From The Australian today
Catherine McGregor takes shot at Australian of Year David Morrison
It is supposed to be unifying, dignifying and above reproach. But the freshly minted 2016 Australian of the Year award is embroiled in bitterness, recrimination and division with a finalist from the beaten brigade, transgender military officer Catherine McGregor, shooting down the choice of David Morrison as “weak and conventional”.
A rift between RAAF reservist Group Captain McGregor and her former boss, retired Lieutenant General Morrison, the former chief of the army, was aired in a gay and lesbian journal, the Star Observer, as the nation went back to work after Australia Day celebrations.
“He’s on a steep learning curve when it comes to LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) and trans issues, he needs to learn a lot and rapidly,’’ Group Captain McGregor, a former political adviser, told the journal.
She said Mr Morrison “dead-named” her since her 2012 transition, meaning her commanding officer at the time she was his speech writer in the army had referred to her by her old name, Malcolm, and used “him, he and his” instead of female pronouns.
“It shows a lack of skill on trans issues, he didn’t do it intentionally … but that showed a clunkiness he needs to learn,” she added.
She said she felt “really sad that they (at the National Australia Day Council) did not have the courage to go with an LGBTI person. I thought it was time … it was a weak and conventional choice”.
In a reference to Queensland, where she has not lived for more than 40 years, the new Queenslander of the Year said she “got allocated that state” for the awards.
The Canberra resident’s lack of any recent connection to Queensland raises new questions about how the awards are administered.
Social media devotees immediately tweeted her Star Observer interview, provoking criticism of her for appearing to have sour grapes about the winner’s triumph.
The episode will invite further scrutiny of the probity of the judging process for the Australia Day awards as it defends itself against charges of being overtly politically correct, progressive and cause-driven, instead of merit-based.