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Grace Tame has recalled the ‘threatening call’ she received from a government-funded organisation threatening to not support her charity foundation months before her infamous exchange with Scott Morrison at an Australia Day function.
The then-Australian of the Year and sexual assault advocate made headlines in January when she refused to hide her displeasure of being at a morning tea hosted by the prime minister and his wife Jenny at The Lodge in Canberra.
Ms Tame was seen giving Mr Morrison a less than friendly handshake with a scowl on her face before throwing him an icy sideways glance.
Several weeks later, she caused more controversy during a keynote address at the National Press Club, where she alleged a senior person of a government-funded organisation had warned her to not say anything ‘damning’ about the Prime Minister.
Ms Tame revealed more details of the call while addressing a packed audience at the Adelaide Writer’s Festival on Wednesday.
Grace Tame (pictured at the Adelaide Writers Festival on Wednesday) shared more details about the alleged phone call from a senior person of a government-funded organisation had warned her to not say anything ‘damning’ about the Prime Minister
‘I didn’t share this at the National Press Club but do you know what the threat was, from that person who phoned me? It was that they wouldn’t support the [Grace Tame] foundation if I said something about the prime minister,’ she said.
Speaking at the National Press Club alongside fellow women’s campaigner Brittany Higgins on February 9, Ms Tame warned the packed room to ‘brace yourselves’ as she recalled a call she received six months earlier.
‘I received a threatening phone call from a senior member of a government funded organisation, asking for my word that I wouldn’t say anything damning about the Prime Minister on the evening of the next Australian of the Year Awards,’ she alleged.
”’You are an influential person. He will have a fear,” they said. The fear? What kind of fear – I asked myself.
‘A fear for our nation’s most vulnerable? A fear for the future of our planet? And then I heard the words ”with an election coming soon”…’
‘And it crystallised a fear – a fear for himself and no-one else, a fear he might lose his position or, more to the point, his power.’
Grace Tame (pictured during her terse exchange with Scott Morrison on January 25) has fired a series of brutal swipes at the Prime Minister in recent weeks
She said the conversation brought back memories of being groomed and threatened by her maths teacher who was jailed for raping her.
‘Sound familiar to anyone? Well, it does to me. I remember standing in the shadow of a trusted authority figure, being threatened in just the same veiled way,’ she said.
‘I remember him saying, ”I will lose my job if anyone hears about that, and you would not want that, would you?”
‘What I wanted in that moment is the same thing I want right now and that is an end to the darkness, an end to sexual violence, safety, equity, respect, a better future for all of us.’
Mr Morrison later insisted he did not authorise the call and had asked whoever made it to apologise.
Ms Tame has fired a series of brutal swipes at Mr Morrison since their awkward encounter on January 25 and took several more shots at the prime minister at the Adelaide event on Wednesday.
‘We’ve found certain people and groups are more concerned with maintaining power and control than running the country,’ she told the audience.
‘I don’t want that to be the case. That’s the sad truth.’
Grace Tame alleged on Wednesday that senior member of a government-funded organisation threatened to not wouldn’t support her foundation if she said anything bad about Scott Morrison
Ms Tame also recalled the moment she confronted the paedophile teacher who repeatedly raped her when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl.
‘I told him I thought he was a monster. I told him I thought … he was pure evil and that I hoped he died, and I pointed to a picture of his own children, who were twice my age at the time, and I told him I hated him for what he had done to me,’ she said.
‘I was terrified when I did this but… this (story) is what I remember whenever I think I can’t do something — like frown at the Prime Minister.
‘My fear of upsetting the applecart died that day — and it sure as hell died standing next to Scott Morrison.’
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault or violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, Bravehearts on 1800 272 831 or Lifeline on 131 114.
Grace Tame (pictured at an International Women’s Day breakfast in Sydney this week) opened up about the Prime Minister at the Adelaide Writer’s Festival