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26 Jan 2020

The AMA and the medical profession today pay tribute to two outstanding doctors – Dr James Muecke AM and Professor John Newnham AM – who have been named Australian of the Year 2020 and Senior Australian of the Year 2020 respectively.

South Australian Dr Muecke has spent his medical career fighting blindness in Australia and internationally, and is a strong campaigner to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of blindness in adults.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said that Dr Muecke is a tireless human rights and public health advocate who has said he will use his platform as Australian of the Year to push for a tax on sugary drinks, which is AMA policy.

Professor Newnham is a world-renowned obstetrics specialist who has spent his medical career as a leader in the prevention of pre-term birth, and has made Western Australia a global centre for research and clinical excellence in pregnancy and life before birth.

Dr Bartone said Professor Newnham has said he would continue to work to do everything he could to make sure every Australian baby is born healthy.

“It is also extremely pleasing and a source of immense pride to acknowledge that both Dr Muecke and Professor Newnham are AMA members. Congratulations.”

The AMA also applauds the many worthy Australians from all walks of life whose achievements and contributions have been recognised with Honours on Australia Day.

Dr Tony Bartone said that the recipients range from movie stars to politicians to defence personnel to business leaders and, importantly, the unsung heroes who have worked tirelessly and devotedly in various roles in their local communities.

“The AMA is especially proud of all doctors (especially many who are AMA members) and other health professionals who made it onto the Honours list this year,” Dr Bartone said.

“It has been a delight and privilege to work or collaborate with some of them. All Australians should be proud to have these esteemed doctors of such high calibre and commitment providing care and services in the Australian health system.

“AMA members have been acknowledged for their work as researchers, surgeons, teachers and trainers, public servants, international clinicians, community and public health leaders, and as champions, advocates, and administrators for the medical profession and its associations and societies.

“They also cover a wide range of specialties – ophthalmology, endocrinology, microbiology, immunology, colorectal surgery, breast cancer treatment, haematology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, cardiology, anaesthesia, psychotherapy, intensive care, women’s health, trauma medicine, emergency medicine, respiratory medicine, vascular surgery, community health, gastroenterology, hepatology, gynaecology, rural health, and general practice – to name a few.

“Some have achieved international and national reputations, and others have served local communities for decades as the community doctor. They are all role models and shining examples of our wonderful profession.

“The AMA congratulates them all for their excellence, their achievements, their dedication, their selfless service, and their devotion to their patients and their communities and the health of all Australians.”

AMA member recipients of Australia Day Honours include:

New South Wales

  • Professor Peter Joseph McCluskey AO
  • Dr Phillip Seldon Cocks OAM
  • Professor Pierre Henri Chapuis AM
  • Dr Hazel Fern Goldberg OAM
  • Dr Antony Robert Graham OAM
  • Dr Gunvantrai Premji Naker OAM
  • Dr Meng Chong Ngu OAM
  • Mr Inderjit (Indy) Singh OAM

Victoria

  • Professor Roy Michael Robins-Browne AO
  • Professor Jeffrey David Zajac AO
  • Dr John Paxton Collins AM
  • Emeritus Professor Brendan Crotty AM
  • Dr Michael Kwok Leung AM
  • Dr Sabar Rustomjee AM
  • Dr John Dominic Santamaria AM
  • Dr Desiree Swei-Lein Yap AM
  • Dr Michael Thomas Connor OAM
  • Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton OAM
  • Dr Vincent Bernard Gallichio OAM
  • Dr Wesley Sidney Jame OAM
  • Dr David Workman OAM

Queensland

  • Mrs Gwen Wetzig AO
  • Dr Neil Robert Wetzig AO
  • Dr Paul Elias Eladis AM
  • Dr Vedella May Hinckley AM
  • Dr Donald Graham Campbell OAM

South Australia

  • Dr Walter John Russell AM
  • Professor Edward (Ted) Tuckseng Mah PSM

Tasmania

  • Dr Kim Frances Rooney OAM

Western Australia

  • Dr Anthony Leigh Mylius AM

Dr Bartone said that the AMA also congratulates Professor Bruce Robinson AM, Chair of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce, and Ms Anne Trimmer AO, former Secretary General of the Federal AMA, on their awards.

Professor Robinson was honoured service to medical research, national healthcare, and tertiary education.

Ms Trimmer was honoured for service to the law and the legal profession and to healthcare standards and policy. She was AMA Secretary General at a time of significant organisational reform.

26 January 2020

CONTACT:                John Flannery, 0419 494 761

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Published: 26 Jan 2020