Higgins hits out after diary notes leaked to the media

A Liberal senator is calling for an investigation into how Brittany Higgins' texts became public.

A Liberal senator is calling for an investigation into how Brittany Higgins' texts became public. Photo: AAP

Brittany Higgins has demanded media stop publishing the private contents of her phone after her diary notes were leaked to the press.

The Weekend Australian referred to the former political staffer’s diary contents in an interview with her ex-boss Senator Linda Reynolds on Saturday.

Responding to the article, Ms Higgins said it was the third time The Australian had published “private images, texts and WhatsApps from my phone”.

In a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, Ms Higgins said she had given police a photo of a page from her diary in 2021 for their investigation.

“I voluntarily provided this material to the police to help them form the brief of evidence and none of it was tabled in court,” she said.

“Therefore, no journalist should have seen the photo of my diary.”

Ms Higgins said: “Stop publishing the private contents of my phone.

“I entrusted police with my private information for the sole purpose that it could aid their investigation into my sexual assault, nothing else,” she said.

The diary contents listed meetings with a series of journalists and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in March 2021.

In another Twitter post early on Sunday, Ms Higgins said The Weekend Australian had painted Senator Reynolds as a “victim” over the “lying cow” comment.

Ms Higgins received a damages payout after Senator Reynolds called her a “lying cow” which the politician told the newspaper had been in reference to claims she had failed to support her staffer.

Senator Reynolds said she paid damages to Ms Higgins out of her own pocket “for it to go away”.

Ms Higgins responded on Twitter: “Let me see if I’m following. I’m publicly defamed by my former employer. I donated the money to charity because all I wanted was an apology and a retraction.

“And yet…somehow Linda Reynolds is the victim in this scenario?”

Ms Higgins said she wanted to make it clear she had donated the money to charity.

“I donated all funds from my defamation case against Senator Reynolds to a sexual assault charity the moment they were received by my lawyer in 2021,” Ms Higgins said, posting a copy of the receipt.

In The Weekend Australian’s interview with Senator Reynolds, the former Defence Minister claimed she was the victim of a “very well-orchestrated political hit” to take her and the then coalition government down.

Ms Higgins accused fellow staffer Bruce Lehrmann of raping her inside the Parliament House office of Ms Reynolds, who they both worked for, in 2019.

Mr Lehrmann’s criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court was cut short in October because of juror misconduct.

Prosecutors later dropped the charges over concerns of the impact a second trial would have on Ms Higgins’ mental health.

Mr Lehrmann denies the rape allegation, maintaining he and Ms Higgins never had any sexual interaction.

Mr Lehrmann’s trial heard suggestions Ms Reynolds was mainly concerned with the impact the rape claim could have on the upcoming federal election when she met with Ms Higgins after the alleged assault.

Ms Reynolds categorically denied the suggestion during the trial and she told The Australian the accusation was “like a stake through my heart”.

“Brittany’s story was perfect for the MeToo movement and for those of my colleagues in the Senate who were trying to bring down the government,” she told the newspaper.

Mr Lehrmann is suing multiple media outlets over their coverage of the rape allegations, while the ACT government has launched an independent inquiry into the handling of Ms Higgins’ complaint by police, prosecutors and a victims’ support service.

Ms Higgins reached a confidential settlement with the Commonwealth last year, reported to be worth several million dollars, over her claims of sexual harassment and discrimination at parliament.

-with AAP

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