Older Australians recognised

Two remarkable older Australians have been recognised in the Australian of the Year awards.

Senior Australian of the Year, Professor Ron McCallum

The Senior Australian of the Year award has been presented to Australia’s first totally blind professor.

Professor Ron McCallum is a former Professor and Dean of law at the University of Sydney who has campaigned strongly for equal rights.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, congratulated Professor McCallum, saying he had made a significant contribution to the welfare of Australia.

“Professor McCallum has fervently pursed equal rights across the country and is widely regarded for his executive leadership in the disabled community,” Mr Butler said.

“I am pleased that such an extraordinary advocate is being recognised in this way.”

Mr McCallum was the inaugural President of the Australian Labour Law Association from 2001 to 2009.

He currently serves as the chair of Radio for the Print Handicapped of New South Wales Co-operative, which broadcasts readings from newspaper and magazine articles for people who are unable to read.
The minister said the Senior Australian of the Year award showcased and celebrated the achievements of older Australians.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to recognise older Australians who have so much to offer, not just to friends and family, but to the wider community,” Mr Butler said.

The Australia Day Local Hero award went to Donald Ritchie, an 85-year-old suicide prevention advocate.

Mr Ritchie has lived opposite The Gap, a popular suicide site in Sydney, for almost 50 years and in that time, it is conservatively estimated that he has saved more than 160 lives by calmly talking to people who may have considered taking their own lives.

“Mr Ritchie’s kind words and genuine warmth towards his fellow citizens have made an immeasurable difference and touched so many people’s lives. He is a role model for us all and makes us proud to be Australian,” Mr Butler said.

Tags: mark-butler, positive ageing, ron-mccallum, senior-australian-of-the-year,

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