Catherine McGregor has apologised to the National Australia Day Council and David Morrison after calling Morrison a weak choice in an interview on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Star Observer -- a pro LGTBI online publication -- McGregor, who was the most senior transgender military officer in the world, said Morrison used her former name in media interviews following the awards ceremony.
“He’s on a steep learning curve when it comes to LGBTI and trans issues, he needs to learn a lot and rapidly,” McGregor told the Star Observer.
According to the media outlet, the Queensland Australian Of The Year also said she felt disappointed for the wider trans community when Morrison was named Australian Of The Year.
“I felt sad for two reasons, one was I like to win things,” McGregor said.
“I felt really sad that they (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.
“I think I’ll die without seeing a trans Australian of the Year and I think that’s terribly sad.”
Shortly after the article was published online, McGregor took to Twitter to retract and apologise for her comments:
I wish to apologise to the National Australia Day Council unconditionally for my remarks in the @star_observer . I made a criticism about— Catherine McGregor (@CateMc3273) January 27, 2016
the choice of AOTY based on my personal view that an opportunity had been missed to name an LGBTI Australian. THis was poor judgement.— Catherine McGregor (@CateMc3273) January 27, 2016
I am entrely accountable for this and withdraw this aspersion unreservedly. I had spoken in the context of the recipient fine record in the— Catherine McGregor (@CateMc3273) January 27, 2016
realm of women's right. However there had been some discussion the use of my former name on some tran sites and I made the point that this— Catherine McGregor (@CateMc3273) January 27, 2016
revealed a lack of insight into trans and LGBTI issues which I hoped the recipient may overcome during his tenure. MY language was wrong— Catherine McGregor (@CateMc3273) January 27, 2016
I apologise to David Morrison and to the selection committee. I will not make further comment on this issue— Catherine McGregor (@CateMc3273) January 27, 2016
Feel free to check my FB post about DM also. I made it clear that HE not ME deserved the credit for his you tube speech in 2013. It was his.— Catherine McGregor (@CateMc3273) January 27, 2016
The National Australia Day Council responded to the apology in a statement released on Wednesday night.
"The National Australia Day Council Board (NADC) is very disappointed by the comments made today by the Queensland Australian of the Year, Catherine McGregor, and her apology is appreciated and accepted," the statement read.
"The Board stands by its decision to select David Morrison as the 2016 Australian of the Year as a champion of diversity and for marginalised communities in Australia, including the LGBTI community.
"The NADC looks forward to working with David, Catherine and all the 2016 Australian of the Year finalists, all remarkable Australians, to make our great nation even better."
McGregor also announced in her interview with the Star Observer she has resigned from her position in the ADF and will dedicate her time to trans advocacy and community work in her role as Queensland Australian Of The Year.