Brittany hits out at ‘blame shifting’
Brittany Higgins has expressed her "disappointment" at the "politicking" and "blame shifting" occurring after she went public with allegations that a former Liberal staffer sexually assaulted her.
She shared a short video clip on Twitter from discussions held on the ABC Insiders' program, which was aired on Sunday morning.
The panel on the political program this week included Philip Coorey, political editor at the Australian Financial Review, Rosie Lewis, federal politics journalist at The Australian and Lanai Scar, federal political editor at the West Australian newspaper.
Former Liberal staffer Ms Higgins has alleged she was raped in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' office. Three other women have since come forward to accuse the same man of assaulting or harassing them.
In an Insiders clip featuring highlights shared by Ms Higgins, Mr Coorey commented about the heavy media storm since the young Liberal staffer first went public on news.com.au: "If I was that guy's defence lawyer, the perpetrator, I'd be going very carefully over everything that has been said or written in the last 10 days looking for some way you can torpedo any trial."
The alleged rape of Brittany Higgins in parliament has brought the process for reporting crimes into sharp focus.
The revelations have caused political upheaval as Australia's top police officer Reece Kershaw sent a strongly worded letter to the PM in the wake of the rape scandal. The Australian Federal Police commissioner warned politicians that delays in reporting crimes can seriously damage investigations and risk the perpetrator reoffending, it was revealed on Thursday.
Ms Lewis spoke on Insiders about a warning in the AFP letter that alleged victims should not go through the media.
"Now, you can put two and two together," she said. "Was he talking to anyone in particular? No. But in the case of Brittany Higgins she did go to the media."
Under-fire senator Linda Reynolds who has been grilled over the handling of Brittany Higgins' rape claims has been blamed for not telling the Prime Minister about the incident, added Mr Coorey. Ms Higgins revealed that she was brought to a formal employment meeting about the incident in the room where she was allegedly raped - a decision the Morrison Government has now accepted was an error by the then Defence Industry Minister Ms Reynolds.
Ms Lewis said she didn't think the political leaders concerns were so much about how Ms Reynolds handled in the rape allegation in 2019 when Ms Higgins first told her about the incident.
"It's more the fact you've had pretty bad political fallout over the past fortnight," she said.
The past two weeks for almost every women in politics in Parliament has been difficult, added Ms Scar, before commenting that it "had been difficult for the men in the building as well that are good men too".
Responding the comments made on the program, Ms Higgins said this is why people don't come forward to report sexual abuse or harassment.
"The politicking, the blame shifting - none of which address the fundamental problems evident in the culture at Parliament House," she said. "I'm not surprised, just disappointed."
Ms Higgins has lodged a formal complaint with the AFP triggering an active investigation.
An investigation into workplace culture at Parliament House has also been established.
Originally published as Brittany hits out at 'blame shifting'