National crime agency investigates suspicious betting on Australian of the Year awards

Michael McGowan
·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The national crime watchdog has been asked to investigate suspicious betting on the 2021 Australian of the Year awards.

The National Australia Day Council announced on Thursday it had referred betting on the awards to the Criminal Intelligence Commission following concerns about wagers on the prize.

In a statement, the council said it been concerned about betting on the Australian of the Year awards “for a number of years and spoken to authorities about having these markets shut down”.

“The NADC referred betting on this year’s Australian of the Year Awards to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission on Monday,” a spokesperson for the council said in a statement.

Related: Tasmanian sexual assault survivor Grace Tame named 2021 Australian of the Year

“The NADC requires all staff, contractors and broadcast partners who need to be advised of winners before the national announcement to sign non-disclosure agreements. This agreement has a specific non-betting clause.”

Tasmanian sexual assault survivor Grace Tame was named the 2021 Australian of the Year on Monday night. The Daily Telegraph revealed authorities had become concerned about betting on the awards when she unexpectedly shot to favourite in betting markets in December.

Although she had previously been an outsider in betting markets outlets began to list her as a favourite after the winners were selected in December. Betting agency Sportsbet had opened the market for Tame at $6 but by the end of December her odds had shortened to as low as $1.36.

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

Some 180 people reportedly knew of the winner before the announcement and had signed non-disclosure agreements promising not to reveal the name of the Australian of the Year before they were officially announced.

Tame and the other nominees were not aware of the winner until Monday night’s ceremony.