The AFL champion was recognised for his indigenous sporting and community programs and for his work in the battle against racism in sport and the wider community.
“Growing up as an Indigenous Australian i have seen and experienced my fair share of racism,” Goodes said when accepting his speech.
“It’s shaped my values and what I believe in today. Racism is a community issue that we all need to address.”
Goodes set up the Go Foundation with his cousin Michael O’Loughlin championing opportunities for young indigenous people.
Another Indigenous rights campaigner, Fred Chaney, AO was named Senior Australian of the Year, while the Young Australian of the Year was Jacqueline Freney, who won eight gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympics.
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