The Liberal staffer who allegedly raped Brittany Higgins inside Parliament House two years ago didn’t have his employment terminated until 10 days after a “disciplinary” meeting, it turns out.
It was previously understood that the man was sacked immediately after then Defense Industry Minister Linda Reynolds‘s Chief of Staff met with him and Higgins on March 26, 2019, three days after the alleged rape is said to have happened.
Higgins herself has previously said she saw the man pack up his desk after this chat, which she described as feeling “like a disciplinary meeting.”
However, News.com.au reports that the Department of Finance – which oversees the employment of political staffers – has now stated that even though the man might have left the office in March, his employment wasn’t actually terminated until April 5, 2019, a full 10 days after the meeting with Linda Reynolds’ Chief of Staff.
“I can confirm the employment of the individual in question was terminated on 5 April 2019 on the grounds of serious misconduct,” Department of Finance officials told a Senate estimates hearing in a reply that was given on notice.
In response to a different question, the Department of Finance also said it had advised by the Department of Parliamentary Services on March 23 that “two staff had accessed minister Reynolds’ office after-hours and, while in the office, may have consumed alcohol,” Guardian Australia reports.
In the aftermath of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations being made public this year, the government has stressed that it didn’t know any details about an alleged sexual assault until later on, and that the Liberal staffer in question had been fired over a security breach.
However, it’s worth remembering that the Parliament House security guard who signed in Higgins and her alleged rapist on that night has since come out and said that she didn’t see any security breach.
This new info has added yet more complexity as to who knew what, and when.
What’s clear is that Brittany Higgins’ alleged rapist was still employed by the same office until 13 days after the alleged sexual assault is claimed to have occurred, and 10 days after that serious meeting with Linda Reynolds’ Chief of Staff.
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