I take this opportunity to congratulate Professor Munjed Al Muderis, who has been announced as the 2020 NSW Australian of the Year.

Professor Al Muderis is a remarkable man, with an amazing story, from arriving on a leaking boat, being detained at Christmas Island, to now a pioneering orthopaedic surgeon and human rights advocate, in his own right.

Professor Al Muderis fled Saddam Huseein’s regime, after he refused orders to surgically remove the ears of soldiers in the army who deserted.

Professor Al Muderis left everything in Iraq, his belongings and his loved ones, risking his life to escape Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, before finally arriving in Australia as a refugee.

Professor Al Muderis not only endured a long period in detention, but struggled to gain credibility in our elite medical profession, persevering to become one of Australia’s best orthopaedic surgeons, specialising in hip, knee and reconstructive surgery.

Professor Al Muderis is well known for his renowned surgical innovations, including his osseointegration implant techniques and complex limb reconstruction.

Professor Muderis has been vocal about the discrimination that he endured during his journey to be recognised in the Australian medical profession.

Professor Al Muderis has taken a keen interest in ensuring that we do not advance hate on the basis of religion and cultural differences, noting that this is what makes Australia the successful and vibrant multicultural society that we are proud to be.

Apart from Professor Al Muderi’s significant contribution in research and clinical practice, he displays a strong passion for human rights.

Professor Al Muderis has never forgotten his roots, returning back to his homeland to help victims of conflict and educate other orthopaedic surgeons about the latest research and techniques.

Professor Al Muderis is also an ambassador for a number of humanitarian organisations, including Red Cross, working to support people seeking asylum and refugees.

On behalf of all Australians, I congratulate Professor Al Muderis and thank him for his integral contribution to the Australian medical profession and our wider community.

4 December 2019