MIA Honours & Awards List

Each year the MIA recognises outstanding individuals who promote and enhance the migration profession and the Institute.

Nominations for these six prestigious awards, as well as the pinnacle MIA Life Membership, are open to the membership, to be considered by the Institute's Awards Committee.

Three MIA Awards - Distinguished Service to Australian Immigration; Outstanding Coverage of Migration in the Media; MIA Student of the Year Award - are also open annually to nominations from the wider community.


This is the pinnacle award of the MIA. It is a rare acknowledgement of a worthy and lasting bond with the Institute.

Life Members:

  • Ron Dick

    Ron Dick has provided long and valuable service to the MIA over many years of membership. He has worked tirelessly for the benefit and betterment of the organisation and members.

Past Recipients:

  • Brenton Halligan
  • Len Holt
  • James Barr
  • Michael Bonney
  • Ray Brown
  • Laurette Chao
  • John Gillespie*
  • Dick Glazbrook
  • Stirling Henry
  • Neil Hitchcock
  • David Jolly
  • Vera Poole


This award is for outstanding contribution in the area of CPD or Education. Henry Giblett was an outstanding teacher who became a Migration Agent prior to the establishment of the MIA and took a foundation interest in CPD courses for the migration advice profession. This award celebrates his contribution.

This year there are two awards in this category:

  • George Lombard
  • Lachlan Riches

Both George and Lachlan have contributed enormously to the MIA’s education programmes in our Continuing Professional Development Courses, in our Practice Ready Program for newly registered agents, and in our Immigration Essential for Lawyers courses.

Their professional involvement, ready availability and innovative improvements to our programmes are greatly appreciated by the MIA and course participants. They are true educators and their willingness to mentor and advise members is an exemplar for the profession.

Past winners

  • 2014 Gunter Eitzinger
  • 2014 Helen Duncan
  • 2013 Lester Ong
  • 2012 Professor Mary Crock
  • 2011 Kerry Murphy
  • 2010 Peter Bollard
  • 2009 Jennifer Burn
  • 2008 Vicki Perrett
  • 2007 David Moss
  • 2002 Andrew Cope


This award is for significant and sustained service to members. Deidre Sheekey worked for the MIA from 1998-2007, initially as the sole employee. Dedication, knowledge and commitment to members were the hallmarks of her service to the MIA. This award celebrates her contribution.

This year the award goes to Libby Hogarth

Through her work as a provider of private, IAAAS and pro bono assistance, especially in the humanitarian sector, Libby has become an acknowledged expert in her field. Libby has always been willing to share her knowledge by mentoring many RMAs and assisting in the development and growth of quality Continuing Professional Development courses for the humanitarian sector. As a passionate champion of the vulnerable, and as one who has served on the Board of the MIA and various MIA committees, Libby is an example to others of what true professionalism is.

Past winners

  • 2015 Bronwyn Markey
  • 2014 Jacqui Ure
  • 2013 Josh Bedwell
  • 2012 Kevin Lane
  • 2012 Jemma Still
  • 2011 Brian Jones
  • 2011 Stephen Sinclair
  • 2010 Steven O'Neil
  • 2008 Pieter van der Kwaak
  • 2007 Stirling Henry
  • 2007 John Gillespie*


This award, supported by the ANU College of Law, is presented to an individual or group who, provides pro-bono advice and or/represents clients in cases where the client has no other access to advice and/or the client's case raises a wider issue of public interest.

This year’s awardee is the National Association of Community Legal Centres

The work of Community Legal Centres provide tremendous societal benefit to communities throughout Australia, by letting people have access to legal services, in circumstances where legal representation would be out of reach.

The work of Community Legal Centres is targeted at people experiencing or vulnerable to disadvantage and those with special needs, including migrants.

For several years now money has been consistently cut from the Legal Aid budget and through very trying times many Community Legal Centres have continued to provide migrants with free legal advice, case work and information and a range of community development services. The National Association of Community Legal Centres is part of the wider legal communities push to get better funding for legal aid services in Australia through the Law Council of Australia’s Legal Aid Matters campaign.

Many migrants currently in Australia would not still be here if it weren’t for the legal and advocacy services they received through a Community Legal Centre and for this unwavering support for migrants and other disadvantaged Australian’s needing legal help they should be commended.

Past Winners

  • 2015 Anna Copeland
  • 2014 Human Rights Law Centre
  • 2013 Refugee Advice and Casework Service
  • 2012 David Manne and the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre


This award marks a special contribution being made by an MIA Member or MIA Member's company to and for the MIA and its membership and is offered for services provided voluntarily to advance the migration profession and the objects of the Institute.

This year the award goes to Jennifer Kwok

Jennifer is tireless and passionate in her support for the MIA and our members. She contributes a significant portion of her time to the MIA NSW/ACT Branch Committee as well as assisting in the Practice Ready Program. In May 2016 Jennifer donated her own time to the MIA to travel to China to promote the MIA at the NSW Government Roadshows. Her knowledge and experience is an invaluable asset for the MIA and deserves recognition.

Past winners

  • 2015 Helen Duncan
  • 2014 Maree Elliott
  • 2013 John Hourigan
  • 2012 Helen Friedmann
  • 2012 Jonathan Granger
  • 2012 Chris White
  • 2011 Jane Elliot
  • 2010 David Moss
  • 2010 Arnold Conyer


This award is presented to an individual who has provided continuing service and participation in a field which contributes to Australian immigration, made a significant and noteworthy contribution to Australian immigration, and made a contribution which should be recognised by their peers or the wider community.

This year two awards have been made in this category:

1. Dr Jamal Rifi

Dr Rifi arrived in Australia in 1984. Despite facing challenges with the English language, he successfully completed his studies and qualified as a medical practitioner. Over the years he has earned the respect and admiration of his patients.

Dr Rifi’s generous nature and desire to give back to this country led him to become involved in serving the community, particularly in the areas of youth, family and community development.

He was a founding member of Muslim Doctors Against violence and the Christian Muslim Fellowship Society. His efforts to build harmony between Muslims and non-Muslim communities have been recognised with a Human Rights Medal.

Dr Rifi is a former member of the NSW Medical Advisory Board and a community representative for the Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities.

As the President of the Lakemba Sports Club he has used sport to build bridges between communities and channel young people’s energies into positive activities. He trained the first group of youth from south-western Sydney to become volunteer pool guards, and was instrumental in establishing a programme, called On the Same Wave, to recruit and train Muslim youth as lifesavers at the Cronulla beaches. He also encourages young people to join the State Emergency Service, and in so many ways helps them to take positive career paths.

Dr Rifi recognised what was happening with disenfranchised Muslim youth years ago and started working then to try to do something about it. He is widely acknowledged for his work in trying to prevent the radicalisation of young people in Sydney.

Dr Rifi is always a voice of good sense and wisdom as he strives to have Australians united through shared values.

The boy who studied by candlelight in Tripoli as bombs rained down has become a man who is an inspiration to all Australians.

2. Professor Graeme Hugo

This is a posthumous award, as Professor Hugo sadly passed away earlier this year.

Graeme Hugo was a University Professorial Fellow and Professor of Geography at the University of Adelaide. His specialist field was migration studies.

In 2012 he was awarded the civil honour of Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in recognition of his distinguished service to population research, particularly the study of international migration, population geography and mobility, and through leadership roles with national and international organisations.

Professor Hugo’s was internationally recognised as a population geographer and demographer whose research and persuasive arguments about social policy had an impact well beyond Australia.

Professor Hugo had a long association with the Migration Institute of Australia and many of you will recall his addresses to our conferences and it is fitting that we honour his work with this award.

Award Recipients:

  • 2013 Father Frank Brennan AO
  • 2012 Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AO
  • 2012 Rt Hon Gough Whitlam QC AO
  • 2011 Pino Migliorino
  • 2010 John Gibson*
  • 2009 Andrew Bartlett


This award reflects the importance the media plays in informing and educating the community about migration and immigration issues. It is for a journalist, writer, publisher or broadcaster who has made a significant contribution to public discussion on migration.

This year the award is given to:

  • The Guardian Australia - Nauru Files investigation

The Guardian Australia’s special investigation in the Nauru Files provided an unprecedented look into what is really happening in the administration of Australia’s contracted offshore detention centres. It brought to the forefront of the Australian public’s mind what was actually happening in Nauru and Manus Island and raised headlines internationally too, with the Nauru files being reported by Germany’s Deutsche-Welle, the BBC and CNN, while The Guardian UK’s print version ran the story on its front page in the UK. The Guardian Australia has made a significant contribution to the public discourse on Australia’s immigration program.

Past Winners

  • 2015 Adele Furguson (ABC 4 Corners) and Fairfax Media - Investigations into the exploitation of 7-Eleven migrant workers
  • 2014 Heather Kirkpatrick - Mary meets Mohammad
  • 2012 The journalists of The Australian's Higher Education section
  • 2011 The directors, producers and journalists of the Special Broadcasting Service's Go Back to Where You Came From and Immigration Nation
  • 2010 Peter Mares - National Interest (Radio National - ABC)


This award ´╗┐recognises the achievement of a student who has completed studies during the previous 12 months in a discipline relating to migration and or legal studies.

Award Recipient:

  • Pooja Khatri

Pooja Khatri is an Australian immigration lawyer who completed her undergraduate studies in Law and Commerce at the University of Sydney in 2009 and was admitted as a solicitor and RMA in 2011. Shea has recently completed her Masters in International Development and Law this year also with the University of Sydney. Pooja spent the last year completing her Independent Research Project, which examined Australia’s international human rights obligations towards children detained at the immigration detention facility on Nauru. This project allowed Pooja to examine the international human rights treaties and conventions that Australia is party and to assess the intricacies of Australia’s offshore processing arrangements with Nauru. Pooja was awarded a high distinction grade for her work and is currently in the process of submitting the paper for publication. She hopes to continue her research into the area of offshore processing.

  • Past winners
  • 2015 Not awarded
  • 2014 Blaise Itabelo (Griffith University)
  • 2013 Michael Simmons (Victoria University)
  • 2012 Rachael Adolphe (Australian National University)
  • 2011 Daniel Ghezelbash (University of Sydney)