The Graceless Princess and the PM

I could not bring myself to watch the Tame/Higgins Press Club address, but I have read Tame’s speech — and harrowing reading it was too.  For what it’s worth, she has my sincere sympathy for what she went through.

But I did watch the clip of her revealing the ‘bombshell’ that she had received a threatening phone call in August last year from a ‘senior person in a government funded organisation’, warning her off criticising PM Scott Morrison in the lead up to the 2022 AOTY announcement.  Here is the transcription:

Brace yourselves. On the 17th August last year, not five months after being named Australian of the Year, I received a threatening phone call from a senior member of a government funded organisation asking for my word that I wouldn’t say anything damning about the Prime Minister on the evening of the next Australian of the Year awards.  You’re an influential person.  He’ll have a fear, they said.

A fear, what kind of fear I asked myself.  A fear for our nation’s most vulnerable?  A fear for the future of our planet?  And then I heard the words, ‘You know, with an election coming soon.’  And it crystallized.  A fear for himself and no-one else.  A fear that he might lose his position.  Or, more to the point, his power.  Sound familiar to anyone?  Well it does to me.

As I watched it, Shakespeare came inevitably to mind. One of his plays.  What was it?  Ah yes, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.   And lest I am thought to be a vile misogynist, I hasten to add it is just the curious coincidence of the surname and the apparent personality that struck me.  And, continuing the theatrical theme, my other thought was that Princess Graceless could certainly use some acting lessons. The manic delivery of her lines served only to highlight their absurdity.  And I guess the AOTY does exert some influence for a short period of time but to posit that she was influential enough to affect the outcome of the election in any significant way, suggests an ego that definitely belongs on the stage.

I wonder what the threat was?  To strip her of her award?   What else could they do, I wonder? And how prescient of that unnamed official to divine that Tame might just make clear her dislike of Morrison, although he probably didn’t realize it would be by means of a boorish and petulant display rather than explicit words. 

It turns out the organisation in question is possibly the National Australia Day Council, which has denied making the call.   Yeah right, they would say that wouldn’t they?  We all know how these QUANGOs are infested with hate-filled conservatives just itching to be of service to Scott Morrison.

It is quite possible, Tame already having proven a divisive AOTY, that such a call was made, but it would have made purely with the intent of protecting the image of the Australian of the Year award.  They might have asked her to tone down her rhetoric and stop acting in such an obviously partisan political way.  And it probably had nothing to do with the 2022 event, but rather her conduct in general.  It beggars belief that someone in this position would be actively campaigning for Morrison.  And Tame would know that.

Morrison, of course has denied, instigating that call and Women’s Affairs Minister Ruston has promised an investigation.  But that doesn’t suit Tame, who tweeted:

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.

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.

I suspect the last thing Tame wants is to be answering questions such as ‘Well, who was it then?’  So her cover will be that she does not want to make this poor sap a scapegoat for Morrison’s malevolence.

I imagine, given all she has been through, that I might be castigated for speaking of Tame in this way.  She was made Australian of the Year not in celebration of her victimhood, but in recognition of her achievement in overcoming it.   But she has weaponised that victimhood and turned it on Scott Morrison.  I am no particular fan of Morrison but he deserves better than this, and so does Australia.

I began this piece with Shakespeare.  Let me conclude by paraphrasing him.  What a piece of work!

29 thoughts on “The Graceless Princess and the PM

  • rod.stuart says:

    I can only imagine the pain and embarassment of her parents. Did we raise that nasty little guttersnipe?

  • Daffy says:

    AOTY for overcoming adversity? Well, that’s hit pit bottom. I’d seek it to be awarded posthumously to a friend of my mother’s who raised four children and looked after her husband who was brain injured during an accident in the Army Reserve (CMF as it was). Of course, no compensation paid, just a measly pension that the family struggled with. Still Dolores did great things with her kids.
    But I digress. AOTY should be for someone who contributes to the nation’s ethos. Fiona artificial skin was the best laureate in recent decades, for example. But for personal triumph? For starring in a victim group? No thanks.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Which raises the question of why on earth do we need this utterly nonsensical institution of AOTY. That the “winners” seem to be selected by an opaque process judged by some effectively anonymous bureaucrats who ought to have more important things to do is sufficient in and of itself to attract the attention of the Department of Finance’s Razor Gang. No doubt the media love them as weapons to create mischief which seems to all that most journalists seem to be interested in. Even The Australian has lowered its standards.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Doubting Thomas, AOTY is a concept well past its use by date.

  • GaryR says:

    For a cathartic laugh, I suggest viewing (again) Chris Lilley’s tour de force ‘We can be heroes’. (That is, if it is still available, as Lilley seems to have been ‘disappeared’).

  • Peter Dare says:

    Not just a “piece of work” – but a “nasty piece of work”.

  • rosross says:

    I remember reading Tame’s story and thinking that there was something not right about it. Apparently, she and a friend at a young age, seven I think, indulged in some sexual activity while naked, where she was apparently coerced to do things she did not want to do. She chose to recount this story, one presumes in detail, to her male teacher, with whom she went on to have a sexual relationship which she then deemed to be paedophilia. Why would a teenage girl, 15 I think, tell an adult male teacher that sort of story?

    Anyway, it all suggested a total lack of judgement on the part of Ms Tame, regardless of the circumstances of her ‘abuse’ and her actions since then continue to display a total and dangerous lack of judgement.

    Then again, a total lack of judgement on the part of the committee which appointed her as Australian of the Year.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    Tame’s claim doesn’t even pass the pub test. Why would someone, anyone, be making a call of the nature alleged about an event that was still 6 months away. Tame frames herself as a bitter and twisted perpetual victim and is the worst possible roll model for my young daughter. Instead I would point my daughter to the Abdallah family as an inspiration.

    However, by far the worst outcome to transpire over the last few days (next to additional funding of the ABC) of self flagellation by our Prime Minister was to provide an official apology to Brittany Higgins in Parliament, no less, over an allegation which has yet to have been brought before the courts against an alleged defendant that has steadfastly pleaded not guilty. Talk about an act of prejudicial bastardary just to appease that screaming banshee segment of the sisterhood who will never be appeased.

    In order to supposedly transmit a message of principle to the all important focus groups, Scott Morrison has infact demonstrated that he is a man of no legal or moral principle. But most of us already knew that.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Grace Tame in her Press Club performance was so reminiscent of a slightly older Greta Thunberg. Same anger and twisted features, and total dogmatism. I have a Level 2 autistic grandson and his features can sometimes get this angry and wilful and self-centred spitefulness with slightly glaring mad eyes. We as a family and various therapists are trying to show him alternative ways of delivering his opinion without resorting to anger expressed with all the appearances of real hatred. Ms. Tame clearly also needs lessons in how to avoid that.
    I think Ms. Tame was a very poor choice of Australian of the Year. The idea itself has a certain merit offering the community exemplars of achievement and good behaviour, but the choice of person is the main factor there. A poor choice such as Ms. Tame has turned out to be and the concept is made ridiculous, unhealthy for onlooking children and unpleasantly juvenile for real adults to observe.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Yes, rosross, I agree. Ms. Tame shows a dangerous lack of judgement and while it would never excuse any abuser it certainly helps to explain how an opportunity may have been taken.

  • Sydgal says:

    I watched the Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins video at the National Press Club and was struck by Ms Tame’s anger and, at times, dismissiveness of some of the extremely polite female journalists’ questions. The section about the Aug 2021 threatening phone call from a govt funded organisation was prefaced with a laugh saying “she has nothing to lose”. Ms Tame seems to be a very complex person – it’s hard to reconcile the famous ‘side-eye’ at the official Aust Day function, with her happy demeanour on the cover of Marie Claire magazine and the Grace Tame Foundation website (directors are her stepfather, fiance and herself). Regarding the address by Ms Higgins at the National Press Club, it is difficult to know how the alleged offender will be able to receive a fair trial (apparently a judge alone trial in the ACT will not be possible). It would be interesting to look at all the media coverage of this case since February 2021 – in fact, the ABC has devoted TV programs and radio interviews to these issues since the Nov 2020 Inside the Canberra Bubble Program (and Louise Milligan said she worked on that program for 4 months).

  • Claude James says:

    Who is scripting the performances of Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins?
    Some folk know.
    And are these puppeteers full members of the leftist forces that permeate all of our institutions -politics, education, media, PR and advertising agencies, the legal system, the public services?
    Some folk know.
    Meanwhile, are Tame and Higgins spending any of their time informing teenage girls and young women of the dangers of doing risky things that might later be regretted?
    Some folk know -and they say the answer is No.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    The photo at the top says it all. Ms Tame is just another shill for the ALP, much like the ABC and any number of other government-funded organisations. Still, as long as Morrison’s government supports the AOTY and pays for the ABC, they can’t complain they don’t get what they pay for.

  • call it out says:

    Unfortunately, Grace’s recent behaviour casts a shadow on her story, of a 15 year having a sexual relationship with a much older man, a teacher.

  • Brenden T Walters says:

    A young man complained to me that he was being treated unjustly by a female staff member and that he didn’t know what to do. I told him to thank Christ he wasn’t married to her.

  • pgang says:

    Well I guess this is what happens when you ‘recognise’ someone who is too young to have shown you who they really are.

  • Louis Cook says:

    I have been trying to think of a collective noun for the Canberra Press Club gathering featuring Tame and Higgins. How about a ‘shriek of harpies’ or perhaps a ‘vengeance of harridans’? It is an interesting line of thinking to share with readers of Quadrant who I am sure can make it very entertaining.

  • Mike O'Ceirin says:

    I had every sympathy for Grace Tame but that was before her performance concerning the Prime Minister. I thought, what actually happened to her and found an interview of Nicolaas Bester by Bettina Arndt online. The other side of the story bears examining. He was her teacher a devout Catholic, his crime was to have sex with his under age student of 15 1/2. He is totally wrong but he served three years in jail and his marriage along with his relationship with his children totally destroyed. Since that time the group supporting tame have tried to curtail any further life for this man. They have ousted him out of studying at a university and pursued him wherever he goes. GT should be asked when she says Scott Morrison hasn’t done enough what should he do. Considering what has happened to the man responsible what more could she want?

  • johnflynne says:

    Manners never hurt anyone strange that the Australian of the Year does not understand that.It reflects on her poorly and devalues the issue she is dealing with . The “allegation” of some unknown person from a unknown govt funded organisation seems strange that she did not have the integrity to name and shame it makes you wonder whether she being funded by a govt organisation is not very ethical .

  • Sydgal says:

    Mike O’C – Grace Tame is part of Nina Funnell’s Let Her Speak Campaign and they have a Go Fund Me page with the beneficiary listed as Michael Bradley from Marque Lawyers. Bradley also supported Jo Dyer in Porter matters. In responding to questions at the National Press Club address, Ms Tame said that before she had a public voice, it was the stories of male survivors of clergy CSA that she related to. Perhaps these men are the ones who appear on Funnell’s website and who seem to have been prominent in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to CSA, have links with Broken Rites, and appear in Milligan’s book Cardinal and ABC TV programs and stories.

  • pgang says:

    Anyway, who is this person? AotY is a joke anyway. Does anybody care? Never heard of this person before she was on tv with Morrison, and have no idea nor any interest as to why she is AotY.

  • Michael Waugh says:

    As far as I understand it, Tame was made Australian of the Year because at the age of 15 she consented to sexual intercourse with a teacher, which she then regretted, and later successfully had the teacher imprisoned. Further, she was at pains to broadcast her ordeal and may have played a part in amending a Tasmanian law that had prevented her doing so. By the time of her broadcasting her victimhood, the ABC and other media outlets were lavishing alleged victims with, not merely extravagant sympathy, but extravagant praise for their supposed bravery. That is, there were plenty of benefits to her ego for Tame to talk loudly about her ordeal. Tame is not the first person to be showered with accolades for serious character flaws or serious past errors of judgment or serious failings. Some Australians of the Year have truly been heroic : remember Craig Challen and Richard Harris, the dangerous underwater caves rescuers of the Thai children ? Giving people like Tame the award seriously, perhaps terminally, tarnishes the worth of it. A more grievous matter, is the PM’s apology to Higgins while a trial is pending. On its face, Higgins story raises credibility questions and, in a more sensible age, a wise person would be slow to accept it without some reservations, but for the nation’s leader to say he accepted it without reservation (and the words of the PM’s silly apology amount to that) while a trial is pending is unforgivable. I would want the prosecution to show convincing cause why the trial should not be permanently stayed, why it’s not hopelessly prejudiced.

  • mags of Queensland says:

    I had never heard of Grace tame before she became AOTY. Another unworthy recipient. She obviously hasn’t dealt with her issues, judging by the venomous tirade she unleashed at the Press Club. she is indeed graceless and ill mannered and needs pulling up quick smart. As for the other one, I still have questions about why she was in her boss’s office after hours and drunk. It’s a ” he said, she said” case which hasn’t been to court yet. Everyone deserves the presumption of innocence. Too many victims of sexual assault don’t have the platform that Grace Tame had. Pity she didn’t spend her time as AOTY more fruitfully.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    mags, I think the way Grace Tame spent her time as AOTY was brilliant. She has totally destroyed her own credibility, the credibility of much of the media, that of much of the radical feminist movement and that of the AOTY nonsense. I couldn’t ask for a more appropriate result.

  • 27hugo27 says:

    I think Tame was trouble from a young age, a born manipulator and attention seeker, no sympathy from me, sorry. That pic with Albo says it all – a harpy permanently of the left and sadly will be given platforms from the ABC, 10,9, SBS etc. To ply her nasty trade. No fan of Morrison am I, despite being a lifelong Conservative and I’d wager that Tame would be equally enthusiastic if it were Bill Shorten in the pic, despite a very credible sexual assault claim against him some years ago.

  • 27hugo27 says:

    Louis Cook – a Shrill of shills, or vice versa?

  • Avalon says:

    27hugo27 “despite being a lifelong Conservative “or because of …..

  • Rebekah Meredith says:

    Well put, Avalon!

  • call it out says:

    Any comment on Tame’s relationship with her teacher, ( was it child abuse, or underage sex, which I see all around me) and any suggestion that Higgins has made an unproven, and denied accusation, will not be published in The Australian comments section.
    Shame on The Australian.

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