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Aust of Year should mark extraordinary: PM

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016

Malcolm Turnbull wants the Australian of the Year awards honouring people who have gone out of their way to achieve extraordinary things.

The prime minister's comments come amid criticism of the awards by one of last year's finalists, former army officer Catherine McGregor, who says the system is "broken".

"I think it has been hijacked by activists," she told The Australian on Friday.

"It is unrepresentative of middle Australia and I regret profoundly ever being involved with it."

Mr Turnbull didn't want to be drawn on past nominations for the annual awards.

"I'd like to see Australians that have not just done their day job but have done something out of the ordinary, extraordinary," he said.

Mr Turnbull highlighted the work of 2015 winner Rosie Batty, a domestic violence campaigner, and Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan, who was named Australian of the Year in 1994.

Mr Turnbull also talked up the philanthropy and campaigning work of mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, who is the West Australian finalist for the 2017 awards.

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