Australian woman to lodge police complaint over alleged rape in parliament

James Marshall
February 19, 2021

Ms Higgins told news.com.au on Monday that she was raped by a colleague in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' ministerial office in March 2019 and claimed she felt forced to choose between reporting it to the police or keeping her job.

Despite Morrison's claim, Higgins has said a senior staffer in the Prime Minister's Office contacted her to "check in" a year ago, around the time Four Corners ran its investigation into Attorney-General Christian Porter and his treatment of women while in federal office.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said no one in his office knew about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, but newly released text messages appear to show that the Prime Minister's Office was made aware of the incident in 2019.

"She has indicated that she intends to pursue her complaint with the Australian Federal Police, and all of these matters go to the heart of that inquiry". "I would also ask that they handle it in a timely manner as to date, I have waited a long time for justice".

Reynolds, who is now defence minister, denies Higgins was pressured against making an official complaint.

I didn't know that a security guard came into the office multiple times seeing me in a state of undress.

The AFP has been approached for comment.

Explosive text messages have cast serious doubt over when the prime minister's office first knew about the alleged rape.

She said she did not pass on the report of the alleged rape out of concern for Higgins' welfare and privacy.

Senator Reynolds offered an "unreserved apology" over the handling of the rape allegations to Ms Higgins in the Senate, but refused to say whether she has had ongoing contact with the male Liberal staffer after the incident.

She revealed the detailed steps she took when she learned that a potential sexual assault was involved including urging Ms Higgins to go straight to the police.

He has denied misleading the public, but maintains he was horrified by the allegations.

Ms Higgins said while the past week has been a "difficult and trying" time for her and her loved ones, she now "has [her] voice".

"The prime minister has repeatedly told the parliament that I should be given "agency" going forward", Higgins said in her statement.

Asked about the text messages by reporters on Friday, Morrison remained adamant that his office did not find out about the alleged rape until February 12 of this year, the weekend before News.com.au first published the allegation, but added that "if there was anything different here, I would like to know".

I will continue to, ' he said.

"I was failed repeatedly, but I now have my voice, and I am determined to use [it] to ensure that this is never allowed to happy to another member of staff again".

Meanwhile, Labor leader Anthony Albanese says the text messages, reported on Friday, completely contradicted Mr Morrison's claim that his office wasn't informed until last week.

In her statement, Higgins said she has advised the Prime Minister's Office that she expected to have a voice in framing the scope and terms of reference for the review, ABC reported.

"It just doesn't stack up".

In addition to an independent investigation into what happened to me, I demand a significant review into the conditions under which ministerial and parliamentary staff are employed and how we can do better.

If you or somebody you know is experiencing sexual abuse or family violence contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, the Sexual Assault Support Services on 6231 1811 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Other reports by Click Lancashire

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