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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4015..

MRS BURKE: No, absolutely not; I meant from being busy, not from life. I meant from an active, working life. You will be working in another area, no doubt, and I wish you well as you go into that year. It is a big thing but hopefully you can wind down and start to take up something new. So all the best to you, sir, and all the best to anybody that I may have forgotten. Have a blessed, peaceful, restful Christmas.

General Sir John Monash Awards

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.21): We should all be proud that here in the ACT we have the opportunity to recognise the academic achievements of others. Often, award ceremonies do not get the recognition they deserve, and that is why I want to discuss the General Sir John Monash Awards and the importance of these prestigious accolades.

The General Sir John Monash Awards are hosted by the General Sir John Monash Foundation. The foundation is a charitable organisation formed in Australia as a public company limited by guarantee. Up to eight awards will be awarded annually to outstanding Australians graduating from university, which enables them to study abroad at the world's best universities in an appropriate field of study. The recipients of the Monash awards are expected to become leaders not only in their fields but also in the community. This will, in turn, make a significant contribution to Australian society.

The General Sir John Monash Awards recognise academic excellence and the leadership potential that the recipient displays. Applicants are asked to demonstrate through a well-defined research project how their proposed study or research will advance their field of study and benefit themselves and the wider Australian society. The lucky recipient of an award will receive annually up to $50,000 that can be combined with other scholarships, awards and grants at the discretion of the foundation. Another incentive to strive for academic achievement is that the award is exempt from Australian income tax.

Continuing recognition of excellent academic achievement and future leadership potential was displayed when, on 28 November this year, eight Australians were presented with this year's General Sir John Monash Awards. At a special ceremony at Government House in Canberra, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery, Patron-in-Chief of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, presented the awards to this year's hard-working, determined recipients.

I will now list the award winners. Dr Alice Chang from Queensland studies in the area of medicine, primarily focusing on public health. Dr Chang was awarded the Young Australian of the Year in 2004 and 2006. She has also started her own charity, called Young Visionaries, a non-profit organisation that empowers communities worldwide to improve eye health and eliminate preventable blindness. She wants to become an ophthalmologist, study overseas and treat people with eye injuries.

Johnathon Ehsani from Victoria studies in the area of public health. Mr Ehsani will use his Monash award to study for a doctorate of philosophy at Michigan University in the USA. He hopes to develop educational programs to enable adolescents to avoid risks to their health.

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