Medal of the Order of Australia awarded to ADM+S Investigator
Author Natalie Campbell
Date 29 January 2024
“I am deeply honoured to announce that I have been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia by the Governor General (OAM),” said Prof Harpur.
The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement through their hard-work, service and dedication.
Prof Harpur is a leading international and comparative disability rights legal academic. His focus on disability inclusion forms part of a group of world leading scholars who, individually and collectively, advance ability equality and promote the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities.
Prof Harpur is the first totally blind legal academic to become a full professor in Queensland, at the University of Queensland (UQ). He chairs the UQ Disability Inclusion Group, which supports the university in its implementation of the UQ Disability Action Plan. He also sits on the Academic Board, the University Senate’s sub-committee focusing on inclusion, and on the Senate Committee for Equity Diversity and Inclusion.
“Things are improving. There is an increase in the empowering and resourcing of persons with disabilities to lead the initiatives which impact upon us. The NDIS board is disability led, and we’ve seen the establishment of Universities Enable, a disability led disability steering group for the university sector.
“I believe the higher education sector can help us realise a world that is fairer and more inclusive.
“The higher education sector educates, employs, and produces research that is transforming the world for the better.”
Prof Harpur’s passion and activism is evident in his many previous accolades.
Prof Harpur was appointed an International Distinguished Fellow with the Burton Blatt Institute from 2015 onwards and a 2020 academic fellow of the Harvard Law School Project on Disabilities. He is the holder of a prestigious Fulbright Future Scholarship, and the recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship.
Prof Harpur regularly appears on the news, speaking on disability law and policies. Outside the law, Prof Harpur has previously been a professional athlete with a disability, competing in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Paralympics, the 2002 Manchester and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and a range of other World Titles and international competitions.
“The doors of education are being opened wide to all Australians. With reviews to early childhood, school, and higher education just complete, reforms already started and more to come, I believe more Australians will be able, like me, to turn their dreams into a reality.”