A runner-up for Australian of the year has issued an apology after branding this year’s winner David Morrison a “weak and conventional choice”.
Military officer Catherine McGregor was disappointed when Morrison, who used to be her boss in the army, won the award on Tuesday. Catherine was nominated for her work as a transgender military officer and was hoping to win the award herself.
She spoke to members of the press after the awards to vent her frustration at the National Australia Day Council board, saying they did “not have the courage” to choose a transgender winner.
“I thought it was time … It was a weak and conventional choice,” she said, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think I’ll die without seeing a trans Australian of the Year and I think that’s terribly sad.”
She later posted an apology on social media and reportedly apologized to General Morrison in person, saying she had used “poor judgement”.
“I wish to apologise to the National Australia Day Council unconditionally for my remarks in the @star_observer,” she wrote.
“I made a criticism about the choice of [Australian of the Year] based on my personal view that an opportunity had been missed to name an LGBTI Australian. This was poor judgement.”
Speaking about the incident, the National Australia Day Council Board said it was “very disappointed by the comments made today by the Queensland Australian of the Year, Catherine McGregor, and her apology is appreciated and accepted”.