Vic's Australian of Year 2017 finalists

By Mike Osborne


  • Australian of the Year: Paris Aristotle

Establishing the the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture in 1987, Paris Aristotle has gone on to become a nationally recognised voice on the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers.

The foundation has more than 200 staff and provides services for the wellbeing of those with a refugee background.

He has also advised both sides of politics on refugee and asylum seeker policy.

  • Senior Australian of the Year: Lois Peeler

Former Sapphires singer, Lois Peeler turned to education and became a principal at Australia's only Aboriginal girls' boarding school.

She welcomes students from some of the most remote regions in Australia and oversees a curriculum that focuses on Aboriginal values and teachings and includes western academic leadership.

  • Young Australian of the Year: Jason Ball

Local footballer and gay man Jason Ball has campaigned to change hyper-masculine sport culture to be more inclusive.

He trains AFL draftees on inclusive language, speaks at schools and sporting clubs about mental health and kick-started the Pride Cup, which celebrates diversity in sport.

  • Local Hero: Vicki Jellie

Vickie Jellie has campaigned to bring radiotherapy services out to regional Victoria ever since her husband Peter died of cancer in 2008.

In 2016, after securing $30 million funding from the government and from community donations, she opened the South West Regional Cancer Centre.