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Sister Jane Keogh AM

 An “inner need to stand up for truth and fairness” is the motivating factor for Sister Jane Keogh AM and her advocacy work for asylum seekers.

She has been a Bridgidine Sister since the 1960s, and is a human rights advocate for refugees in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Sister Jane is a founding member of Operation #NotForgotten, a community-led response to provide private sponsorship to Canada for refugees who were detained on Manus Island and Nauru, and has been a member of the Refugee Action Campaign in the ACT since the early 2000s. 

For her work, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through social welfare advocacy, and to primary education. 

“I think I have managed to bring to some people who have little reason to hope the courage to keep going, knowing that I and thousands of other Australians are with them,” she says. 

“It is seeing so many others working in different ways to make this world a better place that keeps me going.”

Sister Jane was also recognised for her previous roles in schools, including principal at Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School in Kellyville, St Brigid’s in Coonamble, and St John’s School in Narraweena. 

She says there are thousands of people she would like to thank. 

“My first thought was for my father, who received an MBE for services to the Commonwealth,” she says. 

“My Brigidine Sisters, the Refugee Action Campaigners across Australia, local and on Facebook – 22 years and they never give up. The Canadian MOSAIC team that works with us to sponsor about 150 of Australia’s offshore refugee contingent. 

“My Manus Lives Matter team in Canberra, and my closest colleagues and friends, Karen and Janette who mostly succeed in stopping me from doing anything stupid.”