Barrister and human rights advocate Julian McMahon is a finalist for this year’s Australian of the Year.
McMahon, who studied law in Melbourne, has worked to save the lives of Australians facing the death penalty overseas for the past 13 years and is now a tireless campaigner against the death penalty.
Since the execution of Chan and Sukumaran, McMahon has presented at the Asian Regional Congress on the Death Penalty in Malaysia and continues to speak out around the world.
In 2002, McMahon, who was a relatively new barrister at the time, worked on Van Tuong Nguyen’s case, who was ultimately executed for drug trafficking. Since then, McMahon has worked on the cases of George Forbes in Sudan and the Bali Nine members.
“I would say that lots of people have difficult or demanding jobs and lives, but what I do is nothing compared to lifetime carers of people suffering serious disabilities,” he said.
“I just feel embarrassed when people say `you're so amazing', when the fact is I'm doing my work the best I can and it's not as hard as what a lot of people have to do.”
If he becomes Australian of the Year, McMahon said he will educate young people on the death penalty and continue to help society’s most marginalised people, according to a report by Yahoo.
“If I was privileged to get that nomination, I would aim to use it to benefit the most marginalised people in society and the volunteers that help them.”