Scott Morrison finally responds to controversial Grace Tame moment: 'Always welcome'

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Scott Morrison has spoken out over his "awkward" photo op with 2021 Australian of the Year, Grace Tame saying he hasn't "raised any issues" about it.

The Prime Minister received a frosty greeting from Ms Tame on Tuesday when attending the 2022 Australian of the Year Finalists Morning Tea in canberra.

The photos quickly went viral, with social media users noticing how uncomfortable Ms Tame looked in the photos, while Mr Morrison smiled at the camera as they shook hands.

Photos of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame standing next to each other. Morrison smiling to a camera while Tame is stony faced.
Photos of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame have gone viral. Source: AAP

"When Jenny and I invite someone to our home, we greet them with a smile and they're always welcome, and that day was actually about all the finalists we came to celebrate," Mr Morrison told Queensland radio station 4BC on Friday.

"I haven't raised any issues about (the incident) - all I'm saying is we were there that day to celebrate those who had done an incredible job for our country.

"Look, Grace is a passionate person who's raised important issues. She's had a terrible life ordeal ... the abuse. It's just awful.

"And I know a lot of Australians, me included, support her efforts to ensure that these issues can be raised and addressed."

In a video, Mr Morrison is heard congratulating Ms Tame on her recent engagement to Max Heerey as she appears to reluctantly shake his hand.

She refrains from smiling and her body language looks uncomfortable as she poses for a photo next to Mr Morrison and his wife, Jenny,

Ms Tame, an advocate for sexual assault survivors, has criticised the prime minister over his handling of issues surrounding the treatment of women in the past, speaking out about his comments following Brittany Higgins' sexual assault allegations.

Social media reacts to Grace Tame pictures

The interaction gained general widespread support online, with users expressing their delight over the images.

"If looks could kill," another said.

"I saw the still photo and thought that could have been just a moment – but this video.... the loathing is palpable," a third person observed.

However, not all were supportive of the exchange, with Liberal senator James McGrath labelling Ms Tame "partisan, political and childish".

Scott Morrison and wife Jenny smiling at camera standing next to Grace Tame and fiance Max Heerey who are not smiling.
Social media users said Ms Tame's reaction 'captured' how the nation feels. Source: AAP

"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."

Environment Minister Sussan Ley would not say whether the comments from her parliamentary colleagues were out of line, but added people were free to speak their mind.

"Grace Tame is a force of nature and being a leader for many women across Australia," she told ABC TV.

"The prime minister has done more for the issues of women than any other prime minister I have ever worked for, and in any other government."

With AAP

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