Professor Ron McCallum

Clients wishing to contact Professor McCallum in regards to legal representation can contact us

Ronald C McCallum AO was the foundation Blake Dawson Waldron Professor in Industrial Law in the University of Sydney Law School.

Ronald C McCallum He took up this position in January 1993 and retired from this position on 30 September 2007. This Blake Dawson Waldron professorship was the first full professorship in industrial law at any Australian university. Ron is the first totally blind person to have been appointed to a full professorship in any field at any university in Australia or New Zealand. Ron McCallum was employed on a fixed-term contract as a Professor of Labour Law in Sydney Law School from 1 February 2008 until 31 December 2010. In January 2011, he was appointed to an Emeritus Professorship in Sydney Law School.

Professor McCallum has written extensively on labour law matters. Ron taught Administrative Law, Public Law and Labour Law at Sydney Law School at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has also taught Labour Law at the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, Ontario Canada, and at Duke University, North Carolina United States of America. Before commencing teaching at the University of Sydney, he taught at Monash University from 1974 to 1992.

On 1 July 2002, Professor McCallum commenced his five year term as Dean of Sydney Law School. His term as Dean of Law concluded on 30 September 2007. Ron is the first totally blind person to be appointed to the Deanship of a Law School in Australia or New Zealand. Ron was also the inaugural president of the Australian Labour Law Association, and he served in that role from February 2001 to November 2009. As President, in September 2009 in Sydney, he hosted the XIX World Congress of the International Society for Labour and Social Security Law. From September 2006 to September 2009, Professor McCallum served as the Asian regional Vice-President of the International Society for Labour and Social Security Law.

In September 2003, Ron was elected as the Chair of Radio for the Print Handicapped of New South Wales Co-Operative Ltd which operates radio 2RPH, which reads out over the air newspapers and magazines for blind and for other print handicapped listeners. On 28 February 2011, he relinquished his position as Chair, and resigned from the Board in March 2012. Since 2006, he has been a member of the Board of Vision Australia Pty Ltd, and in November 2006 he was appointed as one of the two Deputy-Chairs of this Board. Vision Australia assists blind and vision impaired people in Australia, but especially in the States of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and in the Northern Territory.

On 3 September 2008, the Australian Government nominated Professor McCallum as its candidate for election to the inaugural United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Committee of Experts oversees the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Convention came into force on 3 May 2008. On 3 November 2008, Professor McCallum was elected as one of twelve persons who served on the inaugural Committee of Experts. At its inaugural meeting in February 2009, Professor McCallum was made General Rapporteur for the Committee. At its second meeting in October 2009, Professor McCallum was unanimously elected as 2010 Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. On 1 September 2010, Professor McCallum was re-elected in New York to the Committee of experts for a four year term which will conclude on 31 December 2014. On 11 April 2011 at the Committee's 5th session, Professor McCallum was elected as Chair for a further two year term which concluded at the beginning of the ninth session of the Committee which was held from 15 to 19 April 2013. Professor McCallum is now a Vice-Chairperson of the CRPD Committee.

In October 2008, Professor McCallum was appointed as a member of the National People with Disabilities and Carer's Council, and was re-appointed for a further three year term in October 2011. In early July 2010, Professor McCallum was appointed by the Governor of NSW, to the position of Chair of the Disabilities Council of New South Wales on an interim basis until 31 December 2010. This enabled the Government of the State of New South Wales to advertise for, and to fill new positions on the Disability Council.

In early 2003, the Australian Government awarded Professor McCallum a Centenary Medal for his role as a labour law scholar and for his role as a disabled citizen in our nation. In the 2006 Queen's Birthday honours list (12 June 2006), Professor McCallum received the designation of Officer in the Order of Australia for his services to tertiary education, for industrial relations advice to governments, for assistance to visually impaired persons and for social justice. On 11 October 2007, Professor McCallum received the 2007 Alumni Achievement Award of Queen's University Canada where he had undertaken postgraduate studies in law from 1972 to 1974. On 25 November 2010, Professor McCallum was awarded by the Premier of New South Wales, Ms Kristina Keneally, the honour of being declared NSW Senior Australian of the Year for 2011. On 25 January 2011, Professor McCallum was awarded by the Prime Minister of Australia, Ms Julia Gillard, the honour of being Senior Australian for the Year 2011. On 14 February 2011, Professor McCallum received a Making A Difference Award from Mr Rick Hansen and the Rick Hansen Foundation for his work on equal rights and social inclusion.

On 4 October 2012, Professor McCallum received the Monash University Life Time Achievement Award 2012 at a Monash University awards ceremony in Melbourne.

On 7 December 2010, Professor McCallum commenced his consultancy at HWL Ebsworth Lawyers.

On 20 December 2011, Professor McCallum was appointed by the Minister for Workplace Relations etc, Mr Bill Shorten, to a three member panel to review Australia's Fair Work laws, that is Australia's labour and employment law legislation. The review was completed on 15 June 2012. See Towards More Productive and Equitable Workplaces: An Evaluation of the Fair Work Legislation, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra, Australia, 15 June 2012.

In 1982, Professor McCallum was appointed as one of a number of foreign correspondents to the National Academy of Arbitrators. The Academy is the professional body for private labour arbitrators in the United States and Canada. In this role, he has participated in five world-wide comparative labour law studies which have been published in what is now titled the Comparative Labour Law and Policy Journal.

In 2013, Professor McCallum was appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal as one of four new appointments whose role will be to hear National Disability Insurance Scheme matters.

Ron is married to Professor Mary Crock and they have one daughter and two sons. His hobbies include playing the flute, reading, cooking and meditation.

Clients wishing to contact Professor McCallum in regards to legal representation can send an email to

Awards and honours

  • Doctor of Laws, Queen's University Canada, 2016
  • Henry Viscardi Achievement Award, 2014
  • Doctor of Letters (honoris causa), Macquarie University, 2014
  • Michael Kirby Lifetime Achievement Award, 2013
  • Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award, Monash University, 2012
  • NSW Senior Australian of the Year, 2011
  • Alumni Achievement Award, Queen's University Canada, 2007
  • Officer in the Order of Australia, 2006
  • Centenary Medal, 2003