Outspoken sexual assault campaigner Grace Tame has made a pointed comment about the Prime Minister’s handling of Brittany Higgins’s rape allegations.
Outspoken sexual assault campaigner Grace Tame has made a pointed comment about the Prime Minister’s handling of Brittany Higgins’s rape allegations.

Aussie of the Year’s swipe at PM

Australian of the Year Grace Tame has taken a swipe at remarks made by Scott Morrison over the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins.

Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, broke her silence last month, claiming she was raped by a colleague at Parliament House in March 2019, after seeing the Prime Minister with Ms Tame, 26.

A day after the claims were aired, Mr Morrison revealed his wife Jenny changed his perspective on the incident.

"She said to me, 'You have to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?'" Mr Morrison said.

But speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Ms Tame had a pointed message to the Prime Minister.

"It shouldn't take having children to have a conscience," Ms Tame said.

"And, actually, on top of that, having children doesn't guarantee a conscience."

Grace Tame said Australia is on the precipice of a revolution and called on survivors to share their truth. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Grace Tame said Australia is on the precipice of a revolution and called on survivors to share their truth. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Ms Tame was also asked if his handling of the incident had given survivors the confidence to be believed.

"Clearly not," she retorted.

An advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Ms Tame said she was not surprised by two recent allegations that have rocked the federal parliament.

"Cover-up culture, the abuse of power, is not unique to parliament," she said.

"It's not necessarily these individual cases. It's the issue itself that is going to keep inspiring me to do this work."

Ms Tame said she was hopeful that cultural change would occur once people found the courage to speak out.

"It is about solidarity. The more we come out and speak about this, the more the conversation will be normalised, and the more the power will be taken away from predators," she said.

In her speech, Ms Tame highlighted three key areas for change; starting with conversation and expanding people's understanding of child sexual abuse, including grooming.

"How we invite, listen, and accept the conversation, and lived experience of child sexual abuse survivors," the advocate said.

She also pushed the need for a consistent national framework that supports survivors and their loved ones and deters predators from action.

Ms Tame was crowned with the nation's top honour for her campaign on behalf of sexual assault survivors.

Her own fight as a courageous rape survivor has resulted in reforms to Tasmania's gag laws, which previously prevented her from self-identifying in media.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 

Originally published as Aussie of the Year's swipe at PM


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