(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas/Private Media)

On Grace Tame

Penny Laming writes: I had wondered if I’d been too harsh in my assessment of Scott Morrison until I saw Grace Tame’s reaction to being pulled into a publicity photo with him. She could not have been more eloquent. Clearly there was only one person being sincere. So thank you, Grace. Clearly my assessment was spot on.

Daryl R Goldie writes: The most poignant and at the same time damning point of Michael Bradley’s piece is that which Morrison has not been able to come to terms with or simply won’t, and I quote: “The Australian of the Year was appointed because she had spoken out, and was encouraged to keep doing it, so she did.” She deserves our support as she has demonstrated amazing strength in pursuit of change.

Elizabeth Addison writes: No, I am not proud of Grace Tame. I thought she overshadowed a perfect opportunity to lobby, once again, directly to Morrison on her beliefs and expectations. By acting as a petulant, spoilt child, she missed a great chance to confront him face to face in full view of the press and photographers. Instead she will be remembered for her behaviour and any advances that she has gained, in particular over the past 12 months, will be forgotten.

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Geoff Morgan writes: You ask if I was proud of Grace Tame. Proud? It doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about her courage and honesty. There isn’t a pedestal high enough to put her on, or a blade sharp enough for the “poppy cutters” to cut her down. She looked like a giant on a stage alongside a political minnow.

What disappointed me were the comments that she should have been more gracious (read “subservient”). I am a 70-year-old father of a 36-year-old daughter who has been a victim of domestic violence and I will be eternally grateful for Grace and her fight against what is Australia’s national shame.

Eric Powell writes: I wholeheartedly support Grace Tame’s alleged “attitude” at her photo meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. There was nothing rude, insolent or belittling about her attitude. It seems she was requested or invited over for a photo opportunity which was to be another “success” story for the PM. It was of no interest to her, and none to most of the rest of us. She is not a “pretender” apparently. Congratulations, Grace.

Marney Walker writes: I am a 72-year-old woman who is very proud of Grace Tame. It takes a great deal of courage to stand with integrity and honesty in the presence of power — especially the person in the most powerful political position in Australia. 

I am grateful as well as proud. Grateful that a woman of intelligence has used her position and presence to represent women who have placed their trust in her. I am sure that it has come at a personal cost to her and I hope that she knows that she, like others before her, is appreciated for paving the way for positive change for women in this country.

Grace Tame epitomises qualities of leadership. She is strong and willing to be vulnerable but not willing to compromise on issues that impinge on the values of honesty, truth and accountability. She has shown compassion for the women who have entrusted their stories to her. She does not pretend to be something or someone she is not. Unfortunately these values have been seen so rarely in the people in political power at this time that perhaps they may not recognise them.

Body language is powerful and hers conveyed a strong message to the prime minister and the country that she understands the condescending and patronising way that she (and the people she represents) have been treated by him, government ministers and the Murdoch press.

Congratulations, Grace, and thank you!

Marian Arnold writes: As an 82-year-old feminist, I have marvelled at Grace Tame and her courage and the inspiration she provided to Brittany Higgins and, I’m sure, many less high-profile young and not-so-young women. I hope her time has marked a line in the sand in terms of the tolerance that has wrongly been shown to the “boys just being boys”.

I can’t stop laughing at the fact that having finally been able to be rid of the “troublesome “ woman, the prime minister finds himself with Dylan Alcott, a very vocal advocate for the differently abled members of our community. Oh dear!

Helen Fischer writes: I am nearly 70 and have a granddaughter to whom I believed I would be able to leave a better, more equal world. I fought for equality all my life, against family, society, male bosses and a patriarchal political class that holds on to power without understanding the advantages that equality can bring to everyone in a society. Gender equality can provide significant benefits for whole communities across economic, social and well-being indicators, including for children.

But in the past year I have been reminded that progress is a nebulous thing. Once you think you have it in your grasp, suddenly it slips away with yet another sexual assault by a public figure or another scandal that was written and spoken about in a way that victimised the perpetrator and pilloried the victim.  

I have been saddened to see the way many of the mainstream media, and particularly male media personalities, have treated Grace Tame throughout — and particularly at the end of an amazingly courageous year in which she had shown unbelievable strength during her time as Australian of the Year. I am in awe of her determination to make life better for women and girls who have experienced and lived what she has gone through and for those yet to come.

I am also in awe of her incredible integrity in being true to herself.

The one thing her detractors have forgotten is that respect is earned; it is not awarded simply for achieving high office. It is given to those who use their personal power to the best advantage for others. It is not awarded to selfish, narrow-minded and mendacious rulers who believe their position automatically affords them respect. That is the rule of an autocrat who needs the office to hide behind as they are not competent as leaders to lead from the front.

So I say thank you, Grace Tame, for being strong enough to show us the quality of leadership as it should be and not as it has been. Let us hope that women such as she are encouraged to ignore the jibes of small men and soar high and lift other talented and amazing women with them.

On new names for conspiracy theories

Richard Calligan writes: Implausible reality.

Allen Brown writes: Paranoid piffle.

Garth Tompkins writes: Unscience fiction.

Ronald Westwood writes: “Delusional” seems meaningful to me. Also, although it’s cumbersome, “wilful ignorance”.

Sarah Jordan writes: I nominate “bullshit”.

Has something in Crikey got you fired up? Let us know by writing to letters@crikey.com.au. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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