Human rights and anti-racism activist
New South Wales | 2023 Australian of the Year
Craig Foster AM is one of Australia’s most powerful voices for the disadvantaged. The former Socceroo captain and award-winning sports broadcaster has spent the past decade campaigning for marginalised communities and refugee rights. He also promotes anti-racism and what he calls ‘active multiculturalism’ – communities standing together and supporting each other.
Craig has worked to free refugees detained by Australia, on and off shore. He also assisted the Afghan women’s national football team, other athletes, and girls and women to escape Afghanistan when the Taliban regained power in 2021.
At 15, I discovered the beauty of multiculturalism through football. That became a lifelong passion and I came to understand that Australia’s beautiful diversity, in itself, does not mean belonging. Multiculturalism is about each of us stepping across cultural differences and boundaries. Every one of us needs to stand up and speak out.
In 2018 Craig led a humanitarian campaign to free Hakeem al-Araibi from detention in Thailand. Hakeem fled Bahrain in 2014 and was given asylum in Australia. He settled in Melbourne and played soccer for Pascoe Vale FC. He was on his honeymoon when Thai authorities acted on an Interpol notice issued by Bahrain.
Craig rallied international support and petitioned the Australian Government to intervene on behalf of a fellow footballer. This t-shirt is signed by Craig and Hakeem.
This exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Australia in collaboration with the National Australia Day Council. Portrait images supplied by the National Australia Day Council.