Young Australian hands back award

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First Grader
YOUNG Muslim leader Iktimal Hage-Ali has relinquished her NSW Young Australian of the Year award following the revelation she was arrested over an alleged cocaine supply ring.

Ms Hage-Ali, 22, who is a member of Prime Minister John Howard's Muslim Community Reference Group, was questioned and released last month by Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad detectives investigating an alleged cocaine supply ring.

Ms Hage-Ali has not been charged in relation to the incident.

Since her involvement in the drug bust was reported by Sydney newspapers, Ms Hage-Ali has protested her innocence, saying she has never been involved in drug supply.

But in a statement issued by her lawyer Stephen Hopper, Ms Hage-Ali said she had decided to relinquish her NSW Young Australian of the Year Award, saying her position was no longer tenable.

"It is with a heavy heart that I relinquish this award and I sincerely thank the organisers and the people who have supported me," she said.

"The award should not be tarnished by negative publicity about me.

"I do not want circumstances that effect me to diminish the status of the Award or the fine reputation of people who work hard to make this Award what it is.

Ms Hage-Ali said she contacted National Manager of the Australian of the Year Award Program Tamara Johnson yesterday to inform her she could not hold onto the award given the media coverage.

She has also withdrawn from the Young Australian of the Year national process.

Yesterday, Ms Hage-Ali took leave from her job at the NSW Attorney-General's Department.

The National Australia Day Council later issued a statement saying it had accepted Ms Hage-Ali's decision to relinquish her award.

"Iktimal Hage-Ali has informed the National Australia Day Council that she wishes to relinquish her award as the NSW Young Australian of the Year for 2007," the statement said.

"With regret, we have accepted her decision and thank her for her consideration for the reputation of the Australian of the Year Awards."


So where's Little Johnny gunna get his charlie from now????
please excuse my cynicism but since when did the Australian of the Year Awards have any creditability ...with some exceptions, it is more of a popularity contest...


Journey Man
she alledgedly was caught with hard drugs - so this is more of a cop out in case she is charged for that since she knows full well she is gone if they decide to go that way.

At the moment they are seeing whether they have enough evidence against her for the drug ring.


if it were ice she would've been doing well to hide her's not hard to has all the bad effects of the other drugs thrown into one


Journey Man
That's what happens when you give an award as a sop to a troublesome community - it will always come back to bite you.

Maybe they should try to award these things on merit in future, not on colour of skin ar ethnic background.

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