Celebrating Local Heroes for 20 Years

What do the Australian values mean to our Local Heroes?

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Australia’s Local Hero Award, we’ve asked five of our Local Heroes which Australian value is most important to them. Hear from Shanna Whan, Saba Abraham, Luke Ferguson, Rebecca Forrest and Craig Hollywood on the importance of compassion for those in need, empathy and inclusion. 


[Craig Hollywood]: It is important to show compassion for members of the community in need. There are lots of people out there who need a positive connection. Women with lived experience of domestic violence, youth at risk, members of the community experiencing homelessness.     

[Rebecca Forrest]: Compassion is such an important value – by genuinely caring about community, by listening to them and hearing them, I’m able to encourage people to build empowerment and strength and courage. 

[Luke Ferguson]: It’s so important that we show empathy to not only our youth, but to everyone you come across. You know people are going through hard times and there are people that might be less fortunate than you. You treat them with respect and empathy and our society will be a much better, kinder place. 

[Saba Abraham]: To show compassion is very important for refugee women, because they’ve been through a very traumatic experience. It gives them as well the hope for the future.  

[Shanna Whan]: To me, the most important value of all is to be inclusive. And I suppose as somebody who has experienced endless social exclusion because I couldn’t have children, and because I couldn’t drink and because I didn’t fit the mould, I have been excluded from my own community for many years. And I think, I think we can all do such simple, small things to be inclusive of all of our mates. No matter where they fit, or sit, or which ‘pigeon-hole’ they do or don’t fit in. Be inclusive. Accept the differences. When you look outside of your own square and do that, you are literally making someone feel a beloved and treasured part of the community and that’s a beautiful thing to do for somebody. 

We are not defined by race, religion or culture but by the shared values of freedom, respect, fairness and equality opportunity. Find out more about the seven Australian values and what they mean.

Learn more about the Australian values.

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