The Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award
The Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award recognises an outstanding Western Australian who has shown exceptional leadership and commitment in the field of social justice, human rights, equality and anti-racism.
It is named after the late Sir Ronald Wilson, a notable public servant, lawyer, judge and social activist, committed to making a difference to marginalised community groups, in particular Indigenous people.
One of his greatest achievements was presiding over the inquiry that led to his co-authoring of the report, Bringing Them Home. Through his appointment as President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, he reflected his steadfast compassion and commitment to social justice.
Recipients of the Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award are selected by a panel of respected community leaders who are knowledgeable in their respective fields of endeavour.
In 2011, the award was presented as part of the Celebrate WA Awards. No award was presented in 2012.
Professor Samina Yasmeen
2011 Professor Samina Yasmeen
Samina Yasmeen is a Professor in the School of Social and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia and Director of the Centre for Muslim States and Societies.
She migrated to Australia in 1977 from Pakistan and has since achieved a distinguished record of academic achievement in the fields of human rights, Muslim minority affairs and foreign policy in the Indian Ocean region.
She has edited three books and published 67 academic publications and has implemented a string of innovations to the teaching of international relations and the influences of Islam on world politics.
Samina is highly respected and renowned in government and academic circles for her ontributions to research on Muslims in Australia since the early 1990s. Her passion has been to educate and inform the community, raise the level of understanding and build trust, tolerance, confidence, safety, respect and security for all.
To achieve this, Samina shares her knowledge with communities, students, government, the Western Australia Police, the Australian Defence Force, the media and community at large. Her achievements have brought her widespread international recognition, with speaking invitations that have included the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, Sciences Po in Paris and the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
Ms Yvonne Henderson
2010 Yvonne Henderson
Yvonne Henderson commenced her career as a teacher, but after becoming increasingly active in the State School Teachers' Union, as well as other community groups, she changed her career direction.
Her passion to make a change saw her represent Gosnells and Thornlie in State Parliament. Yvonne held the position of Minister for five years with portfolios including industrial relations, consumer affairs plus housing and construction. After retiring from Parliament Yvonne went on to practise law for five years.
Throughout this period she continued her commitment to low-income and other disadvantaged community members by providing pro bono advice at the Sussex Street Community Law Society.
As Commissioner for Equal Opportunity Yvonne is passionate to ensure that the Western Australian Act works effectively in practice, promoting equal opportunity and eliminating discriminatory practices.
Ms Mary Anne Kenny
2009 Mary Anne Kenny
Mary Anne Kenny graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1992. She worked for Legal Aid in WA before completing a Masters degree in International Law in the United States.
In 1997 Ms Kenny was a founding member of Murdoch University's clinical legal education program, Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service (SCALES) - (a community legal centre that provides free legal advice, information and representation to low income earners in Kwinana and Rockingham as well as a statewide service in the area of immigration). The program was the first of its kind in WA and involved law students working with clients in a community setting in order to provide real life experience and an opportunity to work on issues of social justice. Mary Anne Kenny became the director of SCALES in 2000. In 2002 SCALES was awarded the national human rights award in law from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
In 2002 Kenny was a principal founder of the Centre for Advocacy Support and Education for Refugees (CASE for Refugees), currently the only community legal centre in Western Australia providing specialist legal assistance to refugees.
Mary Anne has devoted substantial volunteer time to social justice issues, working with refugee and migrant communities in particular. She has been a board member of Amnesty International Australia and served on the management committee of several not-for-profit organisations, including ASeTTS, Youth Legal Service and Rockingham Women's Health Service. Kenny also worked on a human rights violation documentation project with East Timorese refugees in conjunction with the International Commission for Jurists. She is currently working on a project to provide assistance to African women in relation to the Australian citizenship test. She also continues to do volunteer legal immigration casework with SCALES.
In 2006 Ms Kenny was appointed to the Law Reform Commission of WA as the first female academic commissioner, and was elected Commission Chair in October 2008. She has since been involved in significant law reform projects such as Aboriginal customary law and reforms to the law of homicide.
Kenny has researched and published extensively in the area of refugee law, with a focus on women and children. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford and the University of California, Hastings. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Law at Murdoch University and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University of Technology.
Hon Fred Chaney AO
2008 Hon Fred Chaney AO
The Hon Fred Chaney AO was born in Perth in 1941. He practised law in New Guinea and Western Australia, including time in-house with the Hancock-Wright prospecting partnership, and subsequent private practice with emphasis on mining-related work, until he entered the Senate in 1974. Mr Chaney's first involvement in Indigenous affairs began when he joined the Aboriginal Legal Service in a voluntary capacity in the early 1970s, and he went on to spend more than 30 years working to advance the rights of Indigenous people.
Mr Chaney was in the Senate until 1990 and is best known for his role as Leader of the Opposition from 1983 to 1990. During that time, he managed a number of ministerial portfolios, including Aboriginal Affairs.
After leaving Parliament he undertook research into Aboriginal Affairs policy and administration as a Research Fellow with the Graduate School of Management at the University of Western Australia from 1993 to April 1995.
In 1994 he was appointed as a part-time Member of the National Native Title Tribunal, a full-time Member in April 1995 and a Deputy President in April 2000. In February 1995 he was appointed Chancellor of Murdoch University. In January 1997 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.
In 2007 he led the community consultation process concerning the proposed Human Rights Act.
Mr Chaney is the inaugural winner of the Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award for his sustained public impact on improving the living conditions of Indigenous people and his work over a considerable period in advancing the rights of Indigenous people and promoting Indigenous reconciliation and Native Title.