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IDEAS FACTORY: Former Australia Day chair explains Australian Of The Year process

A former chair of the Australia Day council says this year’s selection panel should once again award Australian Of The Year to a person who can ‘run with it’.

Phillip Adams, who led the committee from 1992 to ’96, defended the selection process on 3AW Mornings, as well as recent winners Adam Goodes and Rosie Batty.

For whatever reason, the pair have courted controversy in some circles and been accused of ‘pushing’ their cause onto Australia.

But Mr Adams said that was entirely the point of the award.

‘My attitude was always to give the gong to somebody who can run with it and use it,’ he explained on 3AW Mornings.

‘Somebody who could use this pedestal to educate people to a cause.

‘I suppose Rosie Batty is the latest example of that.

‘There’s not much good giving it to somebody who’s at the end of a long and distinguished career.’

Neil Mitchell questioned whether Australians wanted to be ‘lectured’ by the winner.

‘Sometimes we need to be lectured,’ Mr Adams said.

Click PLAY below to hear Phillip Adams speak with Neil Mitchell on 3AW Mornings.