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The Council of Australian Humanist Societies is pleased to announce that Dr Leslie Cannold, writer, commentator, ethicist and researcher, is the 2011 Australian Humanist of the Year (AHOY). This award has been bestowed on Leslie in recognition of her valuable contribution to public debates on a wide range of ethical issues, particularly to do with women and family life. She is an outstanding secular voice in Australian public life. Her public contributions, whether in daily newspapers or on radio and TV, are always considered and well informed.

 The award of Australian Humanist of the Year has been made annually since 1983, when its first recipient was the late Lionel Murphy. In the intervening years the AHOY award has gone to such well known Australians as Fred Hollows, Tim Flannery, Phillip Adams, Eva Cox, Donald Horne, Henry Reynolds, Inga Clendinnen, Peter Cundall and Peter Singer.

 In selecting Leslie Cannold for this year’s award, Humanists are expressing their admiration for Leslie’s forthright views on such controversial issues as advocacy of abortion rights for women, family planning and access to assisted reproductive technologies.

 As a public intellectual, Leslie makes many appearances on radio, TV and public forums, along with writing numerous columns for daily papers across Australia.

 In 2005 her book What, No Baby was listed among the Australian Financial Review’s top 101 books and she was selected as one of Australia’s top 20 intellectuals. Other books include The Abortion Myth and a soon to be released novel, The Book of Rachael. She is also one of the contributors to the well reviewed 2010 publication, The Australian Book of Atheism.

 Leslie’s wide experience as a bioethicist is demonstrated by her being a member of the ethics panels of the Infertility Treatment Authority, the Victorian Physiotherapy Board and the Human Research and Ethics Committee of the Victorian Department of Human Services.

 Leslie is an adjunct Fellow at the School of Philosophy, Anthropology, & Social Inquiry at the University of Melbourne and senior lecturer at the Monash Institute of Health Services Research. She is President of Reproductive Choice Australia, a national coalition of pro-choice organisations that played a key role in removing the ban on the abortion drug RU486 in 2006, and of Pro Choice Victoria, which was instrumental in the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria in 2008. She is also a Dying with Dignity ambassador for law reform.

 Humanists are pleased to honour the valuable humanistic work of this outstanding Australian. Leslie will be presented with her AHOY award at a dinner on Saturday 30 April, at The Tudor, Whitehorse Road, Box Hill. This dinner is part of the annual national Humanist Convention, Friday 29 April – Sunday 1 May. For further details of weekend activities and bookings see: Humanist Society of Victoria website www.victorianhumanist.com/

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