Vale Sue Salthouse

About  >  Vale Sue Salthouse

Image of Sue Salthouse holding 2020 ACT State Recipient Senior Australian of the Year award at the Australian of the Year Awards Ceremony. The award is a translucent glass trophy with her name engraved at the base.

Sue Salthouse receiving 2020 ACT State Recipient Senior Australian of the Year award. 
Canberra, January 2020.

Source:  Australian of the Year Awards website, National Australia Day Council

On 20 July 2020 we lost our dear friend Sue Salthouse, a driving force of Rights & Inclusion Australia, and many other organisations in the ACT and nationally. Sue was killed returning home on her beloved motorbike, which so many of us have fond memories of her riding in her wheelchair through all weathers that Canberra had to hurl at her. It was a shock to the whole community, and Sue’s contribution over many years to the ACT and Australia has been recognised by the establishment of the Sue Salthouse Leadership Fund, which will be administered by Hands Across Australia.

The new Rights & Inclusion Australia (R&IA) website could not go live without a tribute from the staff and members, our way of saying thank you to a great woman whose strength and leadership has inspired so many other women, with and without disability, to call out injustice and discrimination and take positive steps to address inequity across our society. Sue was a feminist and someone who not only believed in the potential of young women with disability to take on positions of leadership, but also put her beliefs into action and was at the centre of so many activities that have made a real difference to the opportunities that are available to women with disability in the ACT and beyond. She also strode the world stage, representing R&IA at the United Nations Twelfth Conference of State Parties, COSP 12, held in New York in June 2019, where she participated in discussions about the progress toward the ambitions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in Australia and across the world.

At the time of her death Sue was the 2020 ACT State Recipient Senior Australian of the Year, and increasingly her passion for rights and combatting injustice was inclusive of older women with disability. There is no equivalent for older people to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and this crucial aspect of the human rights of older people is likely to become a focus of Rights & Inclusion Australia, particularly in the aftermath of the Aged Care Royal Commission.

On a personal note, Sue was very supportive of my application to work heading up ADACAS in the ACT from 2018 to late 2020, and we enjoyed a close collaboration on a number of projects and plans during that time. Sue was instrumental to the success that R&IA has had in obtaining grant funding from both the ACT and the Australian Governments, as well as being a super-efficient administrator for R&IA, increasing our membership and encouraging donations. She is, quite simply, irreplaceable, and we will miss her and never forget her.

Michael Bleasdale