Now you see it, now you don't: Ita's missing win

On Wednesday, for three sweet seconds, Ita Buttrose was named the 2013 Australian of the Year.

And now she's not again.

It's probably just as well, because they didn't mention her career at the helm of the Australian Women's Weekly nor her longstanding commitment to Alzheimer's research.

Instead of being announced by the Australia Day Council, the award was presented by a non-government health education provider and an anti-virus software company.

Ms Buttrose was declared the Australian of the Year in a video in press packs at Wednesday's launch of the government's cyber-safety program. The caption appeared on screen for a good three seconds.

She was flying back to Australia when the news broke, and when Fairfax Media spoke to her hours later she had not heard of it.

''I am sure it is unintentional,'' she said.

Ms Buttrose is in fact the NSW finalist for the award, and her official title is ''NSW Australian of the Year''.

A National Australian Day Council spokesperson told Fairfax Media on Wednesday: "We appreciate that a simple mistake has been made in the video.

"The recipients of the Australian of the Year award are never final until they are announced.

"This year’s award will be announced on the evening of Friday 25 Jan in Canberra. Until that announcement is final, the national finalists in each of the four award categories should be referred to by their state and territory award title, for example, NSW Australian of the Year 2013,’’ she said.

"It’s a bit like Christmas as far as we’re concerned on January 25. It's a great present everyone gets to open."

The video was produced by Life Education Australia, a non-government health education provider, and McAfee Security, a cyber security company.

A spokeswoman for Life Education Australia said they had made a simple mistake in awarding Ms Buttrose the honour and they quickly rectified the error online.

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The story Now you see it, now you don't: Ita's missing win first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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