2022 Queensland Australian of the Year recipients announced
Published Thursday, 11 November, 2021 at 07:45 PM
Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Sue and Lloyd Clarke, the parents of domestic and family violence victim, the late Hannah Clarke, are the 2022 Queensland Australian of the Year award recipients.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated the Clarkes at a ceremony in Brisbane tonight, ahead of the national Australia Day awards in January.
In the other categories:
- The 2022 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year is Australia’s first Indigenous police officer Dr Colin Dillon AM APM.
- The Queensland Young Australian of the Year is psychiatry registrar and mental health advocate Dr Tahnee Bridson.
- The Queensland Local Hero is multicultural community leader Saba Abraham.
The Premier said all four awards acknowledge outstanding endeavours to improve our communities, our state, our nation and the world.
“The awards again encourage all of us that a brighter future is always achievable with hard work, devotion and compassion,” she said.
“All nominees in each of the four categories deserve our gratitude and admiration.”
The four category recipients will now represent Queensland at the national awards in the new year.
Queensland Australian of the Year
The deaths of Hannah Clarke and her three children in February 2020 shook us with deep grief, the Premier said.
“For Hannah’s parents Sue and Lloyd it was a devastating, lifechanging event and the start of a movement for change – Small Steps 4 Hannah – to educate the community and halt the cycle of domestic violence.”
“Their important work that has led to the Clarkes being honoured with the 2022 Queensland Australian of the Year award.”
The Premier said the experiences of Sue and Lloyd and others like them strengthened the resolve of the Queensland Government to establish the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.
They have also strongly advocated on the issue of coercive control.
Queensland Senior Australian of the Year
The Queensland Senior Australian of the Year recipient Dr Colin Dillon’s award recognises his strength, courage and resilience as a respected Elder of the Kumbumerri peoples of the Yugambeh Nation and Australia’s first Indigenous police officer.
Dr Dillon was the first serving police officer to voluntarily step forward and provide crucial first-hand evidence before the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Police Corruption in 1987.
The Premier said since his induction into the Queensland Police Service in 1965, Dr Dillon has been a strong advocate against racial discrimination and police corruption.
“In 1992, he was awarded the Australian Police Medal and in 2013 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the First Nations community, adding to his long list of achievements,” she said.
Queensland Young Australian of the Year
Queensland Young of Australian of the Year recipient and psychiatry registrar Dr Tahnee Bridson is awarded for her efforts to reduce the stigma around mental health within the medical profession.
Dr Bridson founded Hand-n-Hand Peer Support in response to the growing emotional and mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among health professionals, such as stress, anxiety and depression.
“A small social media peer support group has grown into a movement across Australia and New Zealand,” the Premier said.
Queensland Local Hero
Queensland’s Local Hero award acknowledges the vital work of multicultural community leader and social entrepreneur Saba Abraham to translate of COVID-19 public health messages into several languages for communities across the State.
Ms Abraham also dedicates her time to promoting multiculturalism and running her not-for-profit restaurant and catering business, Mu’ooz.
“That’s has provided more than 200 refugee women in Queensland with vocational training and job opportunities,” the Premier said.
The Premier thanked all nominees for the 2022 Queensland Australian of the Year Awards for their hard work serving their communities.
“Many are quiet achievers who work without recognition, but tonight we celebrate their efforts and dedication to their causes.
“Congratulations to the five outstanding Queenslanders who will go on to represent our State at the national awards ceremony on the eve of Australia Day 2022.”
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au
Media contact: Chris O’Brien 0419 774 004
Profiles – Queensland Australian of the Year Recipients
Queensland Australian of the Year – Sue and Lloyd Clarke
Founder of Small Steps 4 Hannah
Despite deep grief, Sue and Lloyd Clarke have shown extraordinary dedication to educating Australia on the dangers of coercive control and domestic violence. After the murder of their daughter Hannah and three grandchildren, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, they vowed to put a stop to domestic and family violence.
Through their foundation, Small Steps 4 Hannah, Sue and Lloyd are committed to ensuring their tragedy isn’t experienced by another family.
They empower victims to speak up, guide family members to be aware of those who may be in an unsafe environment, and create safe environments for those who need them most.
Sue and Lloyd have also supported the Queensland Government’s Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce to transform the way Queenslanders, and Australians in general, understand family and domestic violence, while giving previously ignored victims a voice in court.
Queensland Senior Australian of the Year – Dr Colin Dillon AM APM
Australia’s first Indigenous police officer
When Dr Colin Dillon AM APM entered the Queensland Police Force in 1965, he became Australia’s first Indigenous police officer. This was two years before the 1967 referendum introducing the counting of Aboriginal people in the nation’s census, and a decade before ratification of the Racial Discrimination Act.
In 1987, Colin showed courage as the first serving police officer to voluntarily step forward and give first-hand knowledge under oath before the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Police Corruption. His evidence was instrumental in sending many corrupt officers, including the police commissioner, and several politicians to prison.
Colin has been awarded the Australian Police Medal and received an honorary doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology. In 2013, Colin was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the Indigenous community.
After retiring from the police force, Colin served as Chairman of Indigenous radio station, 98.9FM, and as a Director of the Queensland Heart Foundation. Currently, he’s a community member on the Parole Board of Queensland.
Queensland Young Australian of the Year – Dr Tahnee Bridson
Founder of Hand-n-Hand Peer Support
Following the suicide of a well-known doctor in 2016, Dr Tahnee Bridson learned that many of her friends and colleagues were also suffering in silence – too scared to speak up out of shame, fear and stigma. It was then she decided her future would be dedicated to mental health.
With the encouragement of some high-profile health leaders, Tahnee founded Hand-n-Hand Peer Support in March 2020, to assist healthcare workers who were experiencing wellbeing or mental health difficulties.
What began as a small WhatsApp group chat became a collective of more than 2,000 healthcare workers on social media. The Black Dog Institute included Hand-n-Hand as an official partner.
Tahnee’s work for Hand-n-Hand is done on a volunteer basis, in addition to her full-time job as a doctor. She’s also training to become a psychiatrist.
By introducing peer support to healthcare settings, Hand-n-Hand has the potential to change the culture of workplaces all around the country.
Queensland Australia’s Local Hero – Ms Saba Abraham
Community leader, Founder and Manager of social enterprise Mu’ooz Restaurant and Catering
Since arriving in Australia as a refugee from Eritrea, Saba Abraham has dedicated her time to supporting other refugees, uplifting her community, and building multiculturalism in Australia.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Ms Abraham has played a vital role in preventing its spread in Queensland as the Chairperson of the Brisbane Community Leaders Gathering. The group of leaders from culturally and linguistically diverse communities ensured public health messages were translated into other languages so that all people could receive detailed and timely information.
In addition, Ms Abraham is the founder and Manager of Mu’ooz Restaurant in Brisbane’s West End. Since 2003, the not-for-profit social enterprise restaurant and catering business has provided employment and training opportunities for women who have arrived as refugees.
Ms Abraham’s caring, compassionate and loving leadership has earned her the title ‘Mama Saba’, an honorary expression that recognises everything she does for her community.