Australian of the Year David Morrison has been revealed to charge between $10,000 and $15,000 for speaking engagements, leading some to suggest he is unduly profiting from the role.
Mr Morrison, who served as Chief of the Australian Army from 2011 until 2015, received the honour for his work as a feminist, particularly in the military world.
But Mr Morrison has come under fire for charging up to $15,000 per speaking engagement, compared with former Australian on the Year Rosie Batty, who, according to The Australian, charged just $5,000 for speaking engagements during her tenure.
According to The Australian, Mr Morrison is on the books of six speaking agencies in Australia.
When asked, the Saxton Group would not immediately confirm Mr Morrison’s price tag, while Claxton Speakers International classified Mr Morrison’s fee as ‘category D’ on its website, meaning between $10,000 and 15,000.
If Mr Morrison performs one speaking engagement per week at $15,000 in 2016, he is set to bring in $780,000 this year.
“I wouldn’t have thought being Australian of the Year should be used as a mechanism for money-making, but then again nothing would surprise me,” radio host Alan Jones told the newspaper, while Rod Thompson, senior advocate for The Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans’ Association was also surprised.
“Anyone in the position of Australian of the Year should be willing to speak on issues close to their heart without charging and it goes to show the character of the man that The Australian of the Year is actually for sale,” Thompson added.
“Rosie Batty championed the issues that were close to her heart and I think David Morrison is championing politically correct issues. David Morrison is no Rosie Batty.”