2017 Victorian Young Australian of the Year, Speaker, Writer, Educator
Jason Ball has been labeled a ‘disruptor’, one of the ‘most influential Melburnians’ and awarded the 2017 Young Australian of the Year. A passionate community advocate, he was the catalyst behind the world’s first AFL Pride Game and is highly regarded for his work in support of LGBTI equality and mental health.
An insightful and resolute keynote speaker, Jason Ball draws on his own experiences and those of the broader community to empower his audiences – whether youth, corporate or community groups – to take action for positive change.
Since coming out in 2012, Jason has become a national figurehead on combatting homophobia in sport and highlighting the damaging impact of homophobia on the mental health and wellbeing of the LGBTI community.
This leadership has seen Jason take up ambassadorial roles at beyondblue and the Safe Schools Coalition, sharing his story of coming out with thousands of people in schools, workplaces and sporting clubs.
In 2016 Jason stood as a candidate for the Greens in the Federal seat of Higgins, where he increased the Greens vote by over 8%.
Jason’s grassroots activism was the catalyst behind the AFL’s first ever ‘Pride Game’ played between St Kilda and Sydney in Round 21 of the 2016 Premiership season. The match was the first of its kind for a professional sporting competition in the world, and saw the 50m lines at Etihad Stadium painted in rainbow colours as a gesture of acceptance and inclusion for the LGBTI community within the AFL.
Jason’s significant contribution to public life was honoured in May 2016 by the University of Melbourne with the Arts Alumni Rising Star Award recognising his “outstanding level of personal achievement and community involvement”. Further, the Council of Australian Humanist Societies honoured Jason’s advocacy within mental health and LGBTI equality by naming him the Young Australian Humanist of the Year for 2016.
In 2012 Jason was included in The Age’s Top 100 most influential Melburnians and was featured among The Advocate’s Top 25 Most Notable Comings Out of 2012. He was named LGBTI Sports Person of the Year at the 2nd annual GLOBE Community Awards in 2015. The awards recognise outstanding contributions and achievements in the LGBTI community in Victoria. He was also a finalist for LGBTI Person of the Year at the same event.
Pop culture and news website Junkee included Jason in ‘The Disruptors’, their list of thirty people “changing the game for young Australia”. Other disruptors included Waleed Aly, Adam Goodes and Marita Cheng. Ball was also featured in Executive Style magazine’s list of The 10 men who mattered in Australia in 2015.
Jason is highly sought after as a speaker in the corporate world, and has delivered keynote addresses to numerous ASX Top 100 companies including SEEK, NAB, ANZ and Macquarie Group. His advocacy has gained him the support of high profile figures including beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett, Human Rights Lawyer Julian Burnside, former Australian of the Year Professor Pat McGorry, the US Ambassador to Australia John Berry, and former Justice of the High Court, Michael Kirby.
Jason has also been a champion of mental health reform and in his role as government relations officer for a national youth mental health research centre he has been at the coalface of change, harnessing new technologies to support children, teens and young adults struggling with mental ill health. He regularly visited Canberra in this role, working with politicians from all sides of politics to invest more in this chronically under-funded sector.
Jason had the audience highly engaged in his story, in his experience and in his beautifully articulated broader commentary on diversity and the importance of being true to ourselves and inclusive of others. Our event was significantly enhanced by Jason’s presence
Jason’s message of empowerment was inspiring, insightful and further built our momentum for LGBTI inclusion at work
Jason was exceptional. He spent over an hour with young people before the event started and they were overawed, thrilled and greatly helped by him in myriad ways. His presentation was superb. Constant rounds of applause throughout and many people on their feet for the final ovation
-Rainbow Network Tasmania
Jason you are an amazing person who has really connected with our students. Today you changed the world a little bit and made it a much better place. We are so honoured to have met you. I can’t thank you enough. You are an inspiration.
-Merrilands Community Centre
Jason’s courage and conviction in sharing his incredible story in such an articulate and moving manner was inspirational to our school and left an incredible mark on everyone
-Melbourne Grammar student
Jason responded in a thoughtful and generous way to the needs of our students. His presentation had a big impact, empowering students to take action to make positive change. We’d recommend Jason to any school interested in advancing discussions about how best to support student diversity and wellbeing.