It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim on being named the 2017 Australian of the Year.
Professor Mackay-Sim is one of the great biomedical scientists of the world, a true pioneer.
He is a global leader in stem cell research and the contribution he has made to research on spinal cord injury in particular is almost without peer.
His work helped restore mobility in a quadriplegic patient for the very first time.
His research has already impacted the lives of many people around the world - but the true fruits of Professor Mackay-Sim’s work will be in the years to come as his work evolves into clinical practice.
A humble man, Professor Mackay-Sim is an incredibly worthy recipient of this prestigious award. He has brought honour to our country and it is fitting that our country honours him.
Tonight we also congratulate Sister Anne Gardiner AM for being named 2017 Senior Australian of the Year, Paul Vasileff for being named 2017 Young Australian of the Year, Vicki Jellie for being named Australia's Local Hero 2017.
In their endeavours, each and every one of these fine men and women have made Australia a better place. The roll-call of their achievements is profound, their recognition is richly deserved.
We also thank David Morrison AO for his service as the 2016 Australian of the Year.
For Professor Mackay-Sim, Sister Gardiner AM, Mr Vasileff and Ms Jellie, it is an honour to congratulate them on their remarkable achievements and their awards tonight.
We are all proud to call these remarkable people, our fellow Australians.
WEDNESDAY, 25 JANUARY 2017