Brittany Higgins will pursue the allegations of rape that have rocked Parliament House with the AFP as Prime Minister Scott Morrison faces mounting criticism.
Scott Morrison’s claim that no one in his office knew about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins has been undermined by new text messages revealing his staffer was “mortified” by the story and had pledged to take action.
The text messages were exchanged between Ms Higgins and another Liberal staffer in April, 2019, after she had confided that she had been sexually assaulted but had got “jack-sh*t” support from the Liberal party.
Outraged, the man asked if he could take the matter to a friend who worked for the Prime Minister and ask for help on her behalf.
The man said he did so and on April 3, 2019, just 11 days after the alleged rape in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ office, he reported back to Ms Higgins what happened in a text message.
“Spoke to PMO (Prime Minister’s Office). He was mortified to hear about it and how things have been handled,” the text reads.
“He’s going to discuss with COS (Chief of Staff) — no one else. I flagged need for councillor (sic) and desire to be closer to home during election.”
An explosive text message between Brittany Higgins and a fellow Liberal staffer seems to indicate the Prime Minister's office was made aware of her alleged rape in Parliament House just days after.
In response to the text messages, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was careful not to deny the possibility indicating it was something a review into the matter he has called will now examine.
“I am aware of those reports and those matters are in the scope of what I have asked the secretary of the Prime Minister and cabinet to look into,’’ he said.
“It is within that scope. We have had that conversation this morning and I would expect that to be considered in the scope of what he is already doing. I set out in the parliament this week the timetable of when I am advised my office knew about it.”
That was deeply distressing, as I am sure it was for everybody when they were first confronted with this news.”
The date of the text messages, April 3, was just two days after Ms Higgins was called to a meeting with the then Defence Industry Minister Senator Reynolds.
But when contacted by news.com.au, the staffer, who still works in Mr Morrison’s office, insisted he was never told Ms Higgins had been raped and had simply been asked to help find her another job after the election.
More lies proven .
This version of the conversation is clearly at odds with the text sent by Ms Higgins’s friend and his recollection at the time.
There are now at least three people working in the Prime Minister’s office who knew of an “incident” in the Defence Minister’s office two years ago but say they didn’t realise it involved a rape allegation at the time.
They include the chief of staff John Kunkel who helped terminate the employment of the male Liberal staffer who took Ms Higgins into the office after hours, his Executive Assistant and the man referred to in the text messages.
A fourth person, the former COS in Senator Reynolds’s office who now works in the PM’s office, did know but says she didn’t tell anyone to protect the victim’s privacy.