Morrison has “no issue” with Grace Tame snub at The Lodge
By Andrew Brown in Canberra
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has “not raised any issue” about his awkward encounter with former Australian of the Year Grace Tame at The Lodge earlier this week.
Ms Tame stood stony faced during a photograph with the prime minister and appeared reluctant to shake his hand at a morning tea for Australian of the Year finalists.
Ms Tame has been a vocal critic of the prime minister’s and the government’s handling of women’s safety issues.
In his first public comments since the incident, Mr Morrison said he supported her advocacy and work during her tenure as Australian of the Year.
“When Jenny and I invite someone to our home, we greet them with a smile and they’re always welcome, and that day was actually about all the finalists we came to celebrate,” Mr Morrison told radio station 4BC on Friday.
“I haven’t raised any issues about (the incident) – all I’m saying is we were there that day to celebrate those who had done an incredible job for our country.”
Ms Tame had widespread support online following the incident, however she attracted criticism from some in the government, with one LNP senator calling it “childish”.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley would not say whether the comments from her parliamentary colleagues were out of line, but added people were free to speak their mind.
“Grace Tame is a force of nature and being a leader for many women across Australia,” she told ABC TV.
“The prime minister has done more for the issues of women than any other prime minister I have ever worked for, and in any other government.”
The government came under intense criticism for its handling of the alleged 2019 rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins in a federal minister’s office, which became public last year.
Ms Tame said the government “doesn’t get it”, following its subsequent failure to pass all legislative reforms recommended by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.