Professor Tom Calma AO

Human rights and social justice advocate

2023 Senior Australian of the Year

Professor Tom Calma AO is one of Australia’s most respected human rights and social justice campaigners.

The Kungarakan Elder has worked for more than 45 years at local, community, state and international levels championing the rights, responsibilities and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

His call for Australia to address the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples was the catalyst for the Close the Gap Campaign. He was instrumental in establishing the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples; has led the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program; co-chaired Reconciliation Australia for over a decade; and has co-led the co-design of a Voice to Parliament initiative.

Currently Chancellor of the University of Canberra, Tom is an active volunteer, consultant and the first Indigenous Australian inducted as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Tom believes education is the key to advancing Indigenous peoples and says his father remains his inspiration behind his life’s work.