Brittany Higgins takes a big step towards bringing colleague who allegedly raped her in Parliament House to court as Scott Morrison warns ‘this is not confined to Parliament’
- Brittany Higgins was allegedly raped after a night out with coworkers in 2019
- She has an appointment to make a formal statement to the AFP on Wednesday
- She asked for an independent investigation into how the incident was handled
- Scott Morrison also believes the culture within Parliament House has to change
- Labor’s Tanya Plibersek believes Ms Higgins has been let down by Mr Morrison
Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins has made a big step towards pursuing criminal charges against a colleague who allegedly raped her in Parliament House.
Ms Higgins, who worked for then Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, claims she was raped after a night out with coworkers in 2019 when she was 24.
On Sunday she made an appointment to give a formal statement to the Australian Federal Police on Wednesday.
Ms Higgins formally complained to police on Friday and asked for a review into Parliament’s ‘toxic workplace culture,’ saying she wants her alleged rapist to ‘face the full force of the law’.
She also asked for an independent investigation into how the alleged incident was handled.
Brittany Higgins (pictured) came forward this week with allegations she was raped in 2019, and now says she wants ‘my perpetrator to face the full force of the law’
Brittany Higgins, then 24, has alleged she was raped by a colleague inside Parliament House in March 2019
Scott Morrison also believes the culture within Parliament House has to change as he and his government remain under scrutiny over the handling of the matter.
‘I think the culture needs to change and it needs to continually improve,’ the prime minister told reporters on Sunday, after being one of the first recipients of the Pfizer Covid vaccination.
‘But I’ve got to say, if any workplace thinks that this is just confined to the parliament, they’re kidding themselves.’
Questions have now been raised about whether Senator Reynolds (left in right image) should apologise for her handling of Ms Higgins’ allegations
But he is sticking to his version of events, that he knew nothing about the sexual assault until last Monday and 48 hours after his own staff were quizzed on the matter.
Mr Morrison said he made his views known to his staff for keeping him in the dark ‘very candidly’ last Monday.
But Labor’s Tanya Plibersek believes Ms Higgins has been let down by the prime minister and that the full story over who knew what at the time is being withheld.
Ms Plibersek said two cabinet ministers knew the events surrounding the sexual assault two years ago, as did senior staff, but somehow Mr Morrison didn’t know.
‘I don’t think we have the full truth of this story, that’s for sure,’ she told Sky News when asked if she thought Mr Morrison was lying.
She said Ms Higgins was courageous in coming forward after she was left to choose between seeking justice and keeping her job.
‘They have really let her down,’ Ms Plibersek said.
‘No one should be made to fell like that… it’s appalling.’
On Saturday Mr Morrison said he was ‘very upset’ by reports a second woman was sexually assaulted by the same man who allegedly abused Ms Higgins.
‘These events truly do sicken me. They do sicken me, as they should anyone,’ he said.
Despite questions about Senator Reynolds’ handling of the complaint, the prime minister said she has his confidence to remain in Cabinet.
Scott Morrison also believes the culture within Parliament House has to change as he and his government remain under scrutiny over the handling of the matter. Pictured with Ms Higgins
The second woman was allegedly assaulted by the same man – a former government adviser – in late 2020.
The woman argues that if the government had adequately dealt with the incident involving Ms Higgins in 2019, she would not have become a victim.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, a frequent visitor to Parliament House, said it is a place that breeds a culture of disrespect.
‘That culture is a cancer that gives rise to these very serious events that happen in this place, that frankly wouldn’t be tolerated in a good workplace and shouldn’t be,’ she said.