Dr Suzanne Packer named 2019 Senior Australian of the Year

6 February 2019

The Australian National University (ANU) is delighted to congratulate Dr Suzanne Packer of the ANU Medical School for being named 2019 Senior Australian of the Year, the second year running an ANU staff member has been awarded the honour.

Dr Packer, a paediatrician who has worked to prevent child abuse with the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, said it is her dream for Australia to one day be recognised as the best place in the world to be a child.

"By the current measures our Australian children are not doing as well as they could - middle of the pack, certainly not leaders," Dr Packer said in her acceptance speech.

"If we want to improve, we adults are the ones who need to change. 

"No more belated apologies, we need to notice children, curious about their lives. Be it our own children, children I the neighbourhood or the children on Nauru.

"If our situation in Australia is to improve, then all of us must first learn to truly value all children irrespective of their circumstances, as full members of our society who are learning from all of us.

"We are a small but wealthy nation, and we already have a reputation for punching above our weight, surely our children should be our first priority."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC congratulated Dr Packer on her remarkable career.

"To be recognised as Senior Australian of the Year is a great honour," he said.

"On behalf of the University, I want to thank Sue for her incredible contribution to the lives of Australian children over many years," Professor Schmidt  said.

"Dr Packer is a highly valued member of the ANU community and an inspiration for the next generation of medical researchers."

Other members of the ANU community recognised in the Australia Day Honours include Professor Frank Bongiorno of the ANU School of History, and Seismologist Emeritus Professor Brian Kennett of the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

Dr Packer takes over from ANU scientist Professor Graham Farquhar AO who won the 2018 Senior Australian of the Year award for his work in plant biophysics and photosynthesis.