Past Award Nominees and Recipients
Senior Australian of the Year
2018 WA Senior Australian of the Year Nominee
Dr Betsy BuchananState: Western Australia
Aboriginal legal and welfare advocate
For the past four decades, Dr Betsy Buchanan has worked voluntarily to improve the lives of Aboriginal people. Betsy’s interest in Indigenous issues sprang from a childhood growing up in a small country town near a mission. After graduating in law in 1971, she worked in the Crown Solicitors office before volunteering as a legal and social welfare advocate for Aboriginal people. Betsy established Western Australia’s first community law centre in 1976. Today, there are 280 centres throughout the state. She has worked tirelessly as an advocate on cases from housing evictions to child sexual abuse and the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody. Betsy continues her life’s work today at the Daydawn Advocacy Centre in Perth, supporting people threatened with losing their homes or their children, facing domestic violence or those in need of injury compensation. Betsy doesn’t just tackle legal matters, she also provides financial assistance, a compassionate ear and support as people face some of life’s greatest challenges.