured in such a way and, ever humble, used his acceptance speech to talk about how important Australia was in his field of work.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could treat spinal cord injury and reduce the cost and reduce the suffering and increase the productivity of all of those people with spinal cord injuries?” he said.

“Sixty years ago, Australia was one of the first countries to move away from the idea that spinal cord injuries could not be treated.

“Intense research in the last 20 years gives hope that future spinal cord injuries will be treated early and the effects minimised.”

He also recognised his fellow honourees, saying he had found “seven new best friends”, before poking fun at his now-famous moustache.

“I’m sure the only difference between us is my moustache,” he said with a smile.

Meanwhile, who could forget this year’s Senior of the Year!

The wonderful award has gone to Sister Anne Gardiner AM for her lifetime of work with Indigenous people – particularly the Tiwi people of Bathurst Island.

Since she was 22 years old, Sister Anne has dedicated her life to helping preserve their culture and enrich the lives of local communities.

She is the principal of the local primary school and has established community clubs like Little Athletics and mother’s groups on Bathurst Island.

She also runs prayer meetings, founded an op shop and established a cafe.

What an achievement!

This year’s nominees are likely to drum up much less controversy than last year’s recipient David Morrison, who was accused by many of being a PC choice.

What do you think of this year’s winners? Are you happy with the decision?

  1. Jack  

    The AOTY title should have been awarded to Daniel Andrews, the Victorian Premier rather than someone who
    just fixes back problems. Look at all the wonderful things Mr. Andrews has achieved for Victoria over the past two years.
    We all feel safe now with his drastic lowering of the crime rates, his firm approach to union interference, his amazing
    infrastructure improvements and his fabulous ‘Safe Schools’ program that ensures our children are correctly taught
    true social principles.
    I cannot understand why the AOTY committee were silly enough not to acknowledge this wonderful man ?

    • Patricia  

      What? Where have you been living….in your dream world…certainly not in Victoria under Andrews!!!

      • Jack  

        It was a joke Pat. Andrews is THE worst Premier we have ever had in Victoria.
        This years AOTY award is totally justified to a great Australian.

    • Joan Tisdell  

      You are kidding aren’t you? Safe again? What about the insane driver who maimed and killed babies in Melbourne recently?

      • Jack  

        Yeah, just kidding Joan. Andrews is by far THE worst Premier we have ever had in Victoria.
        The AOTY award could not have gone to a more deserving Australian.

  2. Sue  

    Typical Victorian, it’s all about you! What about the rest of Australia? Making someone walk and feeling whole again is a true achievement! Hats of to Alan and his team, keep,up the good work!

    • Jack  

      It was my idea of a silly joke Sue. Andrews is by far THE worst Premier Victoria has had to endure.
      The AOTY award was totally justified to this great Australian.

  3. Charles  

    At least this year it wasn’t a gesture of political correctness like last year. By the way did anyone hear anything that last years AOTY said or did for the country whilst in that role?

    • Guy Flavell  

      Nope … he did nothing other than to make a complete goose of himself.

  4. At the age of 75 I sustained a minor Spinal Cord injury which paralysed both my legs from the knees down and my feet also dropped. I was unable to walk and in excruciating pain, facing the prospect of never being mobile again.
    The absolute devastation both physical and psychological was enormous. However thanks to a wonderful Surgeon, marvellous rehab team I am now mobile again.
    Please do not make rash comments about our Australian of the Year, remember you must walk in another’s shoes to understand the problem.
    His work will give hope to so many.

    • Jack  

      Sorry Margaret, my comment was flippant and meant to be some kind of weird joke.
      Andrews is indeed THE worst Premier Victorians have ever had to endure.
      The AOTY award could not have gone to a more deserving Australian. You are so right that
      his work has given very much hope to so many people. What wonderful news that you
      are now up and running again. I wish you all the best.

  5. Evelyn Rupp  

    Seems like a great choice to me. What a wonderful thing to be working on – cannot imagine what it would be like not to be able to walk, or worse still, not be able to move at all. Congratulations to this man. A deserving recipient of the honour.

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