Queensland Nominates Ben Bjarnesen For Australian of the Year Award
Out gay former Queensland police officer and domestic violence campaigner Ben Bjarnesen has been nominated by the state as one of its nominees for the 2024 Australian of the Year Awards.
Bjarnesen is among the 16 Queensland nominees out of the 133 persons nominated across all the states and territories nominated for the Australian of the Year Awards.
The recipients will be announced on Wednesday, November 8, with the national Awards to be announced on January 24, 2024.
“The nominees for the Queensland awards come from all walks of life and many different areas of endeavour and contribution,” National Australia Day Council CEO Mark Fraser said in a statement.
“They remind us all of what we can do when we make a decision to take action, make a stand, lend a hand or strive for a goal. They remind us we are all capable of being extraordinary.”
Bjarnesen said he was honoured to be nominated for the Awards. “I’m deeply grateful for the incredible support I’ve received from my colleagues, friends, and mentors throughout my journey. It’s a true privilege to be considered alongside so many inspirational Australians,” Bjarnesen posted on Facebook.
In May, Bjarnesen announced that he was leaving Queensland Police after 15 years.
“If I had to choose one highlight that stands out above the rest, it would be the impact I have been able to make in ensuring that the voices of LGBTIQ+ people are heard and that changes are made to improve outcomes for our community members who report crimes or domestic violence,” Bjarnesen had told Star Observer.
“Through initiatives such as the It Gets Better Project, One Step Better Project, Proud to Stand With You initiative, LGBTIQ+ Community Consultative Group changes to policy and forms to be more inclusive of trans and gender-diverse clients, and the formation of the LGBTI Support Network, I am proud to have played a role in advancing the rights and protections of LGBTIQ+ communities within the Queensland Police,” said Bjarnesen who was LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officer program for Queensland Police.
A survivor of domestic violence and an outspoken advocate of LGBTQI victims of crime and violence, Bjarnesen founded LGBTIQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation and the annual LGBTIQ Domestic Violence Awareness Day.
Among the Queensland nominees for Young Australian of the Year is mental health advocate Grace Scholl. Scholl is a youth advocate with the Queensland Family and Child Commission and sits on the Queensland LGBTIQ+ Roundtable.