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Bruce Lehrmann speaks on Canberra’s ‘mentally scarring tradition’


“I do know there’s been plenty of dialogue about learn how to deal with ladies, however regardless, I feel extra broadly that tradition is horrible.”

Lehrmann’s trial had a pointy concentrate on a sordid, hierarchical tradition and infrequently merely what former prime minister Scott Morrison known as the “Canberra bubble”.

The prosecution relies totally on proof of political strain. Higgins stated she needed to preserve quiet about her rape grievance.

Brittany Higgins arrives in court during Bruce Lehrmann's rape trial.

Brittany Higgins arrives in court docket throughout Bruce Lehrmann’s rape trial.Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

For the prosecution, it was the strongest line of argument in opposition to questions on why Higgins didn’t pursue a police grievance on the time of the incident in March 2019.

On the ultimate day of proof, Shane Drumgold, SC, reserved her sharpest blade for essentially the most highly effective witnesses: Linda Reynolds and Michaelia Money, each Accomplice senators and, till just lately, senators. authorities minister.

It was in Reynolds’ congressional workplace that Lehrmann was accused of raping Higgins whereas she was partially unconscious after an evening out ingesting with colleagues within the early morning hours of March 23, 2019.

The alleged rape took place inside the office of then-Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds.

The alleged rape came about contained in the workplace of then-Protection Secretary Linda Reynolds.Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

Reynolds agrees from the witness field that, though Morrison has but to set a date, an election is imminent.

What shouldn’t be clear from her proof is how a lot Reynolds knew about what Higgins had stated she suffered by the hands of her colleague and what she truly did about it.

Drumgold artfully painted Lehrmann’s trial not in regards to the #MeToo motion nor in regards to the expertise of every other lady in parliament.

Alternatively, he stated some increased powers have a direct impact on how Higgins and others deal with her grievance.

“Clearly there are highly effective political forces at work within the interval instantly following the occasions, by way of the election and past.”

Prosecutor Shane Drumgold SC

Drumgold instructed jurors Higgins had a “proper to be scared” when she reported her sexual assault allegations to police.

“Suffice it to say that there are clearly robust political forces at work within the interval instantly following the occasions, by way of the election and past,” Drumgold stated within the closing remarks. Higgins, he stated, was the “younger woman” within the midst of these forces.

Reynolds, who appeared underneath a subpoena, denied politics had any affect on Higgins’ choice in 2019 to desert her unique method to police following the alleged incident.


As a substitute, Higgins withdrew from the police course of and continued her work, touring to Western Australia along with her boss to help within the 2019 election marketing campaign.

In the identical piece of proof, the senator was compelled to make uncommon concessions when Drumgold requested her in regards to the paperwork she had despatched shortly earlier than showing in court docket.

Reynolds admitted she texted Lehrmann’s legal professional with a prompting query whereas he was re-examining Higgins, in addition to asking him for a transcript of Higgins’ testimony earlier than she gave it to her.

When Reynolds was known as as Crown’s witness, Drumgold needed to get the decide’s permission to re-examine her, which meant he might ask her main questions.

“What’s your motivation when attempting to coach the cross-test?” Drumgold gave it to her.

Reynolds: “That is not what I am seeking to do.”

Drumgold: “I would recommend that on this foundation, you are clearly politically invested within the end result of this trial, aren’t you?”

Reynolds: “No… I do not perceive the connection between the 2.”

Drumgold: “Should you’ve invested sufficient to textual content my buddy… and we’re not even in an election, we do not have an election pending, I recommend you come again on April 1, 2019, if you’re seeing Brittany Higgins once more, you are very politically invested in what’s taking place in that room, aren’t you?”

Former federal minister Michaelia Cash testifies during the Bruce Lehrmann rape trial.

Former federal minister Michaelia Money testifies in the course of the Bruce Lehrmann rape trial.Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

Reynolds: “Completely not.”

Money, with whom Higgins has labored since June 2019, was pushed to dismiss an assertion that she denied figuring out in regards to the alleged sexual assault earlier than February 2021, when Higgins resigned, as a result of that will be politically inconvenient.

Higgins had beforehand instructed the court docket she had spoken to Money, who was then the minister of abilities and employment, in regards to the allegation a number of instances.


Lerhmann’s legal professional, Steven Whybrow, requested Money if it was “political suicide” to attempt to cowl up a sexual assault amongst staff. Money stated it could occur, “therefore my confusion with the earlier line of questions”.

Proof was additionally introduced throughout testing of alcohol use environments by which staff talk with one another.

On the evening of the alleged incident, a gaggle of political and division staff gathered in a preferred pub on the Kingston beachfront.

In keeping with Higgins, they’re a gaggle of people that “have a unusually excessive opinion of themselves on the premise of whether or not they work in congress or in protection”.

Higgins had 11 drinks at that bar earlier than a smaller group, together with Lehrmann, arrived at a downtown nightclub, 88MPH, round midnight.

“It was a extremely good evening. It was an innocuous evening… when staff have been out ingesting, it was not an uncommon evening.”

Bruce Lehrman

There they’d scenes and dances.

“It was a extremely good evening,” Lehrmann stated. “It was an innocuous evening… when the employees went out ingesting, it wasn’t an uncommon evening.”

Alcohol is a giant a part of the Crown’s proof. There was an quantity that was consumed by Higgins within the night, making her so intoxicated that she didn’t keep in mind main components of it.


However the court docket additionally heard in regards to the presence of alcohol in ministerial places of work.

Lehrmann instructed two colleagues he introduced Higgins again to Reynolds’ workplace at 1:30 a.m. for a whiskey drink.

One other worker, Nicole Hamer, instructed the court docket that Lehrmann stored a pile of alcohol in his workplace, a declare he denied.

Lehrmann was solely 23 years previous when these occasions came about, and he was already Reynolds’ most senior worker, though he had not but graduated with a level in arts/coverage from the Australian Nationwide College.

The experiment offered an perception into the life of younger staff, who have been conferred nice energy and status within the realms of ministerial places of work, regardless of their lack of expertise, experience, or experience. Alternative ways.

“I’ve had different individuals in politics cross me earlier than.”

Brittany Higgins, on why she does not take her previous rejected kiss from Bruce Lehrmann significantly

The court docket stated Higgins had labored for former Queensland MP Steven Ciobo when he was protection trade minister.

However when Ciobo introduced his retirement from politics forward of the 2019 election, his portfolio was turned over to Reynolds and staff of the consolidated workplace.

Higgins gives proof that Lehrmann has territory within the workplace context.

He claimed the 2 desks in a again workplace of the division have been his personal, and asserted his superiority when high worker Reynolds introduced her into the Division of Protection Industries she had just lately inherited, Higgins. converse.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied knowing beforehand about the rape allegation.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied figuring out beforehand in regards to the rape allegation.Credit score:Dean Sewell

“I’ve an odd, diabolical relationship with him,” Higgins instructed police, later telling them she had turned down his kiss exterior a Canberra pub however did not take him significantly. content material with it as a result of “I’ve had different individuals in politics surpass me earlier than”.

In keeping with Higgins, Lehrmann was a younger worker of the Liberal Occasion. He even dressed for the half, in RM Williams boots and a Ralph Lauren shirt: “The usual Freestyle form of outfit…all the pieces goes collectively.”

Though the tradition of secrecy and cover-up Higgins stated discouraged her from reporting her allegations to police in 2019, information of what allegedly occurred between her and Lehrmann within the public service began to leak.

Employees chatters, congressional safety guards chat, and eventually, journalists start to listen to whispers about an incident.

There’s a media investigation from Canberra Occasions in October 2019, this rocked Higgins, who on the time was working for Money.

The court docket heard Higgins instructed her buddy and ex-boyfriend Ben Dillaway, additionally an worker, that he might confide in Julian Leembruggen, from Morrison’s workplace, particulars of her allegations. Dillaway thinks this may get some assist from Higgins, although it is unclear what variety.

Dillaway stated Higgins was “struggling considerably, not dealing with all the pieces”.


“I stated, let me privately go discuss to somebody within the Prime Minister’s Workplace as a result of absolutely this will make issues progress, or it should actually get you the assist you want. obligatory,” he stated.

However then Morrison denied he knew something in regards to the alleged rape till the story was made public on 15 February 2021, on

Amid rising political strain and skepticism, the pinnacle of the Prime Minister’s Workplace Phil Gaetjens was tasked with investigating who knew what and when in regards to the alleged incident.

However the Gaetjens investigation was suspended after the felony trial started. Now that the federal government has modified, it is unclear when the general public can have these solutions.

Higgins actually started to doubt and mistrust the 2 establishments she had all the time held so expensive, the Liberal Occasion and the Homes of Parliament.

After the alleged crash and the 2019 election, which the Coalition received an upset victory, Higgins returned to the Capitol to work for Money.

In her personal admission, she grew to become “obsessed” when she noticed CCTV footage of her and Lehrmann coming into parliament within the early hours of 23 March.

She believes different individuals within the constructing, who she works with, have seen it and she or he feels she must piece collectively what occurred to her.

When she filed a proper grievance with the police in 2021, she deleted the contents of her cellphone earlier than handing it over. She stated it was as a result of she was scared.

She instructed the court docket this was because of her worry of then-Dwelling Secretary Peter Dutton utilizing her authority to collect data from the Australian Federal Police a few police grievance.

“I used to be fairly appalled as a result of that week I discovered that the second I had intercourse with the police once more, earlier than I made an official assertion to the police, there was a provision the place any politically delicate , I do not know, can occur. court docket circumstances … are reported to the inside minister,” she instructed the court docket.

“Peter Dutton got here out and stated he had background details about my grievance earlier than I even gave a proof interview. I understand how data flows by way of the ministerial wing and I do know that it’s not snuffed out. I used to be very, very scared.”

A lot was fabricated from Higgins’ work within the political sphere. In keeping with the prosecution, that’s the reason Higgins initially denied her lawsuit, so she will probably be free to work in the course of the marketing campaign.

As an excuse, the preliminary grievance was Higgins’ major manner of holding her employed underneath Reynolds, which was dropped when she realized it was not threatened.

Whybrow questions the proof that Drumgold depends on to collect the political forces that Higgins should navigate.

He stated no political pressure was at play, “aside from Mrs. Higgins”.

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