From grief to community good: Sue and Lloyd Clarke named QLD Australians of the Year

The 2022 QLD Australians of the Year, Sue and Lloyd Clarke pictured with Senior Australian of the year Colin Dillon, Young Australian of the Year Tahnee Bridson and Local Hero, Saba Abraham.
The 2022 QLD Australians of the Year, Sue and Lloyd Clarke pictured with Senior Australian of the year Colin Dillon, Young Australian of the Year Tahnee Bridson and Local Hero, Saba Abraham.

The 2022 QLD Australians of the Year have been announced as Sue and Lloyd Clarke, Founders of Small Steps 4 Hannah.

Despite unimaginable grief, Sue and Lloyd Clarke have shown extraordinary dedication to educating Australia on the dangers of coercive control and domestic violence. After the murder of their daughter Hannah and three grandchildren, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, they vowed to put a stop to domestic and family violence.

The awards were announced on Thursday evening in a ceremony at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane in the presence of Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Olympics.

Dr Colin Dillon AM APM, Australia's first Indigenous police officer, was named as the QLD Senior Australian of the Year, while the title of QLD Young Australian of the Year went to Founder of Hand-n-Hand Peer Support, Dr Tahnee Bridson.

Community leader, founder and manager of social enterprise Mu'ooz Restaurant & Catering, Saba Abraham, is the 2022 QLD Local Hero.

The four QLD recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2022.

The 2022 QLD Australians of the Year, Sue and Lloyd Clarke, founders of Small Steps 4 Hannah

The 2022 QLD Australians of the Year, Sue and Lloyd Clarke, founders of Small Steps 4 Hannah

Through their foundation, Small Steps 4 Hannah, Sue and Lloyd are committed to ensuring their tragedy isn't experienced by another family. They empower victims to speak up, guide family members to be aware of those who may be in an unsafe environment, and create safe environments for those who need them most.

Sue and Lloyd have also worked with the Queensland Government to establish the Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce. It's transforming the way Queenslanders, and Australians in general, understand family and domestic violence, while giving previously ignored victims a voice in court. By advocating for legislative change in the justice system, Sue and Lloyd hope the criminalisation of coercive control in Queensland will become Hannah's legacy.

QLD Senior Australian of the Year, Dr Colin Dillon.

QLD Senior Australian of the Year, Dr Colin Dillon.

Dr Colin Dillon AM APM, Australia's first Indigenous police officer, is the 2022 QLD Senior Australian of the Year.

When Dr Colin Dillon AM APM entered the Queensland Police Force in 1965, he became Australia's first Indigenous police officer. This was two years before the 1967 referendum introducing the counting of Aboriginal people in the nation's census, and a decade before ratification of the Racial Discrimination Act.

In 1987, Colin showed courage as the first serving police officer to voluntarily step forward and give first hand knowledge under oath before the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Police Corruption. His evidence was instrumental in sending many corrupt officers, including the police commissioner, and several politicians to prison.

Colin has been awarded the Australian Police Medal and received an honorary doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology. In 2013, Colin was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the Indigenous community.

Since retiring from the police force, Colin served as Chairman of Indigenous radio station, 98.9FM, and as a former Director of the Queensland Heart Foundation. Currently, the 77 year old is community member on the Parole Board of Queensland.

QLD Young Australian of the Year, Dr Tahnee Bridson

QLD Young Australian of the Year, Dr Tahnee Bridson

The 2022 QLD Young Australian of the Year is Founder of Hand-n-Hand Peer Support, Dr Tahnee Bridson.

Following the suicide of a well-known doctor in 2016, Dr Tahnee Bridson learned that many of her friends and colleagues were also suffering in silence - too scared to speak up out of shame, fear and stigma. It was then she decided her future would be dedicated to mental health.

With the encouragement of some high-profile health leaders, Tahnee founded Hand-n-Hand Peer Support in March 2020, to assist healthcare workers who were experiencing wellbeing or mental health difficulties. What began as a small WhatsApp group chat quickly became a collective of more than 2,000 healthcare workers on social media. The Black Dog Institute recently included Hand-n-Hand as an official partner.

Tahnee's work for Hand-n-Hand is done on a volunteer basis, in addition to her full-time job as a doctor. She's also training to become a psychiatrist.

By introducing peer support to healthcare settings, Hand-n-Hand has the potential to change the culture of workplaces all around the country. For 29 year old Tahnee, the possibilities are endless.

Saba Abraham, is the 2022 QLD Local Hero

Saba Abraham, is the 2022 QLD Local Hero

Community leader, founder and manager of social enterprise Mu'ooz Restaurant & Catering, Saba Abraham, is the 2022 QLD Local Hero.

Since arriving in Australia as a refugee from Eritrea, Saba Abraham has dedicated her time to supporting other refugees, uplifting her community, and building multiculturalism more broadly in Australia.

During the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, Saba played a vital role in preventing its spread in Queensland as the Chairperson of the Brisbane Community Leaders Gathering. The group of leaders from culturally and linguistically diverse communities ensured public health messages were translated directly into a range of languages so that all people could receive detailed and timely information.

In addition, 60 year old Saba is the founder and Manager of Mu'ooz Restaurant in Brisbane's West End. Since 2003, the not-for-profit social enterprise restaurant and catering business has provided employment and training opportunities for women who have arrived as refugees. Since inception, Mu'ooz has trained and employed more than 270 women.

Saba's caring, compassionate and loving leadership has earned her the title 'Mama Saba', an honorary expression that recognises everything she does for her community.

Ms Palaszczuk said the national awards honoured Queenslanders who have demonstrated exceptional generosity of spirit, and who have made remarkable contributions to the education, social inclusion, health and wellbeing of their fellow Queenslanders, and of all Australians.

"Queensland's Australian of the Year recipients for 2022 come from diverse backgrounds, with vastly different life experiences, but they share a commitment to lead powerful, positive change at a local and national level," Premier Palaszczuk said.

"Through this Awards program, we get to shine a light on their incredible work - whether it be educating the community about the cycle of domestic violence, destigmatising mental health, providing opportunities for refugee women or fighting racism and corruption.

"I congratulate all of our very worthy 2022 recipients and wish them all the best ahead of the national announcement in January."

National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand added her congratulations to the Queensland award recipients who now go on to be national finalists.

"This inspirational group of Queenslanders are selfless trailblazers, working to help others and bring about important changes for good," said Ms Brand.

"We look forward to welcoming them to Canberra for the national awards in January."

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au

  • ACM, publisher of this newspaper, is Media Partner of the 2022 awards.
This story From grief to community good: Sue and Lloyd Clarke named QLD Australians of the Year first appeared on Redland City Bulletin.