Li Cunxin, more famously known as Mao’s Last Dancer, after the title of his best-selling autobiography, was today named the 2009 Shepherd Centre Australian Father of the Year.

The former ballet dancer, who now lives in Melbourne with his wife and three kids, accepted his award at ceremony this morning at NSW Parliament House, reported The Australian.

The Australian Father of the Year award is presented to ‘high-profile, famous fathers, from prime ministers & politicians to sportsmen and business leaders, acknowledging the support, guidance and love they show to Australian children.’ The award has been running since 1957. Previous winners include John Howard, Steve Waugh and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki