Heidi Yates

Human rights lawyer and community advocate

2023 ACT Australian of the Year Nominee

Heidi Yates is a human rights lawyer and activist whose work has improved the lives of vulnerable people across the community.

Over 18 years, she has advocated for better outcomes for women, elder Australians, people living with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and survivors of violence.

Heidi graduated from the ANU College of Law in 2004 and worked for the next 18 years at Legal Aid ACT, the Women’s Legal Centre and the ACT Human Rights Commission, currently serving as the Victims of Crime Commissioner. She commits her time to assisting community legal services and community organisations, and volunteering.

Heidi has pursued legal changes with far-reaching impacts. She was instrumental in the ACT's ground-breaking move to recognise a nonbinary sex category, and in removing discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people in areas such as parenting, civil partnerships and birth certificates.

Her wins have inspired other communities to demand similar positive change.