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Indigenous leader, Professor Mick Dodson AM, has been named Australian of the Year 2009. He was presented with the prestigious award by Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, at a ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra. Mr Rudd described Mick Dodson as being ‘a courageous fighter for reconciliation and for closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians'.
Mick Dodson, a Yawuru man from the Broome area of Western Australia and a law Professor at the Australian National University has a made a career campaigning for Indigenous rights. He has held many roles at community level, with governments, the United Nations and academia. He is Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia, a representative for the Pacific region at the United Nations Indigenous peoples forum and Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies. He is currently working with the Federal government on a new national Indigenous representative body.
Mick Dodson is the eighth Aboriginal person to receive the award, the last being Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman in 1998. He won the award ahead of seven other finalists including two other Indigenous Australians, blind singer-song writer Geoffrey Yunupingu and activist Ivan Copely.