Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins had a long discussion with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday afternoon about law reform regarding sexual assault.
Higgins spearheaded a nationwide movement by going public with allegations that she was raped by a fellow-Liberal Party staffer in 2019. Since then many other women have come forward with their own stories, including three other women have made sexual harassment claims against that same former Liberal staffer.
Since the allegations have come out, Morrison has been criticised over his lack of support and understanding on the issue. The PM could only understand Higgins when his wife Jenny asked how he’d feel if it had happened to one of his two girls.
“Jenny and I spoke last night, and she said to me, ‘You have to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?’” he told media.
“Jenny has a way of clarifying things, always has.”
But even seeing things from a father’s perspective wasn’t enough for Morrison to attend the March4Justice rally last month.
After the long-awaited meeting on Friday afternoon, Higgins said that the PM “fundamentally seemed to understand what had happened to me.”
“We had a very robust discussion. The Prime Minister acknowledged the system had let me down,” Higgins said.
“We were in agreement that there needs to be reform.
“It was a difficult conversation to have at a personal level. It was very hard to come here.
“We had a discussion about what needs to happen in terms of the MoPS Act, where there needs to be better safeguards.”
Speaking to Lisa Wilkinson, Higgins also admitted that the conversation was “challenging” and “emotional.”
Scott Morrison has finally sat down with Brittany Higgins, months after she told The Project of her alleged rape inside Parliament House. The PM acknowledged the system had let her down and that it was time for reform. #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/baQrBGqfju
— The Project (@theprojecttv) April 30, 2021
Scott Morrison released a statement in response, which appeared somewhat encouraging.
“I look forward to her participating in the ongoing discussions on this matter through the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces,” Morrison said.
“Ms Higgins’ views and experience will be invaluable to the work of (Sex Discrimination) Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
“I acknowledged her courage in coming forward and assisting in this work.”
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.