Australian sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame says she was ‘threatened’

Australian sexual abuse survivor and advocate Grace Tame has alleged that she was threatened by a person associated with the government and warned against criticizing prime minister Scott Morrison.File photo: ‘Australian of the Year’ winner Grace Tame said she was asked to not criticise Scott Morrison - AAP IMAGEGrace Tame

Ms Tame, who was named “Australian of the Year” in 2021, said that she got “a threatening call from a senior member of the government-funded organisation” last August, asking her to not say anything “damning” about Mr Morrison during the awards ceremony.

She was told by the caller that “you are an influential person, he’ll have a fear” with the impending elections in May, Ms Tame said on Wednesday.

Ms Tame also compared the official, who she did not name, with a school teacher who sexually abused her as a child. “Sound familiar to anyone? Well, it does to me,” Ms Tame said, referring to a teacher who had raped her and pressured her to stay silent.

On being asked if she would name the official and their organisation, Ms Tame has said that she would have put them in her speech “if I was willing to name either”.

A spokesperson for the Morrison administration said that the call was unacceptable and that the prime minister would not have authorised it.

An investigation has been launched into the call, the spokesperson said, adding that the person responsible should issue an apology.

However, Ms Tame slammed the administration’s move to probe the call and said that Mr Morrison should rather focus on the “fact that they felt like they had to do it [call]”.

“Scott conducting an investigation into who made the phone call is THE VERY SAME embedded structural silencing culture that drove the call in the first place and misses the point entirely,” Ms Tame said on Twitter on Wednesday.

She added: “Stop deflecting, Scott. It’s not about the person who made the call. It’s the fact they felt like they had to do it.”

A staunch critic of Mr Morrison, Ms Tame has slammed the federal administration’s slow and inadequate response to  allegations of sexual assault and toxic workplace culture in parliament.

This comes on the heels of allegations by former political staffer Brittany Higgins, who said that she was raped by a senior colleague in 2019, an accusation that led to protests.

Australia’s political leaders, Mr Morrison among them, this week apologised to staffers who endured decades of bullying, harassment and sexual assault inside parliament and other government offices.

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