The Australian of the Year awards caused quite a media stir at the beginning of the year, but for all the wrong reasons. As soon as the prestigious event was over, there were claims of suspicious and illegal betting on the Australia Day winner.
The National Australia Day Council, the body that organizes the event and the award ceremony, reported the suspicious betting activity to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission on January 25.
However, it has now decided to report the suspicious wagering on the event to the police. National Australia Day Council chief executive, Karlie Brand, said that the matter has now been reported to the police and that the AFP will deal with it from now on.
Odds of $1.36 for the Eventual Winner
Tasmanian Grace Tame, a sexual assault survivor, was named as 2021 Australian of the Year. The Tasmanian was the bookies’ favourite ahead of the ceremony and was priced at minimal odds of $1.36.
Chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, was the second favourite but had much longer odds of $3.50.
Before the event had started, 191 people working on it signed non-disclosure agreements. These people might have known who the winner was going to be, but pledged not to say anything before the winner was officially announced.
In the non-disclosure agreement, there was a specific non-betting clause that was inserted to prevent contractors, broadcasters, and all staff working on the event from betting on it.
A Betting Ban on the Event
Ms Brand said that if it were up to her, she would have supported banning all forms of betting on the awards. However, after inquiring about this, she was told that it was a Northern Territory government matter.
Ms Brand also added that the National Australia Day Council stood by its decision to select Ms Tame as 2021 Australian of the Year winner despite the betting scandal.
However, she didn’t want to comment on what Prime Minister Scott Morrison said to Ms Tame right after the awards speech. The Australian PM reportedly told Ms Tame: “Gee, I bet it felt good to get that out”.
Mr Morrison said that he was only trying to emphasize how important the moment must have been for Ms Tame and that she had spoken using a “very strong voice”.