Federal Minister for Senior Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, today congratulated the eight finalists of the Senior Australian of the Year award at a special afternoon tea.


This year marks 20 years since the Senior Australian of the Year was first awarded in 1999 during the International Year of Older Persons.


“This important award recognises exceptional individuals aged over 65 who have made an outstanding contribution to Australia,” Minister Wyatt said.


“It highlights and showcases the significant work of older Australians and acknowledges the valuable contribution we make to the community.


The eight finalists for the Award, one from each state and territory, are:


·         Dr Sue Packer AM (ACT), a paediatrician and child advocate, promoting child development, preventing child abuse and neglect and standing up for the rights of children.

·         Pioneer mathematician and computer scientist Ms Alison Harcourt (Vic).

·         Ms Sally Wise (Tas), kitchen guru, author, media presenter and nutrition advocate.

·         Mr Reg Dodd (SA), an Arabunna elder who has spent a lifetime advocating for his people and promoting reconciliation.

·         Mr Frank Mallard (WA), a Yamatji elder and ambassador and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women.

·         Gurinjdi man, Mr Charlie King OAM (NT), a campaigner for human rights, particularly against domestic violence, and a veteran sports broadcaster.

·         Scientist, researcher and humanitarian Professor James Dale (Qld), a leader in significant research programs in agricultural biotechnology.

·         Ms Heather Lee OAM (NSW), an unstoppable athlete, cancer support volunteer and fundraiser.


“Senior Australians continue to play an important role in our communities, by working to keep our volunteering and community based organisations viable and providing valuable mentoring to our younger generations,” Minister Wyatt said.


The winner of the 2019 Senior Australian of the Year will be announced at an Awards ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra on 25 January 2019.


More details of the Australian of the Year Awards 2019 are available at