Rosie Batty named Australian of the Year

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 25 Januari 2015 | 23.08

Crowds have gathered to congratulate 2015's Australian of the Year award winners.

AUSTRALIAN of the Year Rosie Batty admitted receiving the nation's top honour was bittersweet — she would rather­ have her son.

Ms Batty was honoured in a glittering ceremony on the steps of Parliament House last night, but her boy, Luke, who was killed last February by his father in an act of violence, was never far from her thoughts.

"I love you buddy. I miss him every moment of every day," Ms Batty said. "I think of him every single second and I dream about him and I can't bring him back so this helps me. It helps me."

"For me to see his friends growing up and changing so quickly ... I'm thrilled that they are, but it's a dagger in the heart too.

"I think to myself 'gee am I always going to feel like this?'

The Australian of the Year for 2015 Rosie Batty from Victoria and Prime Minister Tony Abbott during the Australian of the Year Awards ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

"But you make the time that you have and you fill it with as much happy times as you can."

Ms Batty vowed to use her new title to fight against domestic violence. "I'm thrilled to get the award. It gives me a stronger platform, a greater voice and determination to make this year as Australian of the Year really mean something."

The 52-year-old was part of history as last night marked the first time in the awards' 55-year history that all four major honours went to women.

Author Jackie French won senior Australian, deaf leader Drisana Levitzke-Gray won young Australian and GIVIT founder Juliette Wright won Australia's local hero.

Luke Batty who was killed by his father Greg Anderson

Ms Batty left her home in The Midlands, England at 24, before journeying to Australia and meeting the father of her son Luke, Greg Anderson.

The pair split as Anderson's mental state became increasingly volatile and he threatened and assaulted her.

In the months since Luke's death, Ms Batty has put her personal grief to one side to launch a one-woman crusade against domestic violence.

Last night she described a "serious epidemic across our nation" with one in three women and one in four children experiencing domestic violence­.

Chairman of the National Australia Day Council Ben Robert-Smith VC, MG hugging the Australian of the Year for 2015 Rosie Batty.

"The statistics are unacceptable, indisputable and, if they did happen on our streets, there would be a public outcry," she said.

"I am on a path to expose family violence and to ensure that victims receive the respect­, support and safety that they deserve."

She appealed to the government and community for support.

Prime Minister Abbott said: "You inspire all of us to be better Australians. Australia honours you and we thank you for your courage, achievement and determination."

Victoria Police commissioner Ken Lay said: " She has made us a better community, she has made us a safe country. We all owe her a lot."

AFL star and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes paid tribute to this year's nominees and left the door open to a career in politics after footy.

OTHER AWARDS:

Senior Australian of the Year author — Jackie French

Senior Australian of the Year Jackie French (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

Young Australian of the Year deaf leader — Drisana Levitzke-Gray

Young Australian of the Year Drisana Levitzke-Gray (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

Australia's Local Hero — GIVIT founder Juliette Wright

Australia's Local Hero 2015 Juliette Wright. Source: News Corp Australia

david.hurley@news.com.au

@davidhurleyHS

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