Web Site Was Right, Ida Buttrose is 2013 Australian of the Year

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By Vittorio Hernandez | January 29, 2013 8:58 AM EST

A video blooper by Life Education Australia turned out to be prophetic. A mistake two weeks ago that named magazine icon and health advocate Ita Buttrose as the 2013 Australian of the Year in its Web Site turned out to be correct after all.

On Sunday, in celebration of Australia Day, Prime Minister Julia Gillard bestowed the Australian of the Year award to the 71-year-old journalist for her work in battling dementia.

Ms Buttrose said with her award, she intends to use her growing influence to ensure new rules of courtesy so that elder Australians would be given more courtesies such as not being shouted at since they are not necessarily deaf, only frail.

Among the other things regarding senior care that she wants to address are the forced bringing of elderly people living in care homes to dining halls at 5:30 p.m. even if they don't feel like eating and being given set menus which they have to eat whether they like it or not.

Ms Buttrose's foray into health care for seniors was the result of her caring for her ageing father who suffered from vascular dementia. She is the current president of Alzheimer's Australia.

As a journalist, Ms Buttrose also broke the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman editor of any Australian newspaper at The Daily Telegraph.

Among the nominees that Mr Buttrose beat for the award are businessmen and philanthropists Kerry Stokes and Harold Mitchell, an adventure teacher from Tasmania, a cyber safety campaigner from South Australia, a cancer researcher, a social justice campaigners and a pair who advocates indigenous musical talent.

The first awarded was virologist Sir Macfarlane Burnet in 1960. However, some subsequent awardees such as Alan Bond and Lionel Rose have given the award a bad name because they eventually were convicted and jailed for various offences.

Named Senior Australian of the Year was Professor Ian Maddocks, the 2013 Local Hero Indigenous leader Shane Phillips and Young Australian of the Year was Akram Azimi.

Mr Azimi was a refugee from Afghanistan who is a student of law, science and arts at the University of Western Australia (UWA). He arrived in Australia 13 years ago and is part of social justice initiatives at UWA. Among his projects is working with True Blue Dreaming to mentor young indigenous people for the Kimberley region of WA.

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