Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins speeches light up social media: 'Breathtaking'

Two powerful and moving speeches from former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame have set social media alight with thousands of Australians offering messages of support to the two women.

The duo spoke at the National Press Club on Wednesday in a highly anticipated address following the prime minister's apology on the floor of parliament.

Ms Higgins spoke first, and said she felt “offended” by some language used by Prime Minister Scott Morrison when talking about women’s safety.

"What bothered me most about the whole 'imagine if it were our daughters' spiel wasn't that he necessarily needed his wife's advice to help contextualise my rape in a way that mattered to him personally," she said.

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

2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame (left) and advocate for survivors of sexual assault Brittany Higgins sit side-by-side at the National Press Club.
Grace Tame (left) and Brittany Higgins prepare to address the National Press Club in Canberra. Source: AAP

Ms Tame also lashed out at Mr Morrison, and recalled a phone call from a senior member of a government funded organisation who demanded she not disparage the prime minister at the next Australian of the Year Awards.

"I would rather go down as a disappointment to an institution than sell out as a pandering political puppet to the corrupt forces that coercively control it," Ms Tame said.

Both women were given standing ovations from the audience at the National Press Club, and the applause continued online where the women quickly became trending topics.

'The most compelling speeches imaginable'

Thousands praised the women for their courage, describing their speeches as “powerful”,“emotional” and “breathtaking”.

One called Ms Tame’s speech the “most gutsy and honest” address the press club has ever seen.

Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese, who was present at the press club, tweeted that the words of the two survivors must be heeded by every Australian.

Economist Stephen Koukoulas said the addresses were "two of the most compelling speeches imaginable".

“If you are not moved, motivated and influenced by these extraordinary women, you are not alive," he said.

Morrison not present at Tame, Higgins' speeches

On Tuesday, Mr Morrison confirmed he would not be attending Ms Higgins’ and Ms Tame’s speeches, saying he had a “busy week”.

“I don’t get the opportunity to listen to all these speeches, but I’ll certainly ensure I am aware of what they’ve said,” he told reporters.

“I am certainly … very interested in the contribution they have made. I think the contribution they have made has brought forward some very important issues that we’ve had to deal with, and we should deal with, and were long overdue.”

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