Manuel James Aroney AM, OBE, is a Greek-Australian academic and human rights advocate.
Aroney is the only child of Dimitrios and Stamatina Aronis who were both born in Aroniadika, Kythera, Greece. They met up again in Sydney, married in 1926 in Townsville and then opened the Central Cafe in Mackay, north Queensland, in 1928.
Aroney was born in 1932. He grew up in Mackay and in 1951 was awarded a Queensland Open Scholarship, given to the top 25 students in the state, a Commonwealth Scholarship. He then went to the University of Sydney where he gained a B.Sc. with 1st Class Honours in Physical Organic Chemistry. He completed his M.Sc., and in 1961 his Ph.D., in Polarity, Polarisability and Molecular Structure. He was made a Teaching Fellow in 1955 and in 1961 a tenured lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Sydney.
In 1960 he married Ann Pascalis and has three sons, Dimitrios (Jim) and Theodore Aroney, both doctors, and Stephen Aroney, a lawyer.
Professor Aroney is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London). He is also a Member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences.
In 1975 he was foundation member of the Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW. From 1977-81 he was appointed by the Federal Government as a member of the National Ethnic Broadcasting Advisory Council, charged with advising the Commonwealth Government on multilingual electronic media. From 1978-81 he served as one of four members of the first Board of the Federal Governments Special Broadcasting Service, which made ethnic radio permanent across Australia and, with Bruce Gyngell, established the SBS television service. From 1981-83 he was a member of the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs. From 1981-86 he was a Commissioner of the Commonwealth Human Rights Commission. Its functions included: the review of legislation, investigation of complaints, and the undertaking of research and educational programmes affecting human rights (according to the Human Rights Commission Act 1981).
In 1980 he was granted the honour O.B.E. (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for services to the University and to the community (awarded by the Queen), and in 1989 he was awarded the A.M. (Member of the Order of Australia) given for services to multiculturalism and the Greek community.