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Awards for Distinguished Community Service

03 December, 2022 Ann Porter Parents

Deafness Forum Australia announced three new Honorary Life Members at a ceremony during the recent Hearing Australia 75th Anniversary Conference in Sydney.

Honorary Life Membership of Deafness Forum Australia recognises the actions and achievements of people who go above and beyond what could be reasonably expected - whose voluntary contribution to the community stands out from others who may have also made a valuable contribution.

The presentation of new Hon. Life Memberships was made by Trent Zimmerman, former Member for North Sydney in the Australian Parliament and chair of the 2017 national inquiry into the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australia.

Hon. Life Member, Ann Porter

Ann was awarded an Order of Australia in 2013 for her significant service in executive and advocacy roles for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. She founded and managed Aussie Deaf Kids since 2007, a charity which aims to empower parents raising a child with hearing loss through online support, information and advocacy. She is a Member of the Australasian Early Newborn Screening Committee. And is a founding member of the Global Coalition of Parents of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Ann is a strong supporter, friend and ally of the deaf and hard of hearing community, and believes in unbiased information for families.

Hon. Life Member, Barry MacKinnon

Barry has been actively working on behalf of Deaf and Hearing Impaired people for more than 30 years. He was a key figure in the establishment of an organisation called ‘Parents United to Support Hearing Impaired Children’. He was until recently the President of the Deafness Council, and also a chair of the state’s Disability Services Commission. Barry continues to provide advice, guidance, and policy suggestions to various Deafness Forum policy papers and positions to the Commonwealth Government. He spent 6 years as leader of the West Australia Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition between 1986 and 1992. In 1997 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to people with hearing impairment. He also received a Centenary Medal in 2001.

Hon. Life Member, Margaret Dewberry

It is impossible to overstate how valuable Margaret’s contribution has been to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. She has a strong sense of social justice and an unparalleled knowledge of both the hearing needs of individuals and the system that supports them. Most of her career was with Hearing Australia as a clinician, manager and finally Executive Manager of the Community Service Obligations Program, as well as Executive Manager for Indigenous and Multicultural Services, Government Relations and Corporate Governance. Since her retirement, Margaret has devoted countless hours to assisting Deafness Forum and its Working Groups with report writing and submissions. Her counsel is widely sought after by many across the Hearing Health Sector as well as Commonwealth Governments.