Taj Pabari, Yasmin Khan, Tejinder Pal Singh and Tarang Chawla make us all proud on Australia Day

This year we have from the Indian subcontinent community  those who have contributed positively to Australia through their contribution. They are Taj Pabari, Tejinder Pal Singh, Yasmin Khan and Tarang Chawla amongst other distinguished and well known Australians such as writer academic Waleed Aly, media personality Stand Grant and others.

The Australian of the Year Awards provides all Australians with the opportunity to recognise someone who makes them proud in four categories: Australian of the Year; Senior Australian of the Year (aged 65 years and over); Young Australian of the Year and Australia’s Local Hero.


Entrepreneur and inventor of the Fiftysix Tablet Kit

The mastermind behind game-changing social enterprise Fiftysix Creations, Taj Pabari is a young inventor and social entrepreneur taking the world by storm. Describing his idea as the ”˜LEGO of the 21st century’, Taj cleverly combines hardware, software and education, enabling children to not just consume the world we live in but to create it. The Fiftysix build-it-yourself tablet and coding kit is as easy as a puzzle and as engaging as a computer game, and is being used in schools around the world. Taj has partnered with the Foundation for Young Australians to build capacity in disadvantaged communities, and Taj and his team have educated more than 43,000 students in Australia and internationally. Balancing his education and entrepreneurial endeavours is not easy, and Taj wakes up at 4am every day before heading off to high school. Taj has big dreams to expand his social enterprise and has set a goal of educating one million kids by 2020.


National Finalist Australia’s Local Hero 2017

Yasmin Khan

Diversity champion helping victims of domestic violence

With an Australian heritage stretching back 130 years, Yasmin Khan creates connections and breaks down barriers to show how Muslims have made a great contribution to our nation. In 2005, Yasmin founded Eidfest ”“ the largest Muslim gathering in Queensland to celebrate the end of Ramadhan and to showcase Muslim diversity and cultures. A well-known speaker, Yasmin works with schools, the media and community groups to share insights into her religion and her life experiences. Yasmin represents her community on multiple reference groups, recently being elected as the Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, and is a multicultural ambassador for the AFL and Asian Cup, and was one of the first female cricket umpires in Queensland. A vocal commentator on domestic violence in multicultural communities, Yasmin has established a support centre for Muslim women and women from the Indian sub- continent, regardless of their religion. At the helm of many highly-successful events and community activities, Yasmin continues to demonstrate why diversity makes Australia a stronger nation.

State Finalist Young Australian of the Year 2017, Victoria Finalist

Tarang Chawla

Anti-domestic violence advocate

Following the brutal murder of his sister in 2015, Tarang Chawla has furthered the public understanding of violence against women.  In a short time, he’s raised awareness of judicial shortcomings, policy failings and cultural attitudes that have led to male violence being a leading cause of death and disability for Australian women under 45. Tarang  works with No To Violence, a family violence prevention association, to change men’s behaviour and is a board  member of the Victorian Government’s Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council. Displaying a measured and articulate  approach to a deeply sensitive issue, Tarang works with businesses, government, educators and the healthcare sector to improve their responses to gendered violence, perpetrator accountability and toxic masculinity.

As a lawyer, Tarang contributed to the work of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. As the founder of Justice for Nikita and ambassador for Our Watch, White Ribbon Safe Steps and InTouch, Tarang shares stories of victims of violence to humanise the people behind the statistics.

National Finalist Australia’s Local Hero 2017, Northern Territory


Tejinder Pal Singh

Food van founder, breaking down racial prejudice

For the past four years, Tejinder pal Singh has dedicated the last Sunday of each month to feeding poor and needy locals of northern Darwin. After a gruelling 12-hour shift driving a taxi, Tejinder spends five hours cooking up a storm in his kitchen, preparing 80 kilograms of vegetarian curry and rice which he then serves as a free lunch. After arriving from the Punjab region with his family in 2006, Tejinder endured a racist tirade of abuse while transporting a passenger which inspired the humble man to break down the negative prejudice associated with turbans. Funding the feast each month from his own pocket, Tejinder attributes his generosity to his deep Sikh faith. His work has inspired three other groups to take up the cause to distribute free food to the homeless on Sundays. And the hungry and thirsty come flocking when they see Tejinder’s van, emblazoned with the sign “free Indian food for hungry and needy people.”

State Finalist Australian of the Year 2017, Victoria

Waleed Aly

Broadcaster and academic

Forging a reputation as one of Australia’s foremost commentators on national and global issues, Waleed Aly is  tackling the toughest problems of our time  ”“  terrorism, racism and climate change among them. A writer, academic, lawyer, musician and passionate footie fan, Waleed has risen to prominence as the co-host of The Project. His thoughtful analysis of complex and serious issues is balanced with a razor-sharp humour and personal warmth. As a lawyer, Waleed worked pro bono for the Human Rights Law Centre. As a lecturer in politics at Monash University in the Global Terrorism Research Centre, he sheds light on the historical and geopolitical issues that have shaped the current political climate. A regular contributor to national TV, print and radio outlets, Waleed was recognised for his journalistic achievements with a Walkley Award in 2014. As an Australian Muslim, Waleed is a powerful voice, adding dimension to national debate and challenging Australians to think deeply about social and political issues.

State Finalist Australian of the Year 2017, NSW finalist

Stan Grant

Reconciliation champion

A mainstay of the Australian media, with a career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Stan Grant is challenging people to embrace reconciliation and a true common nationhood built on respect for our first Australians. The author of  The Tears of Strangers  and  Talking to My Country, Stan has shared a profound and moving account of his life’s journey, overcoming enormous disadvantage to achieve great success in his chosen career. With an honorary doctorate from the University of NSW for his contribution to Aboriginal people, Stan is Chair of Indigenous Affairs at Charles Sturt University and was recently appointed to advise the Australian Government on constitutional recognition. Admired for his integrity, empathy, understanding and professionalism, Stan has brought the story of his people out of the shadows. With pride in his culture and a deep love of country, as well as insight, intellect and sensitivity, Stan has elevated the conversation about the impact of dispossession on Aboriginal people, and how we can work towards reconciliation.




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