Celebrated Aboriginal elder involved in national and international Indigenous affairs
Tom Calma AO is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group south west of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, state, national and international level, working in the public sector for over 40 years.
Mr Calma has broad experience in Australian public administration. In 2010, Mr Calma coordinated the fight against tobacco use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. From 2004 to 2010, he was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2006, he chaired the Close the Gap Steering Committee for Indigenous Health Equality.
Mr Calma has served in roles relating to Indigenous and mainstream employment, community development and education, and as Senior Adviser to the Minister of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Internationally, Mr Calma has worked as a senior Australian diplomat in India and Vietnam representing Australia’s interests in education and training from 1995 to 2002.
Mr Calma has received many accolades for his decades of public service, particularly in relation to his work in education, training and employment in Indigenous communities. These include being appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia and honorary doctorates from Charles Darwin University and Curtin University. In 2010, Mr Calma was named by Australian Doctor Magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential People in medicine in Australia.