Murdoch ambassador is finalist in Australian of the Year awards

January 25, 2015

Murdoch science ambassador Professor Lyn Beazley was one of eight national finalists for the Australian of the Year award.

While unsuccessful for the main award, the former Chief Scientist of Western Australia said she was happy to even be in the running for the prestigious Australian of the Year honour, which was won by Rosie Batty for her poignant campaign against family violence after the death of her 11-year-old son Luke.

Speaking after the ceremony, Professor Beazley said her time in Canberra as a nominee had been an “extraordinary experience” and that all the finalists were very happy for Ms Batty.

“Rosie Batty is going to do a brilliant job as Australian of the Year. She was obviously delighted by the award but she has lost so much – it’s an honour that is tinged with sadness for her. To find the strength to campaign against family violence in the way that she has is staggering.

“I was delighted to meet the other finalists from all across Australia and I’ve made plans to collaborate on various projects with many of them. I hope to do some school visits with Drisana Levitzke-Gray, the Young Australian of the Year from WA, very soon.

“I also had the opportunity to speak to the Prime Minister about medical research in Western Australia and his personal support for charities like the Make A Wish Foundation. I also discussed various ideas which I hope will come to fruition with Senator Michaelia Cash, who is the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for women.

“When I return to Perth, I will be spending the rest of the week following up with everyone I’ve met!”

Professor Beazley was named WA Australian of the Year 2015 in November and lined up with five other female finalists at the awards ceremony in Canberra on Sunday.

Professor Beazley was honoured for her 30 year career in neuroscience, researching recovery from brain damage and changing clinical practice in the treatment of infants at risk of pre-term delivery.

In 2006, Professor Beazley was appointed the Chief Scientist of Western Australia, advising the state government on science, innovation and technology for seven years and traveling across the state to establish, oversee and provide leadership on projects.

Her many achievements have included establishing the citizen science project Dolphin Watch (which was developed in part by Murdoch University scientists)  for the Swan Canning Riverpark, setting up a nationwide ‘hotline’ for laboratory technicians in schools and being involved in the negotiations for the Square Kilometre Array, the radio telescope project that is arguably the world's largest science endeavour.

The WA Australian of the Year honour is another in a long list of accolades for Professor Beazley, who was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2009 for services to medical science and her contribution to the development of science policy in Western Australia.

Professor Beazley was appointed the Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Professor of Science by Murdoch University in July 2014.

This ambassador role involves promoting Murdoch’s initiatives and achievements to the community, government and industry.

She also provides support and advice on the development of relationships to improve industry links and in relation to government funding.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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