Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame has paid a back-handed compliment to Prime Minister Scott Morrison days out from the election, before launching a savage attack on him.
Ms Tame praised the PM’s political smarts – but then accused him of being a master manipulator, and using his position of power to try to silence her.
‘He’s quite intelligent,’ she admitted in the latest podcast from the team at the cult parody website, the Betoota Advocate. ‘I’ll give him that.
‘No-one can be the leader of a country without having intelligence and skills and mastery at least of manipulation…’
Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame has claimed ‘vindictive’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his government powers to try to silence her after the row about her icy side-eye encounter with him in January
But she claimed the ‘vindictive’ PM used his government powers to try to silence her after the row about her icy side-eye encounter with him in January.
And she accused him of waging ‘petty vendettas’, branding him ‘egocentric’ and ‘entitled’.
‘I’m no more entitled to anything than anybody else,’ she told the podcast.
‘The problem is Scott Morrison – his entitlement. “I’m the Prime Minister, and she should smile at me because I’m the Prime Minister.”
‘I was standing next to Scott Morrison, and I’m friends with Brittany [Higgins, who has accused the government of covering up her alleged rape in Parliament].
‘And I’m like, I can’t smile at you. Like, this is a crock of s***.
‘All these play-nice institutions that just harbour abusers and cover it up – for the sake of what?’
But she claimed the PM hit back in the wake of the row – which came on the final day of her reign as Australian of the Year – by turning the power of the establishment against her.
‘The way that he responded to me – because I called him out and called a spade a spade – was to intimidate me with his resources,’ she claimed.
‘That’s how you want to use your resources as Prime Minister – to carry out your petty vindictive vendettas?
‘Yeah, great. I hope you feel good about that,’ she seethed.
‘While the country is in the middle of a pandemic, and there are people dying in floods, and there are still people who don’t have their homes after the bush fires. Good job, Scott.’
Ms Tame said her work as an advocate for sexual assault survivors can be overwhelming and that she had been treated for suicidal thoughts after ‘stepping too deep into the shame spiral’
Ms Tame, 27, was a last minute ring-in for the podcast after a planned interview with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reportedly fell through.
‘I think I can do a good Josh Frydenberg impression,’ she joked when she was introduced on the show.
‘Just give me billions of dollars and I will throw them away…’
Ms Tame compared the Coalition government to former US President Donald Trump’s administration in the way it had targeted minorities for electoral gain.
‘I’m at once surprised and not surprised at the depths to which this particular lot are prepared to sink,’ she said.
‘It never ceases to amaze me. It’s got nothing to do with party politics. I hope that Australia’s realising that now. It’s everything to do with basic human decency.’
She said the PM’s targeted policy could cost him when those minorities give their verdict on his leadership at the weekend.
‘Perhaps what Scott has forgotten, in the fog of his Canberra hive mind, is that throughout his tenure, he has thrown a very high number of minorities under the bus,’ she warned.
‘He might be semi-detached – if not completely detached – from it all up there. But out here, we don’t forget. And it’s starting to add up now.’
Ms Tame said the PM had ‘sacrificed’ trans youth in his support for outspoken Warringah Liberal candidate Katherine Deves.
‘The Prime Minister is prepared to sacrifice one of the most discriminated against minorities – LGBT youth. They’re the underdog,’ she said.
‘Who else is he prepared to sacrifice? That is not the Australian way. Nobody gets left behind. Nobody.’
She also said she had since fallen out with former friend and comedy legend John Cleese over his support for Harry Potter author JK Rowling and their shared views on trans issues.
Ms Tame had met Mr Cleese through his daughter Camilla who she met while living in the US and had drawn a Last Supper parody – featuring many of his famous comedy characters – for the Monty Python star in 2017.
‘I had the great honour of touring with John Cleese,’ she said.
‘But John has completely lost me now that he’s aligning himself with JK Rowling and this anti trans stuff.’
Ms Tame insisted she had tried to remain neutral throughout her reign as Australian of the Year but had been drawn into political rows by the media.
She claimed journalists would ignore discussing her role as an activist for paedophilia survivors to instead focus on questioning her about politics.
‘They had every opportunity to raise this issue of grooming on the national stage,’ she told the podcast.
‘Every single one asked me about politics… they all just wanted in their little insular group to ask politics, to get the gotcha moment and it was disrespectful.
‘It’s not about me – I don’t like politics in general.’
Grace Tame insisted she had tried to remain neutral throughout her reign as Australian of the Year but had been drawn into political rows by the media
But she said when she was quizzed on TV about being groomed and abused as a teenager by a 58-year-old teacher, the experience traumatised her.
She said she was interviewed on videolink by Kerri-Anne Kennerley for Network 10 in 2019 and had to listen to her abuser’s voice being replayed in her earpiece.
‘It wasn’t really pleasant,’ she told the podcast. ‘I was actually in the midst of a bout of anorexia at the time – I was really underweight and not very well.
‘I’m tough but you could do that someone and make them break down and cry. You could do that to a war veteran and they will cry.’
She added: ‘I think that the state of Australian journalism is pretty bad, I would say, the sensationalist journalistic model, it’s really awful.
‘The mainstream media, especially the Murdoch press spent a disproportionate amount of time reporting on this supposed obsession I have with the Prime Minister.
‘Whereas in reality, I would say that one per cent of the talking that I did, or the commentary that I’ve done, has been about him.’
However she said Labor leader Anthony Albanese was ‘more respectful’ and a ‘real person’.
Grace Tame said Labor leader Anthony Albanese was ‘more respectful’ and a ‘real person’, but insisted she was not a ‘Labor hack’
‘People accuse me of being a Labor hack all the time,’ she said. ‘But it’s not about party politics. It’s about principles.
‘And those principles are honesty, authenticity, integrity, but also sticking up for the underdog is such a huge part of Australian culture.’
She admitted she had made mistakes, and insisted she was the same ‘goofy, flawed’ person she was before she was named Australian of the Year.
‘I didn’t go to uni, I don’t know all the correct terminology,’ she said. ‘And sometimes I say things that I don’t intend to get wrong, but invariably I will stumble.
But she said her year as the figurehead role model had taken its toll.
‘Having a platform is a gift in many ways, I owe a lot to the Australian of the Year awards,’ she said.
‘And I don’t think a lot of people realise what it also has cost me and my family.
‘What happened in that really concentrated 12 months, and it’s still happening now, is that a lifetime of trauma was amplified then scrutinised relentlessly.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for a response to Ms Tame’s comments.
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