Australia Day betting referred to police

·1-min read

Claims of suspicious betting placed on the 2021 Australian of the Year awards have been referred to the Australian Federal Police.

The National Australia Day Council initially referred betting on the awards to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission on January 25.

Council chief executive Karlie Brand told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday the matter had now been passed on to the AFP.

Tasmanian sexual assault survivor Grace Tame was named 2021 Australian of the Year, but betting outlets had her listed as a favourite before the announcement, with odds as low as $1.36.

The second favourite was Australia's former chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy, with odds of $3.50.

Ms Brand said 191 people had signed non-disclosure agreements for the year's awards, pledging not to reveal the name of the Australian of the Year before it was officially announced.

All staff, contractors, and broadcasters involved with the awards have to sign the agreement, which has a specific non-betting clause.

She told the committee she would support the banning of betting on the awards, but had been told it was a matter for the Northern Territory government.

Amid media reports citing concerns within government ranks with the selection of Ms Tame, Ms Brand described Ms Tame as "wonderful" and someone who had the council's support.

"The board stands by its selection of Ms Tame," she said.

She declined to comment on Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly saying to Ms Tame after her awards speech: "Gee, I bet it felt good to get that out."

Mr Morrison told parliament he was indicating it was a proud moment for Ms Tame and she had spoken with a "very strong voice".