A row between Grace Tame and the government has hit new highs after the Australian of the Year accused a minister of making her look ‘uncooperative’.
Grace Tame has taken aim at the government’s “carefully spun” response to why she was not consulted as part of the drafting of a national strategy to prevent child abuse.
The Australian of the Year found out live on air during an interview with the ABC that she had been snubbed by the government.
Asked about it by Labor’s Linda Burney during Question Time on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison deferred the question to his assistant minister Ben Morton — who detailed his “informal meetings” that he had with Ms Tame relating to the national plan.
“The head of the National Office for Child Safety had an informal meeting in March with Grace Tame in Canberra to discuss the national strategy,” Mr Morton said.
“The head of the National Office of Child Safety emailed Grace Tame about how she might work with the office in relation to the strategy.
“On May 13, I spoke to Ms Tame to talk to her about measures in the budget that form part of the national strategy.
“In May further, the office emailed Ms Tame to advise her of the national strategy commitments.
“On June 14, I personally travelled to Tasmania with the head of the National Office of Child Safety to meet with Ms Tame.
“The position and the role I take as minister responsible for the National Office of Child Safety and the work I have done in relation to the national strategy was one that has been informed by meeting with Ms Tame and her engagement with our officials.”
But Ms Tame insisted she was blindsided.
“I was genuinely blindsided on Friday. Ben finished his answer today by saying ‘victim-survivors deserve to be above politics’. A defence of us? Or a veiled threat?” she wrote on social media.
“Surely we the people deserve politicians who are above gaslighting victim-survivors.
“I’m not here to be confrontational, but the truth matters. I will be attending the strategy’s launch on Wednesday and look forward to contributing to its future developments in an official capacity.”
The 10-year plan, set to be detailed later this week, will feature additional law enforcement measures and support for victims and survivors.
Ms Tame is one of Australia’s best known advocates for survivors of sexual assault and was awarded Australian of the Year for her advocacy following the Let Her Speak campaign.