Australian of the Year Awards

About the Australian of the year awards

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Criteria and Key Dates

In choosing the recipients of the Australian of the Year Awards, regard is given to the nominee’s achievements in the year immediately prior to receiving the award, as well as their past achievements and ongoing contribution to the Australian community and nation.

Research suggests the public want to see the Awards recognise someone changing lives and Australian society for the better, someone whose challenges and triumphs are manifested in their life experience and personal journey, beyond their career achievements. A person who has taken risks, done the hard yards and been a pioneer that has had a positive impact on a wide range of people’s lives. The Award should ideally bring focus to the area of work the person has achieved in for the year they have been recognised.

An individual need only be nominated once to be considered. The number of nominations received per nominee bears no weight in their selection.

The selection criteria are:

  • Significant contribution to the Australian community and nation
  • An inspirational role model for the Australian community
  • Demonstrated excellence in their field
  • The Local Hero award acknowledges a significant contribution at local community level

Selection panels will also give consideration to the following in assessing and comparing nominations against the above criteria:

  • Personal, academic and professional achievements
  • Contribution in the relevant field (how has the nominee ‘put back’ into their field to benefit others)
  • Demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity
  • Personal interests and community involvement
  • Contribution to development of regional community and/or economy
  • Future goals and likely impact
  • Degree of difficulty of the achievement and sacrifices made
  • Country of residence
  • Previous awards and recognition
  • Voluntary work beyond paid employment
  • Nature and length of activity or service
  • Achievements as an individual or as part of a group or organisation
  • Availability and commitment to promote national pride and active citizenship through the year of the recipient’s appointment

In ensuring that the Australian of the Year Awards recipients are representative of our diverse nation consideration may be given to:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Remote, regional, city locations (particularly in relation to the Local Hero Award)
  • Ethnicity
  • Field of endeavour

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Nominees must be Australian citizens
  • Awards will not be granted posthumously
  • Self nominations will not be accepted
  • Nominees must be at least 16 years of age on 26 January of the Awards year.
  • Sitting state and federal politicians and current vice-regal officers are not eligible
  • Retired politicians and vice-regal officers will be considered for work undertaken in addition to their official duties
  • At the national level a person cannot receive a second award in the same award category, but can be considered for recognition in a separate category in following years, for example Young Australian of the Year and then Australian of the Year
  • Unsuccessful nominees may be re-nominated in subsequent years
  • Individuals can be nominated in only one state or territory, for example a person who has recently moved interstate will be eligible for consideration in only one location. Selection panels may choose to contact the nominee for them to determine which jurisdiction is most appropriate
  • Groups of people or couples will not normally be eligible though in exceptional cases the selection panels reserve the right to consider such nominations
  • Current members of the NADC Board and state based Australia Day Board are not eligible
  • Absolutely NO weight is given to the number of times a person is nominated

Category Eligibility

  • All nominees will be considered for the Australian of the Year Award
  • Nominees aged 16 to 30 years will also be considered for the Young Australian of the Year Award
  • Nominees aged 65 years and over will also be considered for the Senior Australian of the Year Award
  • All nominees will be considered for Australia’s Local Hero Award
  • Ages are as at 26 January of the Awards year.
June – July
The National Australia Day Council calls on all individuals, groups and organisations to nominate an Australian who makes them proud for the Australian of the Year Awards.
Following your nomination, you will be sent confirmation that it was received, together with a reference number for future correspondence. It is important you provide us with current and correct details to ensure we can keep you up to date throughout the year with how your nomination is progressing.
September – October
Once the nomination period closes, all the nominations are sorted into and delivered to their relevant state/territory. An expert selection panel in each state and territory will select four nominees in the four award categories. One hundred and twenty eight Australians (16 in each state/territory) will be acknowledged for their contribution to our nation.
You will be notified by email if the person you put forward is successful in becoming a state or territory nominee.
State and territory award recipients are announced at ceremonies in each capital city. These 32 award recipients proceed to the national level of judging.
The National Australia Day Council Board selects the national award recipients in each of the four award categories.
January 25
The Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia’s Local Hero will be announced to the nation from Canberra on the eve of Australia Day.