The Project journo and political commentator Peter Van Onselen has admitted it was probably unnecessary to write a whole column calling Grace Tame “childish” for not smiling at Scott Morrison last week.
But he said he still thinks she was.
In a podcast interview he said he still holds his views about the 2021 Australian of the Year, but said expressing those views made him “as bad as Grace Tame”. Um, I think he’s mixed something up here.
ICYMI Van Onselen wrote a column for The Australian calling Tame “ungracious, rude and childish” when she deliberately tanked a photo op with the PM at the Lodge, shooting him icy dangers instead of smiling like a sweet little girl. It was one for the ages.
But stubbly baby Van Onselen wrote if she didn’t want to smile at him, she shouldn’t have accepted the invitation to the AOTY event.
Van Onselen then got completely chargrilled for his column on live TV by his Project co-host Carrie Bickmore and author and gender equality advocate Amy Remeikis.
The takedown of the decade to go down in history.
Today, Grace Tame met with the Prime Minister at the Lodge, with now-viral photos appearing online. We discuss the day and the differing opinions with @AmyRemeikis. #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/9TsYJbFKfY
— The Project (@theprojecttv) January 25, 2022
Despite nationwide backlash, he didn’t apologise in the podcast interview and stuck to his guns.
“I do think it was rude, I do think it was impolite, [and] unnecessary.”
He said the “silent majority” of people agreed with him but the “loudest people don’t”.
“They didn’t change my mind. I’m still very firm, personally, of the view that [Tame’s actions were] uncalled for … and inappropriate and she shouldn’t have done it,” he said.
He said the backlash didn’t change how he thought about Tame or her actions or speak to sexism or the policing of women’s behaviour. He did however say the backlash changed his “view on whether [the column] needed to be written”.
He said “wording and timing” could have been better.
“What’s the point in saying it? In a sense me, on my side of the ledger, deciding to write about it, became me being – people won’t like this – as bad as Grace Tame choosing to act the way she acted, which I’m critical of.”
People have defended Tame for being a staunch AF role model and equality advocate, challenging the the expectations placed on women’s behaviour.
Last week Bickmore and Remeikis reflected on the segment on the radio show Carrie & Tommy, where Remeikis said the column and the criticism levelled at Tame were part of a much bigger issue that people didn’t want to talk about.
“I actually haven’t been able to watch any of it back because I’m overwhelmed with emotion just thinking about it”#TheProjectTV #AmyRemeikis #CarrieBickmore #PVOhttps://t.co/F1tqYgsWXp
— Carrie and Tommy (@carrietommyshow) January 27, 2022
“It’s much easier to use the politics of civility and police behaviours. It’s a lot easier to say ‘you can have a seat at the table to talk about this serious issue, but only if you behave yourself, and only if you act in a matter that’s civilised and becoming’,” Remeikis said.
“But this isn’t an issue you can use civility for, this is something that impacts so many people. One in three women are going to be impacted by this.
“I think it’s about time we stopped having all these silly side discussions and actually got to the root of the issue which is men stepping up and doing something themselves in this space instead of leaving it for the women to carry.”
We can only hope PVO joins his beloved silent majority and shuts the fuck up.