Scott Morrison has finally responded to Grace Tame and her fiancé Max Heerey’s stone cold pic with him in classic Morrison fashion: by being passive aggressive and condescending.
Tame and Heerey captured the mood of the nation when they refused to smile in a photo op with Morrison and his wife Jenny at the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards.
Omg Grace Tame pic.twitter.com/d04eYQficw— Sam Clench (@SamClench) January 25, 2022
Tame received widespread praise for refusing to pretend to be happy in the presence of a man who’s been repeatedly condemned for failure to act on sexism.
However, some commentators went in on Tame for not smiling, because apparently archaic and patriarchal notions of ‘civility’ are worth more than the right of women to express themselves.
Morrison has now responded to the whole furore and it was as slimy as you might expect. He was asked whether he felt “disrespected” by the incident on Brisbane radio station 4BC.
“Oh look, I’ve seen all that. When anyone comes to our home, when Jenny and I, we invite someone to our home we greet them with a smile and they’re always welcome,” Morrison said.
“And that day was actually about all the finalists that we came to celebrate and the previous Australians of the years were there. Jenny and I were there, and that day was all about them.”
Hmmmm. Was it, Scott? Or was it just another great opportunity for some PR pics?
Then, the show’s host Neil Breen said: “I suppose she made it about herself though, and she made it a political statement”.
Because God forbid an Australian of the Year and advocate for victim-survivors of sexual abuse dare to be political!
“I haven’t raised any issues about this. All I’m saying is we were there that day to celebrate those who had done an incredible job for our country,” Scott Morrison said.
“And Jenny and I wanted to welcome them to our home and wish them all the best.”
Then, he went on some absolute patronising bullshit, saying Tame had experienced a “terrible life ordeal”.
“Grace is a passionate person who’s raised important issues. She’s had a terrible life ordeal, you know, things happen to her, her ordeals, the abuse. It’s just awful.
“And I know a lot of Australians, me included, you know, support her efforts to ensure that these issues can be raised and addressed,” he said.
Then, he went on about how great the Morrison government has been about dealing with issues of sexual assault and abuse. Yep, sure Scotty.
“Our government has done more than any other government on this issue, and that is in part because of the strong focus that has been brought to these issues and the response that we’ve made.
“So I thank her for her time as Australian of the Year and as I say, when you know, if people come to our house, Jenny and I always greet them with a smile.”
Predictably, Morrison has been criticised for these comments.
Amy Remeikis — who called out Peter Van Onselen on The Project for his cooked take on the photo — went absolutely in.
She pointed out that first of all: The Lodge isn’t actually the PM’s house, despite Scott Morrison referring to it as such.
Amy also explained how fucked Morrison’s comments about Grace Tame’s experiences were.
First – The Lodge is not Scott Morrison’s house. It belongs to the people.— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) January 27, 2022
Second – Grace Tame wasn’t there to see Scott Morrison
Third – reducing a person to their trauma once again strips them of agency and diminishes them.
Fourth: It never seems to be his fault, does it https://t.co/wru0hg4vlO
Nina Funnell, the journalist who worked with Tame on the original #LetHerSpeak campaign expressed similar views.
Scott saying "she's had a terrible life" is the most condescending, ignorant & utterly disempowering comment to make about @TamePunk .— Nina Funnell, journalist & #LetUsSpeak manager (@ninafunnell) January 27, 2022
Grace's whole message is that as survivors, we are not defined by our experiences of sexual violence. #LetHerSpeakhttps://t.co/w9g9C8NHGr
Frustrated but not surprised.
I mean, let’s not forget about Grace Tame’s powerful AOTY speech last year, where she spoke about her experience of childhood sexual abuse and her advocacy for fellow survivors.
According to Tame, after her speech Morrison lent over and said “well, gee, I bet it felt good to get that out”.
King of being patronising strikes again.