Australian Humanist Awards
About the awards
Secular Humanists believe that a human life has meaning only when people create and develop their own futures. In this work the tools are human reason, as informed by science and education, and the innate human capacity for compassion and empathy.
For Humanists, neither faith nor passion are sufficient in themselves. Both have to be guided in the end by knowledge and by the use of reason. Most Humanists consider that reason, creativity and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses.
In 1983 the Humanist movement in Australia initiated the practice of selecting each year an Australian who had demonstrated outstanding qualities of the type needed to advance mankind: this person is given the award of Australian Humanist of the Year. An occasional award is made to a Humanist Society member for outstanding contributions to the Humanist movement or to furthering the ideals of Humanism: this person is given the award of Outstanding Humanist Achiever. The selections are made by the State Humanist Societies meeting at the annual Convention of the Council of Australian Humanist Societies.
The following distinguished Australians have been
Australian Humanists of the Year
The following have been
Outstanding Humanist Achievers
Details of Australian Humanists of the Year
1983 : MURPHY, Hon. Mr Justice Lionel Keith, 1922-86
Humanist, Justice of the High Court, politician, born Sydney, NSW. Honours graduate in science. He was an industrial chemist, completed a law degree course as an evening student. Admitted to the NSW bar in 1947; became a QC in 1960. Senator (ALP) 1962-75. Attorney-General and Senate leader in the Whitlam Government and responsible for reform of divorce law, trade practices, legal aid and racial discrimination legislation. Resigned from the Senate 1975 to become High Court Judge. Noted for his unorthodox and sometimes controversial judgments which reflected his enlightened zeal and concern for human rights.
1984 : NOFFS, Rev. Theodore Delwin (Ted), 1926-95
Individualistic theologian, social reformer, born Mudgee, NSW. Ordained minister of the Methodist Church, began ministry in 1950 covering a vast area of the outback. Studied theology in the USA and ministered in a Chicago church at the same time. Returned to Australia, disenchanted with the orthodoxy, and founded in 1974 the Wayside Chapel, Kings Cross, Sydney. During the 1970s established Australia’s first Life Education Centre, which has been copied around the world, as well as a rehabilitation program for young drug addicts. Established programs for the aged, lonely, migrants and Aborigines. He encouraged radical action in social ethics and believed that “all religious, political problems must be given a human face”. Did not join the Humanists, but claimed to be a “non-believer in the Bible”.
1985 : LEVY, Hon. Judith Anne Winstanley, MLC, 1934-
Humanist, politician, born Perth, WA. Since 1975, Member of Legislative Council, South Australia (ALP). In 1986 became first woman to be elected as president of any Australian legislature. Minister since 1989. Patron and member of Humanist Society of SA since 1960. Committee member of the Council for Civil Liberties, 1973; Family Planning Association, 1971; Vice President of the Abortion Law Repeal Association of SA.
1986 : ZAKHAROV, Senator Alice Olive, 1929-95
Humanist, senator, teacher, born Melbourne, Victoria. Involved in education counselling and establishing human relations courses, including units on sex education. Labor Senator for Victoria, from 1983. She was a noted participant to the peace movement being a member of the Campaign for International Co-operation and Disarmament and the World Parliamentarians for Peace. She represented the Australian peace movement in 1988 as a witness to the first destruction of a nuclear missile in the USSR, and was an Australian delegate to the Vienna Peace Conference in 1987. A long-time crusader for women’s rights she was well known for her stand against domestic violence. She was a strong supporter of sexual anti-discrimination legislation and was well known as an advocate for the rights of homosexuals.
1987 : ADAMS, Phillip Andrew, 1939-
Humanist, iconoclast, author, columnist, broadcaster and film maker, born Maryborough, Victoria. Son of a Congregational Minister of Religion. Founder with Dick Smith and Mark Plummer of the Australian Skeptics, irreverent columnist for The Australian and the Bulletin. Frequently speaks and broadcasts on secular and Humanist topics. Books include Adams with Added Enzymes, The Unspeakable Adams, Uncensored Adams, Inflammable Adams, Adams versus God. Films include Jack and Jill: A Postscript, The Naked Bunyip, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, Don’s Party, The Getting of Wisdom. Member of the Australian Film Council, making grants to performing artists, painters, sculptors and writers. Active in Amnesty International. Fundraiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. A supporter of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. A director of Families in Distress Foundation. His accolades include two awards in the Order of Australia (AO and AM).
1988 : LOWE, Professor Ian, 1942-
Humanist, scientist, born Bowral, NSW. Director of Science Policy Research Centre since 1980 and Director of the Commission for the Future. Makes frequent appearances on radio and television to discuss issues related to the role of science and technology in modern society. Active in a range of environmental groups. A member of the Council of the Australian Consumers’ Association and Scientists against Nuclear Arms.
1989 : LLOYD, Victor Henry, 1921-2014
Humanist, teacher, lecturer, writer, born Brisbane, Queensland. Active with the Rationalist Society; became the first President of the subsequent organisation, the Humanist Society of Queensland. Co-ordinated the Society’s policies on Civil Marriage Celebrants, the Abortion Reform Movement, the Homosexual Law Reform Movement, the Vasectomy Information Service and the Sex Counselling Service. Led the Society’s opposition to Australia’s involvement in Vietnam and the South African Rugby Tour. In 1969, managed State campaign for the Defence of Government Schools (DOGS). A frequent Humanist spokesperson on radio and TV. Contributed the chapter on “Rationalism and Humanism” to the bicentennial project Many Faiths, One Nation, edited by Dr Ian Gillman.
1990 : EVANS, Senator the Hon. Gareth John, 1944-
Humanist, atheist, lawyer, politician, born Melbourne, Victoria. Senator (ALP) for Victoria 1978-96; MHR since 1996. Leader of the Government in the Senate 1993-96; Deputy Leader of the Opposition since 1996. Cabinet appointments have included Attorney-General 1983-94, Resources and Energy 1984-87, Transport and Communications 1987-88 and Foreign Affairs 1988-95. Commissioner Australian Law Reform Commission, 1975; Vice-President Victorian Council for Civil Liberties 1970-84. Became a QC in 1983. A commitment to Humanism and a generally non-religious view of the world stems from his experiences of Billy Graham’s 1958 first crusade in Australia. At the age of 14 became a committed and comprehensive sceptic, then agnostic, shortly to become defined as a lifelong atheist. This transfer was assisted by the influence of a school-teaching neighbour introducing him to the ideas of Humanism and the enlightenment from reading Bertrand Russell’s “Why I am not a Christian”.
1991 : HOLLOWS, Professor Frederick Cossom (Fred), 1929-93
Humanist, professor, ophthalmologist, anarcho-syndicalist, born Dunedin, New Zealand. The son of a solid, Christian railwayman, intended entering the church but found that sex, alcohol and secular goodness were pretty keen instruments and they surgically removed his Christianity, leaving no scar. Pioneered identification and treatment of blinding eye diseases amongst Australian Aboriginal people. Developed a three-year model prevention program to train local technicians to perform eye surgery in Eritrea, Nepal and Vietnam. His work was recognised in 1990 with the Australian Government award of Australian of the Year. Has been described as a very Australian hero: egalitarian, not remote, a bit of a larrikin, but a professional who put his energies into social concerns rather than the accumulation of wealth, who spoke in the vernacular and spared no-one, least of all himself, when things had to be done. Saved sight in three continents. His legacy was to save sight not for a day or a year, but to do so continuously through a vision of justice. Lived and died with these beliefs: “I am a Humanist. I don’t believe in any higher power than the best expressions of the human spirit, and those are to be found in personal and social relationships. Evaluating my life in those terms, I’ve had some mixed results. I’ve hurt some people and disappointed others, but I hope that on balance, I’ve given more than I’ve taken.”
1992 : HIRSHMAN, Dr John Hans, 1921-2006
Humanist, health services consultant, born Sydney, NSW. Has made a special study of public health and tropical medicine. Was City Medical Officer in Sydney before joining the World Health Organisation. Foundation and executive member of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. Was a driving force in the formation of the Humanist Society of NSW and CAHS. Has written numerous reports, papers and publications of great value to Humanist and humanitarian causes. Was prominent in setting up and administering the Australian Third World Health Group, a health professionals group working with organisations such as Oxfam.
1993 : WILLIAMS, Robyn, 1944-
Humanist, scientist, journalist, broadcaster, born High Wycombe, Bucks, England. Arrived Australia 1972 and became ABC producer of the Science Show 1975, then Ockham’s Razor and many other radio and TV documentaries. President of the Australia Museum Trust and Chairman of Committee for the Future. Publications include Best of the Science Show (1983) and Uncertainty Principle (1989). Awarded United Nations Association’s Media Peace Prize (5 times), Order of Australia (AM) 1988, Australia Skeptics Journalist of the Year 1989.
1994 (Joint Award)
BAXENDELL, Margaret Dorothy, 1922-
Rationalist, Humanist, born Brisbane, Queensland. Was once a Congregationalist Sunday School teacher where she met “Tup” Baxendell. Member of Queensland Rationalist Society 1955 and secretary in 1968 when the Rationalist Society became the Humanist Society of Queensland. Foundation member of Abortion Law Reform Association which later became Children by Choice. Was a member of Save Our Sons, a group opposing conscription for the Vietnam War. As part of her community service, is secretary for a number of local organisations, including Australians for a Sustainable Population; Union of Australian Women; and the May Belle Association, a domestic violence service organisation. The building purchased as a Humanist headquarters has been named “Baxendell House”.
BAXENDELL, Cedric Harold ‘Tup’, 1922-2006
Rationalist, Humanist, born Brisbane, Queensland. Family Congregationalist, taught Sunday school where he met his wife, Margaret. Lost his faith and joined the Rationalist Society of Queensland. Moved the motion that the Society initiate a building fund and made the first donation of ten dollars. Commenced a monthly fund-raising “Marawah Bush Dance”, which up to 700 attended. Sponsored the formation of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. Was elected a life member of the Humanist Society of Queensland.
1995 : PLIMER, Professor Ian Rutherford, 1946-
Professor of Geology and Dean of the Faculty of Earth Sciences at Melbourne University, born Sydney, NSW. Educated University of NSW; became a senior tutor at Macquarie University and Head of the Dept of Geology Newcastle University 1985-91. Has published and lectured across the world in geology and the earth sciences. In an attempt to counter the influence of non-scientific beliefs purveyed by some fundamentalist religions in their attempts to undermine and overturn scientific education and debate, wrote his Telling lies For God (Random House, 1994), in which he exposes faults in the arguments and the dishonest tactics of some creationists.
1996 : HAYDEN, His Excellency the Hon. William George (Bill), 1933-
Governor-General of Australia 1989-96, born Brisbane, Queensland. As a child lived in straitened circumstances. Joined Queensland public service, the police force, studied by correspondence, gained BEcon at University of Queensland. First entered Parliament 1961 (ALP). Minister of Social Security 1972-75, Treasurer 1975, Opposition Leader 1977-83, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs 1977, for Foreign Affairs and Trade 1977-78. As a Humanist and atheist took a stand on peace and human rights and condemned injustice, intolerance and discrimination whether in Australia or abroad. Spoke out in favour of voluntary euthanasia and other causes supported by Humanists without fear and despite criticism.
1997 : COX, Eva Maria, 1938-
Social policy analyst, feminist and author, born in Vienna, Austria, just before the Nazi occupation. Spent the war years in England with her mother, and after two years in Rome arrived in Sydney aged ten. Completed a BA Hons at the University of New South Wales in the 1970s as a mature age student, a sole parent. Was a founding member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby in New South Wales in 1972, and an active abortion rights campaigner. Best known for her frequent media appearances as a commentator on social issues, especially those to do with women and families. Has worked as an academic, a director of a major non-government welfare organisation, a ministerial adviser, a senior public servant. Has run her own business. In 1995 was awarded an Order of Australia for advocacy and social policy analysis on behalf of women and the disadvantaged. In 1995 delivered the ABC Boyer Lectures, entitled “A Truly Civil Society”. The six lectures raised some fundamental questions about the way Australians live and work. Author of “Leading Women: Tactics for making a Difference”, published 1996.
1998 : NITSCHKE, Dr Philip, 1947-
Medical practitioner. Born in rural South Australia. Studied physics at Flinders University, gaining First Class Honours after creating, with lasers, what he thinks may have been Australia’s first hologram. Moved to the Northern Territory, where he worked as a park ranger. Acted as a white advisor to Vincent Lingari when the Aboriginal Land Rights movement was taking off. Became, through his courage and determination, the person who made the Northern Territory “Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995” work, until it was extinguished by the Federal Parliament. His coma machine was the first in the world to legally assist the death of four terminally ill patients who made their own choice to end their lives. The claim by the Australian Medical Association in the Northern Territory that no doctor in the Territory would support the legislation was proved wrong when Philip Nitschke organised 20 Territory doctors to agree to a statement in support of the Bill. Sees little evidence that there is a god: “I haven’t seen any miracles at those last moments.”
1999 : WARNOCK, Diana, 1940-
Journalist. In recognition of her commitment to humanist values in her extensive work on behalf of individual and community groups. Her determination and concern for the welfare of others was shown by her contribution to the passage of a most enlightened abortion law reform in the parliament of Western Australia. She is patron of the Humanist Society of Western Australia.
2000 : REYNOLDS, Professor Henry, 1938-
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian history, in particular his research which significantly revises our knowledge of British Colonial policy on native land rights.
2001 : BOGLE, Eric, 1944-
In recognition of one of Australia’s best known and most decorated songwriters and performers, who has nationally and internationally captured the spirit of the Australian nation and advanced the ethos of Humanism through his perceptive and individual song writing with its exposure of racism, bigotry, war mongering and injustice of all kinds.
2002 : HORNE, Professor Donald Richmond, 1921-2005
In recognition for his humanist influence on society over a lifetime. Academic, journalist, social critic and commentator. Born in 1921. He is a strong advocate for liberal democracy, tolerance, multiculturalism, republicanism and the recognition of indigenes as Australia’s first people. Horne has expressed humanism in action through his analysis and commentary on Australia society for more than half a century. He has chaired a number of cultural organisations, including the Australia Council as chairman, and he has served on a number of bodies concerned with constitutional reform, including the Australian Constitutional Commission. Horne has been editor of the Sydney Observer, The Bulletin and Quadrant, and has been a contributing editor to Newsweek International. He is the author of more than twenty books including, The Lucky Country (1964), The Public Culture (1986), Ideas for a Nation (1989), and Looking for Leadership (2001). As a committed advocate of the Australian republic, he engaged vigorously in the debates running up to the constitutional convention of 1999. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982 for his services to the community in the cause of articulating cultural renewal and promoting a civil society.
2003 : TROUNSON, Professor Alan Osborne
In recognition of his vigorous public advocacy of ethical research into early human development for therapeutic ends, and his stand against doctrinaire opposition to such work, being informed by his eminent achievements in the treatment of infertility and in techniques of stem cell development: a practical humanitarian. Alan Trounson obtained his Ph.D. from Sydney University in 1974 for studies of sheep embryology. After post-doctoral research overseas he moved to Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, in 1977, becoming director of the Centre for Early Human Development in 1985. He is professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Monash, and was appointed chief executive officer of the National Stem Cell Centre in 2003. He introduced two world-first procedures which greatly improved the success rate of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). They were the use of a fertility drug to induce multiple ova and the freezing of embryos for future use. These procedures enabled more than 300,000 women worldwide to conceive successfully. They have also led to scientific spin-offs such as providing embryos for research into genetic defects and embryonic stem cell development for transplants. Professor Trounson has been very active in informing the public about the facts of the IVF program. He was a key witness before Federal Parliamentary Committees on the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002, explaining the potential therapeutic benefits of embryo research. His outspokenness has earned him the ire of opponents such as the Catholic Church.
2004 : SINGER, Professor Peter Albert David, 1946-
His work has furthered many Humanist causes by the use of logical argument, clear thinking, uncompromising commitment to consistency of thought, an unswerving reliance on democratic and civil libertarian processes of decision-making and a refusal to seek supernaturalist solutions to human problems.
2005 : FLANNERY, Dr Timothy Fridtjof, 1956-
Scientist, explorer, discoverer of new species and writer of books imbued with his humanistic attitude. His evolutionary expertise has led him to propound bold and compelling views on population carrying capacity, immigration, the doctrine of ‘terra nullius’, indigenous understanding of the environment and the need for white Australians to face up to these issues.
2006 : CUNDALL, Peter, 1927-
In recognition of an exemplary Humanist whose personality is ever growing. Finding the horrors of war could be allayed by gardening, he became a landscape gardener, then gardening writer who spearheaded the organic food-growing movement, a champion of self-sufficiency, spreading through the media his encouraging message, ‘anyone can do this.’ His boundless enthusiasm has brought many to appreciate nature, and he is a persistent fighter both for the environment and for peace.
2007 : CLENDINNEN, Dr Inga Vivienne, 1934-2016
In recognition of the humanistic influence of her lectures and writings dealing with the misunderstandings between colliding cultures; with gratitude for her astute observations and profound reflections on the human experience, strikingly expressed. She has drawn poignant lessons from the effects of European colonization on the American Maya and Aztec peoples and the indigenous people of Australia, as well as from the traumas of the Holocaust.
2008 : ALLISON, Lynette Fay, 1946-
In recognition of her commitment as a vigorous and effective campaigner on public education, the environment, uranium mining and women’s issues. In all these areas Senator Allison has initiated significant legislative reform. Her respect for 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.
2009 : BURNSIDE, Julian, 1949-
In recognition of his active commitment to human rights, particularly his willingness to take on the cases of asylum seekers, pro bono, and his eloquent public advocacy of the rights of refugees. We commend him for his courageous public stand when championing human rights in Australia was at a very low point. Joint award with Kate Durham.
2009 : DURHAM, Kate, 1957-
In recognition of her dedicated support for human rights, through such practical assistance as the successful Spare Rooms for Refugees project, and by the use of her creative artistry with paint and film to show the often tragic consequences of human rights violations such as the Tampa incident, which touched the consciences of Australians. Joint award with Julian Burnside.
2010 : BROWN, Bob, 1944-
In recognition of his years of outspoken advocacy for a secular, liberal democracy. By his passionate campaigning to save native forests and waterways from despoliation he inspired countless young people to become politically involved. We commend his earnest commitment to the Humanist values of fairness, justice, common sense and compassion, and we welcome the enlightened stance he has taken on many controversial issues like voluntary euthanasia, same-sex rights and chaplaincies in schools.
2011 : CANNOLD, Dr Leslie, 1965-
In recognition of her outstanding contribution to public debate on bio-ethics, especially issues affecting women and family life. She excels at presenting complex and controversial ideas with clarity. She is much appreciated by thinking people as a beacon of the well informed, reasoned argument in the media sea of misinformation.
2012 : WILLIAMS, Ronald
In appreciation of Ron’s public stand for the principle of separation of church and state. Ron has initiated a challenge to the constitutional legality of Commonwealth Government funding for overtly religious purposes; in so doing he has argued for the rights of public school students and their parents to be free from an inappropriate intrusion of religion into the secular space of public schooling.
2013 : CARO, Jane, 1957-
In recognition of her public advocacy of atheism, secularism and ethics as a product of informed and reasoned discussion. In espousing these core Humanist ideals, Jane has been outspoken on a wide range of issues, particularly equality for women and the need for high quality public education.
2014 : ROBERTSON, Geoffrey Ronald, 1946-
2015 : LAWRENCE, Dr Carmen Mary, 1948-
In recognition of her timely research into fanatical ideas and extreme behaviour, along with her long-standing commitment to equity and social justice. In pursuing these ideals both as a parliamentarian and a researcher, Carmen has been an advocate for Indigenous Australians, women, education, environmental protection and asylum seekers.
2016 : BELL, John Anthony, 1940-
In recognition of his achievement of bringing a contemporary, humanistic interpretation of Shakespeare to theatregoers.
2017 : SYME, Dr Rodney
In recognition of his sustained advocacy and well informed support for physician-assisted dying, despite being arrested and having a ban placed upon him by the Medical Board of Australia which was since overturned by a court ruling in December 2016.
Details of Outstanding Humanist Achievers
2000 : CAMPBELL, Mollie, 1930-2015
As a lonely immigrant from the UK Mollie found kindred spirits in the Humanist Society of New South Wales (HSNSW), which she joined in 1964. She was conscious that her own education and career aspirations had been limited by her mother on religious grounds. With Les Heman and Bill Shaw, she served on the committee that raised the money to buy a home for humanism in Sydney, Humanist House in Chippendale, which was purchased in 1969.
After a period in the UK (1970-77) Mollie returned to HSNSW in 1978 and since 1983 has been a Committee member, becoming Secretary in 1985 for ten years. She found learning to use the computer and coping with the membership database a great experience. She has provided hospitality to the Society and to many visiting Humanists from interstate and overseas. She has attended CAHS Conventions as a HSNSW delegate and made many friends throughout Australia. She was President of HSNSW from 1997 to 2000 and has retired due to ill health. The Committee accepted her resignation with regret and was pleased when she continued to assist preparations for the Australis-2000 Congress, principally as fundraiser.
Dr John Hirshman, HSNSW patron and AHOY 1992, expressed the affection and respect that Mollie has earned as follows. “Mollie Campbell has been an excellent President of the Society. She is a practical Humanist with an even tempered, conciliatory personality. She has held the NSW Society together by her fair, even-handed chairing of meetings, and allowing expression of different views. Generous with her time, she has also used her home as a meeting place with friendly exchanges of views and hospitality for visitors in mind.”
2001 : POTEMPA, Vicki
Vicki has made a sustained contribution to Humanism over four decades. She joined the Humanist Society of New South Wales in February 1966, served as Treasurer for twenty years until 1997 and is still an active member of the Committee. She worked on the Australis-2000 Congress steering committee. She became chief cook for the Society’s Annual General Meetings and many other occasions, recently providing lunches at Australis-2000.
Vicki has been involved with women’s issues wherever she could and was a prime mover in the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign (WAAC). Last year WAAC recognised Vicki’s sustained contribution to the campaign to have Abortion Laws repealed. Vicki also set up ‘Vicki’s Pocket’ as means of funding abortions for those in need. She has been a prison visitor since 1981 and joined the campaign for fairer treatment of prisoners. She has often travelled long distances on public transport to far-flung prisons, and has opened her home to prisoners who had nowhere else to go. She has dealt with the problems that families of prisoners face, especially in the Arabic-speaking community. She was also involved in retaining the right of prisoners to vote in Federal elections.
Now nearly eighty years old Vicki says she is happy to keep on contributing, but cannot predict how long that will be. Australian Humanists salute her for her practical contributions to humanism and her passionate commitment to human rights.
2002 : STRNAD, Halina
Halina has been prominent in the Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) for more than twenty years. She manages to be involved also with the anti-gun lobby, Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Victoria, United Nations Association and Australian Labor Party. Recently she co-ordinated the setting up of Homeplus Living Inc., a self-governing housing project for homeless school-students.
She joined HSV in 1980 and was soon active in group discussions, which the Society holds so as to generate policies on social questions and make submissions to government inquiries. She has been on Committee ever since, as Treasurer (1981-2), Secretary (1985-6), Vice President (1983-4, 1990-2, 1994-6) and President (1993); as Membership Secretary since 1997 she is meticulous. At HSV public meetings, where she collects entry donations, she is known for her penetrating questions and her infectious enthusiasm for humanism.
As Submissions Convener Halina has devoted hundreds of hours to researching and writing numerous submissions on HSV’s behalf, while insisting that members have the opportunity to contribute. Such reaching out is necessary, she maintains, to ensure that the Society does not to degenerate into a club. Commissioned by CAHS to write a guide to effective submission writing, she produced the useful booklet, ‘Making a Submission’, which was duly issued at the 1995 CAHS Convention.
For years the monthly meetings of Committee and Discussion Group have been held at Halina’s house, and she regularly hosts the Winter Solstice Social. Her hospitality is legendary and contributes to the high morale and hence the perseverance of all those involved.
2003 : CLIFFORD, Dick, 1925-
Dick has been an active member of the Humanist Society of South Australia (HSSA) for many years, and has held the offices of President and Secretary. He has edited and produced the SA Humanist Post for the past 12 years; he set up the Internet web page for HSSA in 1997 and still maintains it. He is a regular contributor to Australian Humanist, both as writer and photographer. Over the years his liaising with African Humanists has been greatly valued by IHEU and by those he has helped.
He was a key organizer of successful CAHS Conventions held in Adelaide in 1994, 1997 and 2001, making audio recordings of the proceedings. He was most supportive of the Australis2000 Congress in Sydney, sending invitations to all the Indian societies affiliated with IHEU, and personally making sure the Congress proceedings were recorded.
In 1995-97 Dick was an efficient Secretary of CAHS. He introduced the idea of the Travel Subsidy to help delegates from the more distant states to attend CAHS Conventions on a regular basis. He drew up the guidelines for AHOY and OHA awards. In 2002, when no state Society was prepared to take on all the duties of CAHS Executive, Dick proposed the E-mail solution and volunteered once more for the position of CAHS Secretary (2002-04). He has prepared a number of useful documents for CAHS, e.g. Recruiting Younger People to Humanism (2003).
2005: FLETCHER, Laadan
Raised in a fundamentalist family in Leeds, England, Laadan became an intensely committed Sunday school teacher and lay preacher when still in his late teens. Less than a decade later, however, he realised how baseless were the beliefs in which he had been nurtured. Later, in the mid-sixties when a lecturer in a Lancashire Teachers College, he planned in collaboration with a colleague to create an on-campus humanist society but, before these plans came to fruition, he had accepted a lecturing appointment at the University of Western Australia.
In Perth, a Humanist Society, had been founded three years earlier, and he and his wife, Lilian, eagerly joined. Over the decades that followed he held office as vice-president, president, secretary, treasurer and editor of the WA Humanist News. Because of his perceived skills as a word-smith he was frequently called upon to draft letters and submissions as well as contribute letters to The Western Australian on matters of concern to Humanists. He enjoyed a high success rate in terms of publication and these letters collectively helped to bring Humanism and the Humanist Society to public notice. Laadan has also published many articles in Australian Humanist and in W A Humanist News. One article in the former was reproduced in the Indian Atheist. In July 1992, his article, ‘Doing Without God’ was published in National Outlook, an Australian Christian monthly.
Laadan has also addressed the WA Humanist Society on very many occasions, including its advertised public meetings, and has conducted a series of talks entitled ‘Humanism, Ancient and Modern’ in the U3A programme at the Alexander Library. He has also served as guest speaker, on the topic of Humanism, for a wide range of organisations. These included such bodies as The Lions, branches of U3A, Women in Touch, the Theosophical Society, many school groups. Laadan participated in talk-back radio a few times and appeared on TV Channel 7 in a debate on ‘Religion in Schools’.
One of the very successful achievements of Humanists in Australia was to campaign for secular marriage during the early 1970s and, particular credit was due to The Honourable Lionel Murphy, Federal Attorney General at the time, for having made the dream into reality. Laadan accepted appointment as Civil Marriage Celebrant and performed the first such ceremony in the West on 26 February 1974 on the Banks of the Swan River. He was eventually to conduct about 700 weddings as well as many funeral and other formal ceremonies.
Laadan has had a distinguished career as an educationalist, beginning in the UK where he received his early qualifications including a PhD in 1972, and concluding as a research Fellow at the University of WA. In his professional life Laadan has written a number of books and many articles and views for educational journals.
Laadan also served on the committee and as president of the Western Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society, having worked assiduously in the advancement of its objects. On two occasions (each one a beautiful spring day) he organised and led a march on Parliament House followed by a much-publicised rally.
In recognition of his enormous contribution to the activity of Humanism in WA, some years ago Laadan was made a Life Member and Patron of the Humanist Society of WA. Members value and greatly respect his wise advice and guidance.
2006: DAHLITZ, Raymond (1926–2015)
In recognition of his very long involvement in several freethought organisations, beginning with him setting up a freethought group at the University of Melbourne in 1949, and especially for his 20 years of active participation in the Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV). A committee member from 1993-2005, president 1994-96, and organiser of HSV public meeting speakers for many years. CAHS president 1997-2000. He has attended four internationally Humanist gatherings and conceived the idea for the Australis2000 Congress held in Sydney in November 2000. Author of A Secular Who’s Who, published in 1992.
2007: IVES, Rosslyn Mary
In recognition of her active contribution at state and national level beginning with editor of Victorian Humanist 1991-95, HSV committee member and presidency 1997-98 and again 2000-06. CAHS secretary 1997-2000 and editor of Australian Humanist since 1998. She also resumed editorship of VH in 2001.
2009: McPHATE, Alan (1929–2016) and Maureen
In recognition of their outstanding contributions to Humanism over more than four decades of active community involvement. Together they have been eager supporters of Humanist projects, in addition to their public-spirited involvement in many other community-based organisations. Alan has served as CAHS President (2004-08), HSV President (1999-2001) and Vice-president (1997-98, 2002-08). Maureen served as HSV Secretary (1997-2005) and Minute Secretary (2006-08). By their commitment and gracious presence they have enhanced Humanist gatherings locally, nationally and internationally.
2010: d’IAPICO-BIEN, Victor Chen-teh
In recognition of his active involvement in the Humanist movement for more than five decades. Stemming from youthful curiosity to know why, Victor questioned his religious upbringing and through study for a Ph.D. in science he became a Humanist. He served as CAHS President (1972-74) and Treasurer (2000-02). His most significant commitment has been as Treasurer of the Humanist Society of New South Wales (1985-), where he has made beneficial input to numerous projects undertaken by HSNSW.
2011: ADAGIO, Affie
In recognition of her active involvement in the Humanist movement since the late 1990s. She has served the Humanist Society of NSW as president (2002-5), honorary secretary (from 2005) and editor of Humanist Viewpoints. At the national level, she has been CAHS Secretary (2000-02) and convener of Australis2000 Congress. Her innovative style and experience as a counsellor have helped steer the Humanist Society of NSW through some difficult years.
2012: GARDNER, Harry J., 1927–2018
In recognition of his active involvement in ethical education. Harry was a long-time and very active HSV member. He was a committee member in the 1970s, serving as President in 1973. At that time, he played a key role in advocating for the removal of religious instruction from state schools. Although humanists were unsuccessful on this matter in the 1970s, experience from that time fed into a further successful campaign in the 2000s. Harry spearheaded this renewed action by creating ethical education lessons, which he promoted with passion and vigour. His activity was undoubtedly influential in leading to the State government removing Special Religious instruction from classroom time and setting up the study area, ‘World Religions and other World Beliefs’, including Humanism.