Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Professor Ron McCallum AO named NSW Senior Australian of the Year

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, today congratulated Professor Ron McCallum AO on his selection as the New South Wales Senior Australian of the Year for 2011.

“Professor McCallum has an outstanding record in advocating for the rights of people with disability and is a deserving recipient of the award,” Senator McLucas said.

“He is an accomplished Australian and an outstanding role model.”

Professor McCallum is a professor of law and a former Dean of Law at the University of Sydney, making him the first totally blind person to have been appointed to a full professorship in any field at any university in Australia.

In 2008, Professor McCallum was elected to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Last year, the Committee selected Professor McCallum to be its chair, and this year he has been re-elected as a member for a four-year term. The Australian Government is confident he will continue to make a significant contribution.

Professor McCallum was in 2008 appointed to the Australian Government’s National People with Disabilities and Carer Council.

He has vigorously advocated for equal rights for working people across the world and was the first President of the Australian Labour Law Association from 2001 to 2009.

In 2006, Professor McCallum was awarded an Order of Australia for services to academia and Australia’s disability sector.

The Australian of the Year Awards provides all Australians with the opportunity to recognise someone who makes them proud. The Senior Australian of the Year Award recognises those Australians aged 60 and over who continue to contribute to the community even in their more senior years.

The NSW award recipients will now join recipients from all other states and territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2011 in Canberra.