General David Morrison on ABC panel show QandA
General David Morrison on ABC panel show QandA

'I'm notorious for being white Anglo-Saxon heterosexual'

AUSTRALIAN of the Year General David Morrison has faced criticism of his Australian of the Year win while appearing on ABC's Q&A panel show on Monday night.

The decision to give General Morrison the honour, which most thought was due to his fight against sexism in the armed forces, has been repeatedly questioned, particularly by those who felt his work was part of doing his job as Chief of Army at the time.

On the ABC panel show, General Morrison was asked: "What does it say about our country when we can listen to white men such as Australian of the Year David Morrison champion diversity, but we can't receive the message of Adam Goodes with respect?"

Another asked why he was celebrated for doing what would be expected of most men, while women doing extraordinary things went unnoticed.

General Morrison did not shy away from the questions, saying he agreed with the thoughts behind each question "100%"

"I've become something of a notorious figure for being a white Anglo-Saxon heterosexual male from a privileged background who talks about these things now," he said.

"I'm not the only voice in Australia with the same sort of gender or ethnic make-up. I have just been paid attention to."

General Morris said others including fellow finalist Group Captain Catherine McGregor - who was named Queenslander of the Year - or Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick could have served Australia "exceptionally well" as Australian of the Year.