• Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes training with his team at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) (AAP)Source: AAP
AFL legend Adam Goodes and mental health expert Professor Pat Dudgeon have been named as finalists for the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal for 2015.
By
Karina Marlow

Source:
Australian Human Rights Commission
9 Dec 2015 - 1:20 PM  UPDATED 9 Dec 2015 - 4:32 PM

The winner of the award will be announced at a ceremony at Sydney's Westin Hotel on Thursday with the two Indigenous human rights advocates amoung five finalists in the running. 

Mr Goodes has been nominated to receive the Human Rights Medal for his long-term advocacy against racism in sport.

This year has seen Mr Goodes come under harsh attack online and on the footy field, with mounting racism against the star at AFL matches.

After retiring from professional football in September following the 'booing' saga it was announced that he would begin a new job as David Jones' brand ambassador

Mr Goodes was named the 2014 Australian of the Year and used this honour as an opportunity to spread awareness about racism as a 'community issue' which can be changed by the choices and comments of individuals.

A history of social good: Goodes

Mr Goodes has also been extensively involved in community programs. Along with his cousin and fellow Indigenous teammate Michael O’Loughlin, Mr Goodes established the Goodes-O’Loughlin Foundation (now the GO Foundation) in 2009, which finances health and education programs in regional communities with high Indigenous populations.

He is also an ambassador for Recognise and was involved in the ‘Racism: It Stops with Me’ campaign launched in 2012 which sought to raise community awareness about the problem of racism and give Australians tools to combat it.

Adam is a proud Indigenous man with the courage to speak out and actively strive towards building a better place for all Australians.

Tireless mental health campaigner: Dudgeon

As a long time campaigner in the area of Indigenous mental health, Professor Pat Dudgeon has also been named a finalist for her human rights work.

She is a Bardi woman from the Kimberley in Western Australia and was the first Aboriginal psychologist to graduate in the country.

Currently working as a professor at the University of Western Australia, her research aims to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians. She was one of the first Mental Health Commissioners in Australia and is the project leader of the National Empowerment Project, an Indigenous suicide prevention project working with 11 Aboriginal communities across the country.

Related Reading:
We want to deal with mental health issues: Prof Pat Dudgeon
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples want to address the stigma associated with mental health concerns and deal with the complicated range of suicide-related issues currently facing Indigenous populations, a mental health expert says.

The Human Rights Awards have been run by the Australian Human Rights Comission since 1987 and seek to recognise the acheivements of individual Australians and businesses in promoting human rights. 

In 2015, a record number of 329 nominations were received across the seven categories.  

Justice King, a young Aboriginal woman from Mount Isa has been nominated for the Youth Medal for speaking out about youth mental health issues.

The Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), the Australian Rugby League Commission, Coles supermarkets and the Northern Land Council have also been nominated for their human rights work with Indigenous Australians in their respective fields.