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Young Australian Of The Year Finalist Paints Climate Message On Body During Award Ceremony

A Canberra environmentalist has attracted huge praise after painting 'Climate Justice' on her body during an Australian Of The Year award ceremony.

Madeline Diamond was named the ACT's Young Australian Of The Year, joining other state and territory winners on stage in Canberra on Saturday night for the national awards. Tennis star Ash Barty, Queensland's winner, was named the overall Young Australian Of The Year, but Diamond's appearance almost stole the headlines.

She turned up to the awards in a blue top, with the words CLIMATE JUSTICE written in large black and red paint across her chest and shoulders.

A tweet from AAP photographer Mick Tsikas racked up more than 1100 retweets, as of time of writing.

Diamond was honoured for her contribution to the environment, so her statement probably won't come as a surprise.

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The Australian Of The Year website details her work in founding an organisation called Trash Gather, "a youth-led community group that meets every month to pick up rubbish in public areas in Canberra – as well as advocating for waste free solutions."

ACT's 2020 Young Australian of the Year finalist Madeline Diamond. Image: AAP

"Under Madeline's leadership, young people are working together to take control of the future they would like to see. A 100 percent volunteer-powered organisation, Trash Gather has established sister groups in Yass and Canberra, and is working to establish groups in other towns and cities," her bio states.

"Madeline is also the Executive Officer of SEE-Change, a community organisation encouraging Canberrans to live more sustainably, and supporting grassroots environmental action around the ACT."

Diamond also initiated the Young Changemakers Workshop, oversees the annual Parliament of Youth on Sustainability event, and recently won an ACT government grant to host a sustainability-focused film festival.

Diamond told SBS after the awards ceremony that she had pressed her message about climate change directly to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a national platform to talk about the most pressing issue as the human race," she told SBS.

"How many times do I get to be in the same room as the prime minister and really send a message that is so important that our leaders need to step up, Australia as a country needs to step up because this is really urgent."

"At the end of the day climate change is dangerous and to not act on climate change is an injustice."

Her award ceremony appearance won her some new fans online.

Dr James Muecke was named the overall Australian Of The Year winner.

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