Australian Humanists, meeting in national convention in Sydney, presented the Australian Humanist of the Year 2008 Award to Senator Lyn Allison.
‘In recognition of a vigorous and effective campaigner on public education, the environment, uranium mining and women’s issues initiating significant reform. Her commitment to the democratic process and her constant emphasis on the secular character of our society show her to be an exemplary individual and a true Humanist.’
Senator Allison, in her reply expressed her appreciation at receiving the award, and spoke about her aims and achievements during her twelve years in the Senate and the many reforms still required. She described her role in defending the democratic rights of Parliamentarians which she intends to pursue vigorously until her retirement in July.
Senator Allison, a declared and vocal non-religious secularist, was a speaker at the ‘Separating church and state: keeping god out of government ‘ conference held in Melbourne in June 2006. In 2007, she was a speaker at a symposium on religion in Australian foreign policy which was supported by the Humanist Society of Victoria.
An ex-teacher she supports the public school system and has opposed religious instruction in schools and the Howard government’s funding of school chaplains. She initiated inquiries into uranium mining which influenced the decision not to proceed with the Jabiluka mine.
She initiated the debate on RU-486 and with three other women sponsored the cross-party bill, which removed the Health Minister’s veto on RU 486.
(From Australian Humanist Winter 2008 Editorial which contains a much fuller account)
Senator Allison has agreed to speak at a public protest rally under name ‘Youth against World Youth Day’ in Melbourne on the steps of Parliament House on Sunday July 13 organised by Melbourne tertiary student groups. World Youth Day and the Pope’s visit which is to be heavily subsidised by our government is inconsistent with the ideal of the secular state.
As Australian Humanist of the Year 2008, Senator Allison follows Dr Inga Clendinnen the distinguished historian and essayist awarded Australian Humanist of the Year 2007. Lyn Allison joins the ranks of a number of distinguished former Australian Humanists of the Year including: The late Professor Fred Hollows, Dr Tim Flannery, the late Donald Horne, Eva Cox, Philip Adams, Alan Trounson and the late Justice Lionel Murphy.