“Devastating”: Tense live interview sees Peter van Onselen grilled on The Project

Carrie Bickmore and Guardian's Amy Remeikis both take issue with a newspaper column penned by 10 political editor.

A tense live interview last night on The Project saw host Peter van Onselen grilled for a column he wrote.

His article published in The Australian was prompted by 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame in a frosty photo shoot with PM Scott Morrison at The Lodge yesterday.

“She was ungracious, rude and childish, refusing to smile for the cameras, barely acknowledging his existence when standing next to him. The footage tells the story free of overstatement,” van Onselen wrote.

“She didn’t have to play the role of court jester, or be a fake. Just be a decent human being, that’s all. If that wasn’t possible, why bother to attend at all?”

But last night Guardian journalist Amy Remeikis, whose new book On Reckoning criticises PM Morrison’s handling of the Brittany Higgins affair last year, did not hold back in a live interview.

“I have to say this, Peter, your remarks during this whole period, is one of the reasons why I wrote the book, because your response absolutely helped fuel my anger, and the anger of so many people around it,” she said.

“…you hold such an important part in that conversation and for you to take that line was devastating to so many people. And your column today, again, devastating to so many people, because this is the point. The point is women constantly have to come out, talk about their trauma, talk about their position, talk about not being taken seriously scream the roof down, get to the point where I am almost crying on national television to talk about this. Because we’re constantly being told how we should act, who we should think about and who perhaps should be seen in our place.”

Carrie Bickmore also weighed in on his response to the photo shoot yesterday.

“Why do you feel the need to tell Grace how she should have behaved? But second of all, why should she stand there and smile and pretend it‘s all okay when there is an absolute catastrophe on the cards here?” she asked van Onselen.

“I don’t think she should stand there and smile and pretend it’s all OK, I just thought she shouldn’t go. If you can’t be polite in some form, then don’t go,” he replied.

“But why should she have to be silenced and quiet? Why can’t she go and make a statement in her behaviour about how she feels over what has happened in the past year?” Bickmore prodded.

“I don’t think she was silenced, I think it would have made a big difference if she hadn’t gone, if you can’t have basic courtesy to the Prime Minister – I don’t like Scott Morrison particularly – but if you can’t show basic courtesy, I think it’s immature,” he answered.

“In the article today you spoke about how she’d acted as a child, you know when she should have been able to act as a child? When she was a child. But she was preyed upon by a man and lost part of herself in that. I‘m unsure how that article today helps when I’m assuming, like the entire nation, you want violence against women and children to end?”

“I survived an attempted sexual assault on me, which I’ve written about before,” he replied. “So I understand that side of it. But I just think if you can’t, you know, be polite to the Prime Minister of the country. I get it. I said in the article I get it. If she can’t be polite to him, but then just don’t go because otherwise I think it’s immature.”

Remeikis soon let rip at 10 network’s political editor.

“You attempted to police a woman who lost all agency as a child where she was groomed and told how to behave. And she has since come out and made her entire adulthood about not behaving in the way that other people think that she should that she’s going to be true to herself. And because of the politics of civility you wrote a column in the national masthead, slamming her for that. You said she shouldn’t have gone. She has every right to be there. She has every right to show her feelings. And if she doesn’t want to be part of a politically staged photo op, she doesn’t have to smile to make other people feel better and not hurt their feelings.”

51 Responses

    1. Why should Grace explain? Grace is an advocate for sexual assualt victims. Grace met the Australian Prime Minister who didn’t take action on rape allegations brought forward by a former staff member, until Morrison’s wife changed his prospective on the sexual assault allegation, saying what if that happened to our daughters?

      The person who should be explaining is Scott Morrison.

      Like seriously… How out of touch is Morrison?

      1. And not the words you should allowed published you’ve not published me before by simply saying how I think someone should be off television. But you let a person say little brat about a rape survivor- seriously? That is a bad look and she definitely isn’t a spoilt little brat Leo

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