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‘Unreservedly apologise’: Defence Minister apologises to her ex-staffer Higgins

David Crowe (The Sydney Morning Herald)


Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has offered an unreserved apology to her former staff member, who says she felt unsupported after she was raped in her boss’ office in Parliament House.

Former adviser Brittany Higgins says she felt “dismissed” after she was allegedly raped by a colleague in Senator Reynolds’ office in March 2019.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison also apologised for the treatment of Ms Higgins, and asked his department’s deputy secretary, Stephanie Foster, to lead a review of the complaints process. He named Liberal backbencher Celia Hammond, a former university vice-chancellor, to review cultural problems around the treatment of women.


Ms Higgins told News.com.au and the Ten Network’s The Project on Monday she was sexually assaulted by another ministerial adviser in March 2019 in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office, where they both worked.


She also told of her distress when Senator Reynolds and the minister’s acting chief of staff set up a meeting about the matter in the same room where the alleged rape took place.


“I unreservedly apologise to Brittany Higgins,” Senator Reynolds said in Parliament on Tuesday.


“Last night we all heard from Brittany herself in her own words. Her trauma, her distress, was all very very clear for all to see.


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