Crikey wraps it nicely:
Former Liberal staffer Chelsey Potter has written an op-ed at InDailyaccusing federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham of not meeting with her either before or after she went public with allegations of sexual assault by a colleague.
InDailyfurther explains that Birmingham, who was not told of the allegations while Potter worked in his office, has confirmed he declined to meet up in 2019 and only sent messages referring her to the Women’s Information Service and 1800RESPECT — “Not even a suggestion of involving the police, which would later become the catchcry of senior Liberals weeks later”.
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Similarly, former NSW Liberal Party staffer Dhanya Mani, who publicly aired allegations of indecent assault against a colleague in 2019, has told 7.30she reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office for help but did not receive any.
The comments comes after Four Corners revealed that a fourth woman has come forward to make a complaint about the former staffer who allegedly raped Brittany Higgins — specifically that the man allegedly stroked her thigh under the table at a Canberra bar — while Higgins has slammed Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ claim of not wanting to answer questions in the Senate due to concern for her former staffer’s privacy as “patently false”.
Finally, Guardian Australianotes that Scott Morrison’s office has acknowledged that a second prime ministerial adviser knew about the termination of Higgins’ alleged rapist, because the current staffer had worked under Reynolds’ previously.
PS: Additionally, Higgins’ partner David Sharaz has resigned from his job at a media analytics company in Canberra due to fears of payback while dealing with federal government clients.
The rape protection racket going swimmingly. Bernard Keane sees through the smoke:
It’s a measure of how worried Scott Morrison is about the fallout from the mistreatment by his government of Brittany Higgins that in the space of five days — after his disastrous “I checked with Jen” response — the prime minister announced not one, not two, not three, but four inquiries and reviews.
The first two — announced last week in an effort to put the Higgins revelations into a political siding — are one by Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) deputy secretary Stephanie Foster examining the processes in place for supporting people who come forward with complaints in the future. The second is an internal Coalition review by Liberal MP Celia Hammond looking at staffing issues.
A third — called in a panic when Morrison’s story that his office knew nothing of what happened to Higgins began to fall apart — is being conducted by PM&C head Phil Gaetjens to find out who inside the PM’s office knew about the alleged rape. It’s confined to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and it’s not clear it will ever be made public.
A fourth, future, review will look into workplace culture of parliamentarians and their staff, after Senate leader and Special Minister of State Simon Birmingham has consulted with other parties about terms of reference.
None address the core issues raised by Higgins who this week will speak to the Australian Federal Police to investigate her sexual assault in the offices of Linda Reynolds in March 2019.
In fact the panoply of inquiries seem designed to address everything but the serious questions raised by what happened to her and how it was handled: why so many parties knew about her assault and knew more details about her assault than she did; what the circumstances were of the departure of her alleged rapist and what bona fides were given to his future employers — a crucial issue given he is now accused of being a serial rapist; why there are so many flaws and inconsistencies in the account provided in the aftermath of the alleged assault by Morrison, Reynolds and others, such as Morrison’s assurance that the PMO knew nothing of what happened until two years later, or Reynolds’ insistence she was unaware Higgins had been raped.
I still can’t see how women and all decent folk will vote for this mobster.