Redland City Mayor Karen Williams today congratulated two local residents, Aunty Joan Hendriks and Paul Stanley, for their finalist nominations in the 2013 Queensland Australian of the Year Awards.
Councillor Williams said Aunty Joan and Paul Stanley were outstanding individuals who had contributed much to the Redlands, Queensland and Australia.
“The Australian of the Year Awards recognise the exceptional commitment of Australians who go to extraordinary lengths to protect our precious Australian way of life,” she said.
“Both Redlands residents are in the running for the Queensland Senior Australian of the Year and are among nine finalists from 427 nominations.
“Aunty Joan is an inspirational community leader and passionate advocate for reconciliation through cultural understanding and education. She is an Elder in the Murri Court at Cleveland, a Doctor of the Australian Catholic University, and for the past 30 years has been a leader in Aboriginal education. She has also been involved in native title recognition on Stradbroke Island.
“Paul is a passionate anti-violence campaigner who inspires our younger community members and raises awareness of the dangers of youth violence. He is responsible for the incredible work of the Party Safe initiative and One Punch Can Kill campaign.
“On behalf of the Redlands, I thank Aunty Joan and Paul for the incredible contribution they have made to our community and I encourage Redlands residents to put their full support behind their activities.
“I wish both Aunty Joan and Paul all the best with the Queensland award announcement on 15 November.”
The Australian of the Year Awards is a National Australia Day Council program. For more information visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au
Aunty Joan Hendriks – Reconciliation advocate
Aunty Joan Hendriks, a descendant of the Ngugi people of Moreton Bay Queensland, is an inspiring community leader, an outstanding adult educator and passionate advocate for reconciliation achieved through the understanding of cultural differences. She believes sharing cultures, spiritualities and ways of living with the land can be the stepping stones to a united Australia where justice and equity prevails. Since the 1980s she has worked in Aboriginal education in primary and secondary schools, local church and community organisations, in government and internationally at the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Forum. A former student at Brisbane’s Lourdes Hill College where she is now honoured as Elder in Residence, Aunty Joan was awarded the Australian Catholic University’s highest honour, Doctor of the University in 2012. She is also an Elder in the Murri Court at Cleveland where her wisdom and experience contributes to a greater cultural understanding. A consistent advocate for the rights of Indigenous people, Aunty Joan was actively involved in the campaign which saw traditional owners win native title recognition over their lands on North Stradbroke Island.
Paul Stanley – Anti-violence campaigner
In 2006 Paul Stanley’s son Matthew was a popular 15-year-old when he was killed by a single
punch at a party in the Redlands. Despite their terrible grief, Paul and his wife Kay established the
Matthew Stanley Foundation to make young people aware of the dangers of youth violence and
equipping them to deal with it. The Foundation works with the police and ambulance services,
schools, churches and community groups to spread the message about violence which include
the Party Safe initiative and the One Punch Can Kill campaign. Police cars and ambulances now
carry the stickers urging young people in potentially violent situations to Walk Away Chill Out. In
the years since Matthew’s death Paul has spoken to thousands of students using his own tragic
loss to emphasise that bad things can happen to good people and that one punch can kill. He also
mentors young leaders and has released a documentary telling Matthew’s story called One Punch
Did Kill. Paul’s philosophy is if one life is saved it is all worthwhile.