Brittany Higgins ‘I didn’t know they debated calling an ambulance at the time of the incident’
Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins says the Federal Government has questions to answer over their conduct as new details emerged of the night of her alleged rape inside Parliament House.
Ms Higgins revealed allegations to news.com.au and Channel 10’s The Project on Monday she was raped by a male staffer in then-Defence Industry Minister and current Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office in the early hours of March 23, 2019.
Today, she released an explosive new statement as more details were made public about her alleged sexual assault.
“I have only been made aware of key elements of my own sexual assault as a result of coming forward publicly with my story,” Ms Higgins said in the statement.
“I didn’t know that security guards let me into Minister Reynolds’ suite. I didn’t know that a security guards (sic) came into the office multiple times seeing me in a state of undress.
“I didn’t know they were undertaking an internal review into how the matter was handled at the time.
“I didn’t know that they debated calling an ambulance at the time of the incident.”
Ms Higgins also took aim at Prime Minister Scott Morrison and singled out senior parliamentary staffers in her statement.
“The continued victim-blaming rhetoric by the Prime Minister is personally very distressing to me and countless other survivors,” she wrote.
“A current senior staffer to the Prime Minister and my former Chief-of-Staff refused to provide me with access to the CCTV footage from that evening and continually made me feel as if my ongoing employment would be jeopardised if I proceeded any further with the matter.
“The Government has questions to answer for their own conduct.”
During Question Time in Parliament today, Mr Morrison was pressed on whether he would support an independent external review into Ms Higgins’ allegations.
“The short answer to that is yes… and that’s what I indicated yesterday,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said yesterday two reviews would be undertaken into how parliamentary staff could be better protected.
He said he would be working with Cabinet Deputy Secretary Stephanie Foster to review the processes for workplace allegations and establish an automatic reporting process for department officials.
Mr Morrison said his office was not told about the allegations until a few weeks ago because of the alleged victim’s privacy.
“I understand that there was a judgement made about the balance of protecting Brittany’s privacy at the time,” he said.
“That judgement can certainly be commentated on and be judged, but that was my understanding of what occurred at that time.