Anti-violence emergency doctor Senior Australian of the Year


25 January 2016

By Heath Aston, Political Reporter, The Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney emergency doctor Gordian Fulde named Senior Australian of the Year

“… Dr Fulde has spoken out for years about alcohol-fuelled violence …”

Professor Gordian Fulde, the longest-serving head of an emergency department in Australia, is the Senior Australian of the Year.

His three decades in charge at St Vincent’s and Sydney Hospital count for more than that, considering the inner-city hospital is on the front line of Sydney’s sometimes infamous nightlife and treats more than its fair share of bashing victims, drug addicts and homeless.

“As a young person would say, ‘OMG’,” Professor Fulde said, accepting the award.

“But … it’s really not about me. What it is about is us as a community.”

Professor Fulde said Australia did not want drugs and alcohol “causing so much damage and devastation”.

“We really do not need to be drunk and ugly or out of it to enjoy this fantastic country.”

The indefatigable Dr Fulde has spoken out for years about alcohol-fuelled violence on the city’s party strips, including Kings Cross, just a short walk from his emergency room’s front door.

He was a central figure in the push for lock-out laws in the Cross after the one-punch death of teenager Thomas Kelly in 2012 and is a board member of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation.

Dr Fulde has been named Senior Australian of the Year at a time when, after years of campaigning to alter the culture of drunken violence, he is seeing signs of change.

“It would appear the message is finally getting through,” he told Fairfax Media on January 1 after a quieter than normal New Year’s Eve.

“We have realised as a society you don’t have to be totally drunk and ugly to enjoy some of the most fabulous fireworks in the world.”
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