Rosie Batty has been made Australian of the Year for her work on family violence, a significant issue for both Australia and PNG. Some Australians with connections to PNG were also acknowledged in the Australia Day Honours List this year.

The Australia Day Honours for 2015 were announced over the weekend. Rosie Batty was named Australian of the Year for the work she has done campaigning to stop domestic violence. Rosie lost her 11-year-old son Luke when he was murdered by his father in February of 2014. She has channelled her grief into her work to end family violence, which she called an epidemic that exists in every pocket of every neighbourhood in Australia in her acceptance speech. Family violence is also a serious issue in PNG, where women cope with some of the highest levels of domestic violence in the world. It’s extremely valuable that this issue is getting the attention it deserves. Rosie’s appointment as Australian of the Year will ensure it continues to be in the spotlight for the rest of the year. Rosie’s leadership and advocacy is a source of inspiration for all Australians and Papua New Guineans dealing with this terrible problem.

There were also a number of Australians who were recognised in the Australia Day 2015 Honours List who have connections with PNG. Professor Brendan Crabb, the CEO and Director of the Burnet Institute of Medical Research and Public Health, was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to medical science for his work on infectious diseases. Brendan has very strong personal and professional connections with PNG and the Pacific. He grew up in Port Moresby and has worked extensively in the region as a public health expert in malaria. He says in this interview with Pacific Beat that having spent his formative years in PNG he feels as though the Pacific is home to him.

Adjunct Professor Daniel George Wood was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the mining and resource industry, particularly mineral exploration, through contributions as a geologist, academic and in executive roles. Daniel worked in PNG in his time with BHP and has been a Non-Executive Director of PNG company Highlands Pacific Group since 2010. Christopher Gavin Viner-Smith was recognised for his service to community history, particularly through securing recognition for Patrol Officers in pre-independence Papua New Guinea, with a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division.

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