Outgoing Australian of the Year Grace Tame and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have had an awkward meeting in Canberra.
Attending Tuesday’s Australian of the Year Awards morning tea, Ms Tame stood stony faced for a photograph next to the prime minister at The Lodge.
She appeared to reluctantly shake Mr Morrison’s hand without meeting the prime minister’s eyes.
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Ms Tame is a survivor of child sexual abuse and has been vocal in her criticism of the coalition government’s response to women’s safety issues.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese later thanked Ms Tame for her “quite extraordinary courage and her fierce advocacy”.
“Grace, you’ve inspired countless Australians and you’ve earned enormous respect,” he said during an address to the National Press Club.
“The events that occurred in parliament … constituted a powerful wake-up call.
“But we’ve had so many wake-up calls. We have no excuse to wait for another.”
Liberal senator Hollie Hughes tweeted Ms Tame’s demeanour during the meeting with Mr Morrison was “immature!”
LNP senator James McGrath criticised Ms Tame for being “partisan, political and childish”.
“The important issues raised by last year’s Australian of the Year must continue to be addressed by all of us,” he wrote on Facebook.
“It is a pity her behaviour and attacks on our prime minister are so partisan, political and childish.
“If she didn’t like being Australian of the Year she should hand back the honour.”
The Morrison government came under intense and sustained fire for its handling of the alleged 2019 rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins in a federal minister’s office, made public in February last year.
Ms Tame has said the government “doesn’t get it”, following its subsequent failure to pass all legislative reforms recommended by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
© AAP 2022