Four Sri Lankan-origin experts honoured in Australia Day 2023 awards List

"I believe multiculturalism adds to and does not remove from my Australian identity.” 

By Amit Sarwal and Jitarth Jai Bharadwaj

Governor-General David John Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE, today announced 2023 Australia Day Honours and Awards for 1047 Australians.

This includes awards in the Order of Australia (General and Military Divisions), meritorious awards and recognition for distinguished and conspicuous service.

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In addition to the 736 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia (6 AC, 47 AO, 177 AM and 506 OAM), today’s Honours list includes:

  • 30 recipients of awards in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (2 AO, 17 AM and 11 OAM)
  • 217 Meritorious awards
  • 64 Distinguished and Conspicuous awards
Governor-General Hurley (Source: Wikipedia)

On this occasion, the Governor-General Hurley said:

“Congratulations to the outstanding Australians recognised in today’s Honours List. The recipients have had a significant impact at the local, national and international level and are, quite simply, inspiring.”

He added:

“They go above and beyond, are from all over the country, and contribute every day in every way imaginable. These are the people who see us through good times and bad. They’re the first to show up and the last to leave. They’re almost always humble to a fault but I urge recipients, for today, to put aside that humility – it’s important they know how much they are valued.”

The Governor-General has prioritised ensuring the Order reflects the diversity of our community. He observed:

“It is encouraging to see an increase in diversity in the Order of Australia. Each recipient has something in common – someone nominated them. The Order belongs to each of us and we each have a part to play. The only way a person can be recognised is for someone to nominate them.”

Mr Selvarajah MURALEDARAN has been awarded OAM of the Order of Australia in the General Divison for service to the Tamil community of Victoria.

Mr Selvarajah MURALEDARAN is President of E-Kalvi Charity Fund (2017-) and Founding President of Tamil Consortium of Victoria (2019-2020). With a focus on improving access to quality education for Sri Lankan Tamils in Australia, Mr Muraledaran says his recognition with an honour within the Order of Australia is not his honour alone.   

“It is a testament to the work of many important volunteers who have worked to establish community focused schools. Education has the greatest potential to improve the future of children in the Australian Sri Lankan Tamil Community.”  

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He adds:

“Many Sri Lankan Tamils continue to face significant challenges. My focus has been improving access to quality education. This has the greatest potential to improve our children’s futures. I am proud of the fact that there are now children who can get to school, be properly fed, and resourced to focus on their studies. They were not previously able to do so. To have played a part in the establishment of these schools has been one of the great honours of my life.” 

 Mr Muraledaran says that all migrants have a special bond to their birth nation.  

“I want to celebrate this. I believe multiculturalism adds to and does not remove from my Australian identity.” 

As well as thanking colleagues and supporters in his work, Mr Muraledaran is also grateful to his wife and children who support him in the enormous time commitment involved in his community work.

Mr Giles GUNESEKERA has been awarded OAM of the Order of Australia in the General Divison for service to social welfare, and to the community.

Mr Giles GUNESEKERA (Image source: LinkedIn)

Mr Giles Gunesekra is the Founder and CEO of Global Impact initiative. He has over 25 years’ experience of building and developing teams, businesses and distribution strategies for global enterprises. He holds numerous Volunteer Not-for-Profit Directorships ranging from Human Rights, Disabilities, Arts and Sports.

He is also an Advisory Board Member of the Securities and Investments Institute of Asia Pacific and a Director of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Foundation. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australia, Fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and Member of the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

Mr Selvamanickam SINNATHAMBY has been awarded OAM of the Order of Australia in the General Divison for service to the community, particularly through the church.

Mr Selvamanickam SINNATHAMBY is the Vice-President since 1990 of the Gnaesha Temple Brisbane.

Prof. Tissa WIJERATNE has been awarded OAM of the Order of Australia in the General Divison for service to medicine as a neurologist.

Prof. Tissa WIJERATNE (image source: Twitter)

Prof. Tissa WIJERATNE is a senior Neurologist, Visiting Professor of Neurology and Chair of the Department of Neurology and Stroke at Western Health (Victoria, Australia). He holds chair positions on the International Working Group for Young Neurologists and Trainees; Chair, Special Interest Group for Headaches and Migraines, World Federation of NeuroRehabilitation and the Global Policy and Advocacy committee with the World Federation of Neurology.

Prof. Wijeratne was the first Australian neurologist to be elected as a member of the International Committee with the American Academy of Neurology and was awarded the prestigious Donald M Palatucci Advocacy Leadership in 2008. For his contribution to global neurological education and leadership, he became one of the first neurologist in the world to be bestowed the Ted Munsat Award (World Federation of Neurology, 2017).

As a firm believer in the power of education and equity in healthcare. Prof. Wijeratne is committed to bridging the divide between “rural and urban” and the “developing and developed world”. He founded the David Marsden Memorial Annual Movement Disorders Symposium and successfully advocated for free membership of Movement Disorders Society for neurologists from low to middle income countries. He also launched the world’s first Global Migraine Bill of Rights at Genova, WFNR in March 2019 .

Recipients announced in the list will be invested with their awards in the coming months, either by the Governor-General at Government House in Canberra, or by the State Governors or Administrator of the Northern Territory, where COVID–19 restrictions allow.