Virginia Haussegger, a former ABC newsreader and constant advocate for women’s rights has been named the ACT Australian of the Year.
ACT Australians of the Year
- ACT Australian of the Year: Virginia Haussegger
- ACT Young Australian of the Year: Hannah Wandel
- ACT Senior Australian of the Year: Sue Packer
- ACT Local Hero: David Williams
Across the Australian of the Year Awards’ four categories, Canberrans striving for a more equitable Australia were recognised, with recipients advocating respectively for the rights of women, children, people with a disability, and girls in the bush.
Australian of the Year organisers said Ms Haussegger, who was selected from an entirely female field of nominees, was a leading advocate for women’s rights and gender equality.
Ms Haussegger presented the 7:00pm news bulletin on ABC TV from 2001 until 2016, when she became director of the 5050 by 2030 Foundation at the University of Canberra, which pushes for gender parity in leadership roles across Australia.
Before working at the ABC, Ms Haussegger worked as a reporter for A Current Affair, The 7:30 Report, and Channel 7.
Dr Sue Packer’s work with children earned her the 2018 ACT Senior Australian of the Year. (Supplied: ACT Government)
Joining her at the national awards in January will be ACT Senior Australian of the Year Dr Sue Packer, ACT Young Australian of the Year Hannah Wandel and ACT Local Hero David Williams.
Dr Packer’s decades of work to protect and enhance the rights of children began in 1972 when she became a paediatrician, and continued in 1990 when she began working with the child-at-risk health unit, caring for vulnerable children.
Her work has included caring for abused children and babies, and she was named Canberra Citizen of the Year in 2013.
National awards announced in January
National Australia Day Council chief executive Karlie Brand said the ACT nominees were “inspiring”.
“The award recipients are using their skills and experience to make a real difference in the community,” she said.
Ms Wandel, ACT Young Australian of the Year, was recognised for efforts to empower young women in rural and regional Australia.
This year alone she has travelled to 80 communities and spoken to thousands of young women about gender equality and leadership.
The ACT Local Hero award was presented to David Williams, who founded Confident Speakers, which teaches people with intellectual disabilities communication and speaking skills.
The ACT representatives will attend the Australian of the Year awards in January, when the national recipients will be announced.