Higgins to be quizzed about secret recordings

Brittany Higgins will be questioned about secret recordings she took of conversations with a senior Liberal minister and her chief of staff.


Oct 07, 2022, updated Oct 07, 2022
Brittany Higgins and partner David Sharaz. Photo: AAP/Mick Tsikas

Brittany Higgins and partner David Sharaz. Photo: AAP/Mick Tsikas

The former Liberal Party staffer was called as the first witness in the criminal trial of Bruce Lehrmann, who has been accused of raping her.

He has pleaded not guilty to sexual intercourse without consent.

On Thursday, the court heard Higgins secretly recorded a phone conversation with her former boss and then-employment minister Michaelia Cash in 2021, days after she resigned from her staffer position.

Senator Cash had called to offer Higgins alternatives to resigning from her office.

Higgins said the phone call was strange because the senator was pretending as though she didn’t know about her alleged rape even though the pair had spoken about it before.

“It was ridiculous. It was the weirdest phone call I have ever had in my life,” she said.

Higgins also recorded a conversation with Senator Cash’s former chief of staff Daniel Try without his knowledge.

Defence lawyer Steven Whybrow put to Higgins that she had sent the recordings to multiple people, including journalists, to begin backgrounding for the story.

But Higgins said it was for her legal protection and so that she could corroborate her story.

“I was trying to give them (the recordings) to as many people as possible to have them just so that they existed,” she said.

“It’s my word against a cabinet minister’s and the disparity between those two powers is ridiculous.”

Whybrow also put to Higgins other inconsistencies in the story the court had heard during the previous two days.

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He questioned what Higgins did with the white cocktail dress she was wearing on the night of the alleged assault.

He referred to her earlier story that she had put the unwashed dress under her bed for a period of six months before she laundered it and wore it to a Liberal Party event.

He then showed the jury a photo of Higgins wearing the dress to an event – a birthday dinner for Liberal senator Linda Reynolds – in May 2019, around two months after the alleged assault.

Whybrow put to Higgins that she had not given true and correct evidence.

“I made a mistake, I wasn’t trying to do anything, I was just wrong,” Higgins told the court.

Whybrow also put to Higgins that she had made her rape allegation public by participating in two media interviews because she intended to damage the Liberal Party.

Higgins said she wanted to reform a cultural problem with the way women were being treated in Parliament House.

“I loved my party, I loved the Liberal Party,” she said.

Higgins‘ former bosses Senator Cash and Senator Linda Reynolds as well as former Liberal MP Steven Ciobo have been listed as witnesses and could be called to give evidence during the trial.

The trial is expected to last for between four and six weeks.


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