After a lifetime of outstanding achievements including winning the esteemed "Triple Crown of Acting" – an Academy Award, a Tony and an Emmy. Geoffrey Rush was today named “Australian of The Year.”

Rush, who accepted the award in Canberra on Wednesday, said he was lucky his career coincided with an expansion in the Australian arts scene. "Hopefully there are footsteps for young Australians to follow proudly," he said in a video presentation ahead of the award announcement.

The 60-year-old also has three British Academy Film and Television Awards, two Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, a number of AFI awards and has been inducted into the ranks of Australia's elite performing artists with a Helpmann Award.. and yet the illusive Logie award is yet to adorn his mantle. 

Rush said later he was proud to be an Australian and part of its vibrant arts culture.
"We are the plucky country.  We told that at any given moment we are no further than a few metres away from spider – this statistic is now also true for the arts. Unfortunately, like spiders, it means we can be invisible – some people, too many, don't know we're there. But I know that hard-wired into every Australian from every background we love acting the goat, taking the mickey, cracking a joke, spinning a yarn."

Rush also paid tribute to Australia's arts workers.