Established in 1987, the Human Rights Awards, including the Human Rights Medal, are awarded annually by the Australian Human Rights Commission (formerly known as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission).
The Human Rights Medal is awarded to an individual for 'outstanding contribution to human rights in Australia'. Other awards are given for contributions in other fields, such as radio, television, and community (both individual and organisation).
In 2008, the Young People’s Human Rights Medal was awarded for the first time.
'Alec Kruger was stolen as a child from his family and his country. From this early time he knew the cold and harsh reality of institutions and not the caressing love of his mother or the warmth of other close relations. Still young, he was taken again – to the cattle stations of Central Australia where, even as a boy, he was expected to display all the independence and ingenuity of someone much older.'
'In isolation. Alec faced possible death, till the arrival of Old People from country who saved him, taught him and made him culturally strong.'
'Alec Kruger spent years droving and roaming throughout the Territory and Queensland, forever seeking his place in the world. He found a sense of belonging and somewhere to call home through having his own family and with the emergence and leadership of groups such as the Central Australian Stolen Generations and Families Aboriginal Corporation in the struggle of recognition, reconciliation and recompense.'
'Alone on the Soaks enhances our understanding of the diverse journeys of Australia’s stolen generations by offering readers intimate stories told in an original and valuable voice.' (Source: publishers blurb)
'Archie Roach was about three years old when he was taken from his family. He talks about the value of 'joining the circle' - his metaphor for the recovery that can be achieved by those who have been separated from their families, as they link up again. We meet Jean in Cootamundra who was taken with her four siblings from La Perouse while her mother begged for more time with her children. When Sam Murray was taken as a young boy he was too young to remember his name. Alec Kruger tells stories of the institution he was sent to as a child. His only escape was to join the army.
We meet Archie's partner, Ruby Hunter, also a musician. She returns to her childhood home for the first time and tells the story of how her brothers and sisters were in the care of her grandmother. One day they were offered a trip to the circus by a couple of government officials. Ruby recounts how they were so excited, all dressed up in their Sunday best, expecting to return home to nanna full of wonderful stories. They never returned. Nanna never saw them again and was never told where they went. On her death bed she still cried for her little ones.' (Source: Ronin Films website www.roninfilms.com.au)Television Category
In Perth, Western Australia, the Coolbaroo Club operated for 14 years (1946-1960) as a meeting place and a community focus for the local Aboriginal community. The Club was the only Aboriginal-run dance club in a city which practised unofficial apartheid. Continually harrassed by police with enforced fraternisation bans and curfews placed on them, the Indigenous population was also required to carry identity cards and deal with bureaucratic obstruction. During its lifetime, the Club attracted black musicians and celebrities from all over Australia and occasionally from overseas, among them Nat 'King' Cole, Harold Blair, and the Harlem Globetrotters.
'Inside Black Australia', is the first anthology of Aboriginal poetry to be published, it contains 150 poems by more than 40 Aboriginal writers and poets.
'The spirited story of the Millimurra family’s stand against government ‘protection’ policies in 1930s Australia.' (From the publisher's website.)
'In 1982, Sally Morgan travelled back to her grandmother's birthplace. What started as a tentative search for information about her family, turned into an overwhelming emotional and spiritual pilgrimage. My Place is a moving account of a search for truth into which a whole family is gradually drawn, finally freeing the tongues of the author's mother and grandmother, allowing them to tell their own stories.' Source: Publisher's blurb.