"A threatening phone call": 5 key moments from Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame's National Press Club speeches.

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and child sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame have called for change in two powerful and moving speeches at the National Press Club.

On Wednesday, Higgins and Tame fronted a sold-out crowd to call out the government's handling of sexual violence and abuse. 

Watch: Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame address the National Press Club in powerful speeches. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia. 

Their speeches came one day after the Prime Minister and federal members apologised for a parliamentary culture that normalised bullying, abuse, harassment and violence.

Here are five things we learned from Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame's National Press Club speeches.

1. Both Higgins and Tame want actions, not just words.

In her speech, Brittany Higgins said she doesn't think Prime Minister Scott Morrison's previous “shocking” and “offensive” language about women's safety would matter if his actions measured up.

She was referencing his “imagine if it were our daughters” spiel from last year. 

“I don’t care if the government has improved the way that they talk about these issues. I’m not interested in words anymore. I want to see action,” Higgins said.

Image: Getty.


Grace Tame shared a similar sentiment, dismissing the coalition's approach as “empty announcements”, “placatory platitudes” and “superficial last-minute acknowledgements”.

2. Grace Tame alleges a "threatening" phone call from a "senior member" of a government-funded organisation.

Tame said she received a call demanding that she not disparage Scott Morrison.

“I received a threatening phone call from a senior member of a government-funded organisation, asking for my word that I would not say anything damning about the Prime Minister on the evening of the next Australian of the Year Awards.”

Tame noted she would rather speak up about what she believes and disappoint high members in the government rather than “sell out as a pandering political puppet to the corrupt forces that coercively control it.”

The former Australian of the Year also reminded us that it is an election year for the Coalition, alluding to the government’s “carefully staged photo ops” and “facades, false hope and distractions”.

She noted they were all “deliberate spin tactics designed to satiate the press and the general public.”


3. The fallout from Scott Morrison’s “if it were our daughters” controversy.

In her speech, Higgins addressed the PM’s “as a father” comment made last year in the wake of her sexual assault allegation being made public. 

After speaking with his wife Jenny, she told the PM: “he had to think about this as a father”. Of course, this didn’t go down very well, with many criticising Morrison and noting you don’t have to look at it from a father’s perspective to see that an alleged rape is horrific and emotionally traumatic.

Higgins noted the fact that Morrison “needed his wife's advice to help contextualise my rape in a way that mattered to him personally”.

"I didn't want his sympathy as a father. I wanted him to use his power as Prime Minister.”

4. Both women called for structural and systemic action.

Tame reiterated her call for nationally consistent sexual assault laws, ages of consent and definitions of sexual intercourse to be ratified. 

She also made three additional recommendations: for the government to take the issue of abuse in all its forms seriously, more funding for prevention education and national, consistent, legislative change.

Image: Getty.

Higgins has said the 28 recommendations of the Jenkins review into parliamentary culture need to be implemented for any real difference to be made. 


“If we truly want a gender-inclusive society, we need more vocal women in rooms where key decisions are being made to ensure that there is a gender lens placed over national policy.”

5. Brittany Higgins feels hope for the future.

When asked by a reporter how she is feeling about the future for women in this country, Higgins said she felt "really buoyed" by the support she has received from countless women.

"I think we have kind of got a new wave of women who are just not copping it," she said.

"To have people stand behind you and go: ‘No, this is not okay the time is now, let's stand together,’ that has been a powerful thing and that has kept me going in my darkest times."

- With AAP. 

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia. 

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