/ 19 February 2021

Minister ‘deeply sorry’ for Higgins hurt

Under pressure to outline what she knew and did about staff member Brittany Higgins’ alleged sexual assault by another member of her team in her Parliament House office in 2019, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds provided some details to the Senate yesterday. In the immediate aftermath of the alleged attack, “it was a complex and it was a highly sensitive matter,”  and “Brittany’s welfare and her right to privacy were paramount,” Reynolds said. And she was “deeply sorry that some of my actions and my handling of this matter added to Brittany’s distress,” she said, later becoming tearful. Calls for Reynolds’ resignation are ramping up. Meanwhile, The Australian this morning (paywall) has put a question mark over PM Morrison’s denial that his office found out about the alleged rape no earlier than last Friday. It’s published a text message from Higgins’s friend to her saying he “spoke to the PMO” about her need for support within a fortnight of the alleged attack.

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