Australian of the Year Grace Tame has unloaded on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his tone-deaf response to her emotional acceptance speech, revealing a friend declared in the aftermath "that man does nothing right".
Tame's acceptance speech was hailed as "powerful" and "extraordinary" on the eve of Australia Day this year when she launched a call for action on child sex abuse.
As a 15-year-old high school student in Tasmania, she was repeatedly raped by a 58-year-old teacher and was then forced to fight a legal battle through the Let Her Speak campaign for the freedom to tell her story.
"All survivors of child sexual abuse, this is for us. When we share, we heal. Together we can end child sexual abuse," Tame said in her acceptance speech.
"I remember him saying, 'Don't make a sound.' Well, hear me now, using my voice amongst a chorus of voices that will not be silenced."
But in a podcast with The Betoota Advocate, Tame has revealed for the first time she was underwhelmed with the Prime Minister's response after she left the speech weeping.
"Do you know what he said to me, right after I finished that speech and we're in front of a wall of media? I shit you not, he leant over and right in my ear he goes "Well, gee, I bet it felt good to get that out'," she said.
One of the hosts of the podcast then responds, "Christ. You know even if he thought that was a nice thing to say that's also an issue."
Tame said even her manager's mum, who was a "lifelong Liberal voter" thought the Prime Minister's response was wrong.
"So my manager's mum. She's 90 years old. She's been a lifelong Liberal voter. She just goes, 'that man does nothing right','' Tame laughed.
The host then declared the Prime Minister's reaction was "a shocker."
"My next question was, did you think, at that time giving that speech that the man sitting next to you would spend the rest of the year, avoiding you,'' he said.
Tame does not dispute the claim that the Prime Minister has avoided her during her reign as Australian of the Year after her outspoken criticism of the Morrison government.
"I could not have foreseen that, who could have really. It's crazy,'' she laughed.
The 26-year-old activist also said she would not apologise for criticising the new Assistant Minister for Women Amanda Stoker.
"The new Assistant Minister for Women is someone who has aligned herself with the commentator who gave my abuser a platform,'' she said.
"I don't actually see any merit in going tit for tat and entering into slanging matches, it doesn't serve any purpose. So, I stated these facts. And the reaction from her was that I was uninformed of her previous history of pro bono work for survivors of sexual violence, which is about as good an example of moral licensing as I think I can find, other than you know, 'I'm not sexist, I voted for Julia Gillard', 'I'm not racist. I've got a black friend'. Yeah.
"Anyway, that's what she came out and said, but then she's also gone to the media and complained because she's sent me Instagram direct, or direct messages, even though I don't follow her.
"Which I think is a little bit like …
HOST 2: "I drove past your house and honked!"
HOST 1: "I opened my living room window, and called your name and heard no response. I've reached out."
TAME: Yeah – "I sat in a room and thought about you. Why haven't you reached out?"
HOST 2: Man, that is a lightweight response.
TAME: I just sort of thought, it's not that I don't want to sit down and put differences aside in necessary cases and work with people. But I believe that paedophilia is an absolute wrong, right? And if you don't absolutely oppose it, you therefore condone it. And she's aligned herself with this person who's enabled that sort of culture. And so I just, I don't think that she's the adequate person for the job".
News.com.au has contacted the Prime Minister's office and Stoker for comment.
Challenged on the exchange in question time, Morrison said he didn't recall the exact words he used, but he had nothing but praise for the speech.
"I would agree it was, indeed, a very brave speech,'' he said.
"I can't recall the exact words I used, Mr Speaker, but I wouldn't question that in any way shape or form, what Tame has said. That is roughly my recollection. That was a very brave statement. That is exactly what I meant when I said that to her on that occasion. It was a very proud moment for her and her great struggle and challenge over a long period of time and what she did on that occasion was speak with a very strong voice about what had occurred to her.
"I think in raising her voice in that way, it would have been great to so many victims of sexual (abuse) and harassment around the country. That is exactly what I meant. Exactly what I meant. I don't know why some other meaning may have been put upon those words."