Prime Minister Scott Morrison with 2020 Senior Australian of the Year winner Professor John Newnham.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with 2020 Senior Australian of the Year winner Professor John Newnham.

Medical marvel honoured as Senior Australian of the Year

MINISTER for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck has paid tribute to the 2020 Senior Australian of the Year.

Professor John Newnham (AM), of Western Australia, was honoured by Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra.

The award is presented to an Australian over 65 years of age who continues to achieve and contribute to the community.

Prof Newnham is recognised as a world authority in preventing pre-term birth.

He has been described as "an intellectual leader of modern obstetrics who has changed the practice of medicine and the lives of women and infants".

"Prof Newnham's ongoing achievements serve as an example to all Australians," Mr Colbeck said.

"Senior Australians have an incredible amount to offer the rest of the community - their intellect, their capacity for hard work and their experience.

"I would like to pay tribute to Prof Newnham and to the thousands of senior Australians who play crucial roles across the nation in professional, volunteer and community roles.

"This award is a reflection of our national appreciation, admiration and thanks for your efforts."

The Australian Government has been a proud sponsor of the Senior Australian of the Year Award for more than 10 years.

Mr Colbeck also congratulated each of the state and territory finalists for their endeavours across a range of sectors in our community.

"Celebrating the accomplishments of our seniors is important not only to thank them for their work but to remind all Australians that age is just a number, not an indicator of ability," he said.

Other Senior Australian of the Year finalists this year included:

• New South Wales - founder of OzGREEN, Sue Lennox from NSW, teaches people to become "citizen scientists'' and to take action to improve the health of the waterways.

• South Australia - 90-year-old Sylvia McMillan has been an unstoppable community volunteer for more than 50 years after becoming treasurer of her local Legacy club in the late 1960s.

• Queensland - Peter Dornan (AM) helps men with prostate cancer share experiences and seek support. He designed a program to treat incontinence after prostate cancer treatment.

• Victoria - Dr Raymond Sheuy (APM), a former Victorian police officer and assistant commissioner for traffic and operations, is a consultant on road safety and operational safety in Australia and worldwide.