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Brittany And Grace Tame Call For Change, Not Apologies

Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame have addressed the National Press Club, calling for change and fewer apologies and words.

Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, began her speech condemning the nation's leaders for the toxic culture against women that has been found to be rife within Parliament House.

"The parliament of Australia is safe; it is secure, except if you're a woman," she said.

But a year after going public about her alleged rape in a minister's office, Ms Higgins does not think much has changed.

"I didn't want his sympathy as a father; I wanted him to use his power as Prime Minister," Higgins said in regards to comments Morrison made after her allegations of sexual assault were made public.

Ms Higgins acknowledged the apologies made by Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese in Parliament on Monday.

"I earnestly thank the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for their statements of acknowledgement and apologies offered yesterday to victims of abuse in our national parliament," she said.

However, Ms Higgins went on to say her "patience has run out" about the timeframe around the National Action Plan to end violence against women and children.

"This plan will not be worth the glossy paper it will eventually be printed on, and Australian women and children will suffer through another decade of violence and abuse while politicians and policymakers bring their hands about the fact that we need to turn things around in 2040," she said.

Ms Tame followed with her speech, saying she was not just an advocate for women but "for all survivors of child sexual abuse".

"We must preserve that nuance. Every nuance in our discussions," she said.

"We cannot forget our boys, and we cannot forget our men, not only as welcome, equal participants in this ongoing conversation, and without ignoring many negative patriarchal customs, we cannot forget our boys and men who are fellow survivors of abuse."

Ms Tame condemned the culture of victim-blaming, detailing the messages she still receives calling her a “predator”.

“If I can still be shamed into believing that today, it is no wonder that even amid this national reckoning, with all the empowerment it has generated for survivors, many still remain hesitant to publicly come forward with their stories,” she said.

Ms Tame dismissed the coalition's approach as "empty announcements", "placatory platitudes" and "superficial last-minute acknowledgements".

She reiterated her call for nationally consistent sexual assault laws, ages of consent and definitions of sexual intercourse following a meeting with the country's attorneys-general.

AAP with The Project