Let’s get rid of the Australian of the Year award

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the placement of Australia Day and how it should
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There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the placement of Australia Day and how it should be moved in our calendar to avoid offending indigenous people, and with that in mind there has been a call for the Australian of the Year award to be pulled.

In a piece written by Catherine McGregor and published by the Herald Sun in its RendezView magazine, she suggests that no longer is the award connected with ordinary Australians it is instead “the ultimate elite club” and it needs to go.

Coincidentally, McGregor was a finalist for Australian of the Year in 2016.

You might recall McGregor lost out to General David Morrison AO and said some very ungracious things following the announcement. While she has since apologised for her behaviour, she also acknowledges now that she was “way out of line”.

She says now that there is a great deal of ego attached to being nominated but in hindsight she was nothing more than a token.

“The committee called me a ‘Diversity Champion’ without consulting me. As many of you know I am pretty conservative and am an outspoken opponent of Safe Schools,” McGregor writes. “I support Marriage Equality and I will fight hard to see every transgendered person gets the great reception that I have had.”

You would be forgiven for thinking McGregor is a bit of a sore loser for writing about the Australian of the Year award in such a way, but then you might agree with some of the points she raises.

First, that Australia as a country is a prosperous, cohesive and successful nation. We commemorate our sacrifice in war through ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. There are many other opportunities for people’s service to the community to be acknowledged.

Recipients of the Australian of the Year award have included some worthy recipients, such as Fred Hollows, Fiona Woods, Ian Frazer and Kay Cottee, but in recent years some would consider that the award has been tainted by being given to those who use it as a platform for activism. The aforementioned Morrison, Rosie Batty and Adam Goodes for example.

Where do you sit on this issue? Has Australia outgrown the Australian of the Year award? Or do you see those deserving receiving the award?

  1. chris-toefur  

    I agree that in recent years the Australian of the year award is just thrown at whoever. Adam Goodes only got his because her was called a Gorilla, by a child…

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  2. Dianne Hall  

    I agree it does not reflect or represent many Australians there are so many in communities that do so much to assist their community. Perhaps choosing a community to acknowledge their contribution to the Australian way of life would be a better idea.

    Also thinking about changing Australia Day will only divide our nation. Why not commemorate a date, such as 28 June (l believe) where the first Europeans were prosecuted for the massacre of aboriginals at Myall creek. This could replace the Queens birthday holiday (not even the British get this) and all Australians could learn about Aboriginal culture and remember just like ANZAC day.

    • William  

      Unless you want a job in the ‘indigenous’ realm somewhere, learning about their ‘culture’ is useless in 99% of jobs!

      As for learning their ‘language’, which is done in WA, that’ll go a long (?) way helping one travelling through Europe, or South America…….NOT!

  3. Karen O'Brien-Hall  

    It seems to me there is a Tall Poppy Syndrome working here – why shouldn’t people who excel, whether I agree with what it is they choose to excel at, be denied recognition? I haven’t agreed with some choices, so what? Perhaps many of us agreed with the award going to John Farnham – he seems to epitomise the land of the “fair go”, but what may not be recalled is that he had to be naturalised before the award ceremony as he was still a Two pound pom (oops are you allowed to say that anymore?)

    I do prefer to see people in the sciences arts, law, etc receive the award rather than sportspersons, but that is my preference and just as many people would disagree as would agree.

    I think we should keep the Australian of the Year.

  4. Kent  

    It has to go. When a panel of judges use identity politics to select, it not only demeans the accolade, it stirs dissent.

  5. Albert  

    Two of its’ recipients’ of late, Goodes, & Morrison definitely should NOT have received it!

    I support scrapping it totally.

    As for moving Australia Day, because it supposedly ‘offends’ aboriginals, who are not even 2% of the Country’s population, WHY?

    It’s comparable to Islamists’ wanting to get rid of our Christian traditions’.

    • Josephine B  

      I agree with Albert to the extent that the right people aren’t receiving the award anymore, so scrap it. On the other hand, I feel that “local councils” could recognize a person in their own community and award them on Australia Day before they naturalize any new citizens to our country in showing the new that THEY too can possibly “in time” be proven to be worthy of such an award, but ONLY if they REALLY EARN such an award. This way we may be able to all live in harmony and peace with each other no matter what country we originated from, to REALLY BE ALL “ONE NATION”.

  6. Pamela  

    Batty should not have got it either.

  7. Kay  

    Yeah get rid of it! It’s handed out to anyone, to people who haven’t really achieved anything to deserve the award.

  8. The State and National Titles are nowadays totally politicalised.

    To win it in Tasmania , being a Greenie or Gay helps win it

    They should be scrapped.

    The local ones for a Shire or Council are better because genuine contenders are in the selection ..

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