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AFL champion Michael Long takes out NT’s top honour

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A football icon and advocate for reconciliation who prompted the AFL to introduce a racial abuse code has been named the Northern Territory's Australian of the Year.

Northern Territory winners:

  • Australian of the Year: Michael Long
  • Senior Australian: Charlie King OAM
  • Young Australian: Danzal "Baker Boy" Baker
  • Local Hero: Tick and Kate Everett

Michael Long may be best known for his on-field prowess, playing 190 games for the Essendon Bombers, but off the football field, the AFL star has also created a legacy in his own community.

Through his sporting career and beyond, Mr Long has advocated for reconciliation and fought against racism.

In 1995, he took a stand against an on-field taunt, prompting the AFL to adopt a racial abuse code.

He went on to become the first Indigenous player to captain an AFL side in 1999.

In 2004, resolving to meet with former Prime Minister John Howard to get Indigenous issues back on the national agenda, Mr Long embarked on "The Long Walk", trekking 650 kilometres from his home in Melbourne all the way to Parliament House in Canberra.

The Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre was established in 2013 to create a hub for young Indigenous Territorians to better themselves in sport and education, offering boarding facilities for students from remote areas.

"[Football has given me] the platform to give back to our youth, our kids, our community," he told the award ceremony in Darwin.

"Hopefully [we can] use the power of football to do good things.

"I'm grateful to be a Territorian and I just want to see our children… do really well."

Mr Long still has a strong connection with the local St Mary's Football Club where his family has an extensive history.

Today, he has overcome recent illness and continues to work with the Essendon Football Club and The Long Walk Foundation.

Human rights advocate Charlie King honoured

Charlie King sits in the locker room next to a family violence campaign sign.

The esteemed Charlie King OAM has dedicated his life to advocating for human rights, and has been named the Northern Territory Senior Australian of the Year.

At 67 years of age, King has spent most of his career as a media broadcaster.

He was the first Indigenous person to become an Olympic commentator in 2008, and continues to host the ABC's radio sports program, Grandstand, every weekend.

King has used his profile to shed light on issues in the community, and is a passionate campaigner against domestic violence, initiating the zero-tolerance campaign "NO MORE" in 2006.

Reaching the Indigenous and wider Australian community, the "NO MORE" campaign has links with more than five sporting codes and nearly a hundred teams — and is still growing.

In 2015, King was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to broadcast media and the Indigenous community.

King won a Northern Territory Human Rights Award in 2016 and used the moment to call for an end to family violence over Christmas.

For 25 years, he has also volunteered to sit with children in trouble without a parent or guardian during police interviews.

Baker Boy named NT Young Australian of the Year

The "Fresh Prince of Arnhem Land" has become one of the most ground-breaking artists in Australian hip hop — a feat that has earned him the title of Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year.

Danzal Baker, better known as his stage name, Baker Boy, took the industry by storm with his killer dance moves and passion for traditional language.

External Link: Baker Boy's award-winning film clip for Marryuna.

Born in Darwin and raised in the remote communities of Milligimbi and Maningrida, he is renowned for singing and rapping in Yolngu Matha and encourages audiences to celebrate Indigenous culture.

The Arnhem Land rapper has since opened the stage for internationally acclaimed music artists 50 Cent, Dizzie Rascal and Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project.

In August, he was named Best New Talent at the National Indigenous Music Awards, and earlier this year, took out the prestigious Charles Darwin University Art Award at the Northern Territory Young Achievers Awards.

Touring Australia extensively, Baker is using his talent to inspire young people in remote Indigenous communities and encouraging them to embrace their culture and follow their dreams.

Daughter's death inspires anti-bullying campaigners

Kate and Tick Everett have been named Northern Territory Local Heroes for their call-to-action to end childhood bullying.

Their anti-bullying campaign followed the tragic death of their teenage daughter, Amy "'Dolly" Everett in January 2018, after her own dealings with bullying.

Kate and Tick Everett at the NT Australian of the Year Awards on November 7, 2018.

Kate and Tick Everett founded Dolly's Dream, a foundation to create positive change and a legacy to their daughter.

Dolly's Dream aims to raise awareness about bullying and its potentially devastating effects on children and families.

It delivers community education on bullying issues and strategies for preventing and mitigating bullying, through cultural change and victim support.

"We're a little bit shocked, but very overwhelmed, very privileged," Mr Everett said.

"Now that we've got the conversation started, we've just got to work to keep it going."

Over 250 communities have held fundraisers and events to support Dolly's Dream, with a particular focus on regional and rural Australia.

The Everett's non-stop advocacy, meeting with the Prime Minister and education and health ministers across the country, has resulted in governments taking childhood bullying and its devastating impacts more seriously.

"We didn't realise there was such a crisis," Ms Everett said.

"There are people that need help, there are people that are in our situation, and if we can change the lives of one of those families, we've done something worthwhile."

The couple advocate tenaciously on a voluntary basis while continuing to muster cattle, train horses and care for their other daughter, Megan, from their home in Katherine, Northern Territory.

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