The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia warmly congratulates Fellow Professor Tom Calma AO FASSA FAA on being named the 2023 Senior Australian of the Year.   

In a moving ceremony on Wednesday 25 January, Professor Calma received the award from the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, in recognition of his tireless work for social justice and human rights.   

Academy President Professor Richard Holden welcomed the announcement and extended his congratulations.   

‘Tom Calma is an inspirational leader who is well known for his service and advocacy’, Professor Holden said. ‘The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia is proud to count him among its Fellows’. 

A former Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Calma has long been an advocate for Indigenous communities, human rights and social justice across national and international levels.  

Ms Danielle Roche OAM, Chair of the National Australia Day Council said Tom Calma had ‘dedicated his life and career to being a champion of equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, lighting the path towards reconciliation’.  

Professor Calma took the opportunity of his acceptance speech to address Australians directly about his desire for a true partnership on a Voice to Parliament. You can see a video tribute to Professor Calma and his acceptance speech here. 

Professor Calma was co-chair with Fellow Marcia Langton of the Australian Government’s Senior Advisory Group of the ‘Indigenous voice to government’. co-author of Indigenous voice co-design process: Final report to the Australian Government (2021) and has served as Chancellor of the University of Canberra. His work has previously been recognised in an Order of Australia Award (2012) and as ACT Australian of the Year (2013).   

Professor Calma was elected as a Fellow of the Academy in 2022, and shared his reflections on the award in our New Fellows video. You can also find details of the six Academy Fellows who received honours in the 2023 Australia Day Awards here.