Dennis Eggington has a vision of social justice for Aboriginal people based on fundamental human rights and a 'fair go' for all.
A Nyungar man, Dennis has served his people passionately for most of his life. As a pragmatic and esteemed leader, he is very often the voice of the Nyungar people.
Dennis is currently chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Legal Service, a position he has occupied for 12 years. His status within the organisation is enormously high. This comes from not only running the service successfully, but also because he is at all times an ardent and committed defender of Aboriginal rights. He is not only respected by the Nyungar people, but also the non-Aboriginal community throughout the state.
An articulate man of great foresight and principle, he opposed the Northbridge curfew, supported Aboriginal land rights as the basis for enabling Indigenous Australians to live a good life and strongly opposed those who have sought to blame Aboriginal culture for domestic violence and child abuse in Indigenous communities. His call for a Human Rights Act, both in WA and nationally, is indicative of his unshakable moral standpoint.
As well as being very active in his role with the Aboriginal Legal Service, Dennis has given countless hours of community service.
He has been at the heart of discussions about the nature of Nyungar sovereignty and nation, personally consulting communities throughout Nyungar country. He has also spoken out on behalf of Aboriginal people as a delegate on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.
He was a leading member of the Coalition of Aboriginal Agencies, the peak body for Aboriginal agencies in Perth. Under their auspices, Dennis helped establish the Indigenous Family Program with its key focus on keeping Aboriginal people out of the justice system. It has a holistic approach to Aboriginal family issues and deals with health, housing and justice, to name a few.
He holds or has held a number of formal committee positions whilst representing the Aboriginal community. He acted as Chairman of the WA Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and Chairman of the WA Aboriginal Language Conference. He served on the Perth ATSIC Regional Council and spent time on the board of various community controlled organisations including the WA Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, the Western Australian Aboriginal Media Association and the Manjimup Aboriginal Corporation. He was on the board of the Australian Academy of Race Relations and was treasurer for the Dumartung Aboriginal Corporation and also the Third Conference of the World's Indigenous Peoples.
Dennis is also a highly valued member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee for the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin.
Although he has made many personal sacrifices, Dennis has shown great resilience and dedication to sustain the fight for justice and equity. He is a modest man of great generosity and compassion, who has made a significant contribution to improving the welfare and opportunities of Indigenous Australians. He is a true champion for his people.
Dennis Eggington is indeed a most worthy recipient of the John Curtin Medal.
Throughout his life, David Goldstone has shown a remarkable capacity for giving. He has devoted nearly forty years to charity work, motivated by a strong desire to make a difference to those less fortunate.
The impetus to help others began when, at the age of 20, he was diagnosed with polio. A fit and healthy young man, he was given just 24 hours to live.
Revealing an early glimpse of the determined spirit that was to drive him throughout life, David overcame this debilitating disease and went on to council and inspire other sufferers for many years.
He has since worked with many hundreds of Western Australians, undertaking numerous fundraising projects for a diverse range of worthy causes at a local and international level.
David has given an immense amount of time and energy to Rotary International since 1969. However, it wasn't until his retirement from a successful career in commerce in 1996 that he began what he describes as 'the busiest period of his life'.
One of his most significant projects was his 1999 'Pennies for Polio Campaign' which raised $84,000 towards Rotary's world-wide Polio Eradication Program. Over the past twenty years the number of children paralysed or killed annually by the disease has reduced from 500,000 to less than 1,000. It is a testament to David's unwavering belief, tenacity and focus that he was able to raise money and awareness in Australia which is seemingly, polio free.
David's organisational abilities have seen him involved in many other fundraising ventures. A special event on his calendar is the Subiaco Craft and Community Fair, a community project he has chaired for the past five years. Under David's guidance it has become the largest fair of its kind in the state, raising a phenomenal $100,000 in four years towards CanTeen, Camp for Kids and the St John of God Foundation Horizon Program.
He has made a significant contribution to the Horizon Program, which aims to find solutions for the long term housing dilemma for the young and homeless. David has secured recurring financial assistance to support the five Horizon homes that have been established in WA that house, support and care for the disadvantaged.
David's ties with the St John of God Foundation have also lead him to fundraising for the new $30 million Bendat Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Subiaco.
In 2003, Rotary WA commenced a campaign to establish the first public cord blood bank facility in Perth. David's efforts in organising a fundraising dinner at Government House Ballroom in November 2006 raised nearly $170,000 net proceeds in that one night alone.
Dedicating ones time to an altruistic way of life demands perseverance and a sustained focus on the end goal. It also requires the energy to inspire and motivate others to give their time and support to work for which they are unlikely to be renumerated. In total, David has helped raise more than $10 million for charity in Western Australia and the number of lives he has touched is countless.
David Goldstone is indeed a very worthy recipient of the John Curtin Medal.