Rosie Batty, a 'remarkable victim', named 2015 Australian of the Year

Rosie Batty as 2015 Australian of the Year at the Australian of the Year Awards at Parliament House forecourt in Canberra, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. (AAP Image/Wayne King) NO ARCHIVING

One year ago, Rosie Batty could not have imagined she'd be where she is.

Women take all in historic Australian of the Year Awards

The Victorian mother started 2014 with her 11-year-old son Luke. 

But on February 12, Luke was publicly murdered during training at a Melbourne cricket ground by his father.

Labelled the most "remarkable victim" Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Ken Ley had ever met, Ms Batty began speaking out about domestic violence in the wake of Luke's death.

She wants an overhaul of both the system and our attitudes.


Ms Batty's ability to channel her grief into campaigning to stop domestic violence is the reason she's 2015 Australian of the Year.

"Being a mother was the most fulfilling role I've ever had in my life," she said.

Ms Batty dedicated the award to her son at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

"To Luke, you did not die in vain, you will not be forgotten, you are beside me on this journey and with me every step of the way," she said.

"He is the reason I have found my voice, and I am able to be heard.

"Family violence may happen behind closed doors but it needs to be brought out from these shadows and into broad daylight."

Former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce praised Ms Batty's courage and strength in a video message following the announcement.

"We own an enormous debt of gratitude to Rose for using her voice," she said.

At the time of Luke's death, his father, Greg Anderson, was subject to two intervention orders. He was shot dead by police.

Ms Batty doesn't blame the police for what happened to Luke, but the culture around domestic violence.

"We need to look at cultural change, where does violence come from?" she asked.

"You need to look in you own backyard."

Ms Batty spoke publicly of her grief just 24-hours after Luke's murder and soon after established the Luke Batty Foundation to help others in her situation.

She says it was tapping into her ability to stand up for herself and for what is wrong that enabled her to speak out so soon.

"I'm a normal, everyday person of course," she said.

"There's a lot of women speaking out and they're not being heard.

"Because of Luke's death, I was heard." 

Ms Batty promises to spend her time as Australian of the Year building on the work she's already started.

"The last couple of years have gone from being extremely stressful, to being the worst time of my life and through that, to experiencing amazing opportunities," Ms Batty said.

"I'll keep pushing and do a lot more." 

It's not just the memory of Luke that keeps her going. 

"It's also the Australian people, I know that sounds corny," she said.

"But every day someone says to me, `I admire you, I enjoy hearing what you say'.

"I've never had that said to me before and it's given me a huge degree of confidence and a purpose and a meaning."

Ms Batty plans to use her Australian of the Year title to continue pushing the message: "everybody needs to change," - encouraging people to take ownership of their own actions.

"Everyone needs to recognise that as a parent you bring up little children into this world and as a parent you influence how they become as adults," she said.

"We can seek to be better people or we can give in to the worst of ourselves."

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch