Did Morrison almost tell the truth?

By February 17, 2021Australian Politics, Society

As just about everyone in Australia knows, a young female staff-member, Brittany Higgins was raped in Parliament House after a night out with colleagues, which she had organised. Ms Higgins says she was raped by a colleague in then Minister for Defence Industry, Senator Reynolds’ ministerial office, where they both worked, in the early hours of Saturday, March 23, 20191.

The government has said that the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, Yaron Finkelstein and Chief of Staff, John Kunkel, treated the incident as a security breach when first told in late March 2019, that Ms Higgins and her colleague had returned to the ministerial suite late on a Friday night. The Prime Minister’s office and Reynolds decided the man involved should have his employment terminated, a decision made on the subsequent Tuesday, March 26. It was two days later, Thursday March 28, that Brittany Higgins told Reynolds about the rape.1

Morrison has indicated he was annoyed with Reynolds for not telling him about the rape allegation. Higgins stated that she had been telephoned by Finkelstein several times over 2019 and 2020, and that he knew of the rape allegation only days after the event. Given Finkelstein’s involvement, it is extraordinarily difficult to believe that Prime Minister Scott Morrison was only told about the rape allegation until February 12, 2021, almost two years after it happened. This was the date when journalist Samantha Maiden contacted the Prime Minister’s office about the matter.1

Cockups do happen, especially with this government, when they seem to reel from one to the next. However, something odd happened in parliament once this all blew up. Tanya Plibersek asked a question of Scott Morrison: “Brittany Higgins says that the prime minister’s principal secretary was aware that she had been sexually assaulted in the [now] defence minister’s office soon after the reported assault in March 2019. When and how did the prime minister first become aware of the reported sexual assault of Brittany Higgins?” Morrison stumbled over the reply: “Mr Speaker, as I said this morning, I became aware of the alleged sexual assault at about 8.30 yesterday morning. That is true. That is when I became aware of it, Mr Speaker. And the first that my office became aware of an alleged sexual assault, I’m advised, was on the 5th of April this year. Sorry. No, the 12th …I’m sorry, I misread that. Apologies. 12th of February 2021. That’s when my office first became aware, I’m advised, of an alleged sexual assault.”2,3

If Morrison maintains he can misread 12th as being 5th, and February as being April, he either needs new glasses, or is lying. Given his previous efforts, I expect the latter is more likely. It must be disturbing for Morrison to realise that, inadvertently, he almost told the truth.2

The government has already started the process of discrediting Brittany Higgins. Morrison has stated that Finkelstein did not telephone Higgins1, and already some of the misogynists associated with the government are blaming Higgins for getting drunk. The Liberals maintain they don’t have a women problem. Really?

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Kyle Jacob de Boer for making the connections.

Sources

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyjkjeoO2o4
  2. https://twitter.com/Bababooie42/status/1361632425994936331
  3. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansardr/a61e60e0-066a-4c20-8451-75f2c8d574ef/&sid=0064

22 Comments

  • Jon says:

    Strike 3 for the Liberals, who after each previous disclosure ran the same hollow line “we have to do better and make sure such things cannot be repeated”. The Liberals are masters at pathetic and vacuous motherhood statements, which should be taken with the same sincerity as they are given. Unfortunately Liberal women seem either not to care or have no power to make Smirkmo and his cronies to take sexual misbehaviour – or any sort of misbehaviour/dishonesty for that matter – seriously.

    Finkelstein apparently claims he didn’t know yet for some reason – apparently out of the blue – he contacted the young lady to touch base and see how she was getting along. Reynolds needs to resign. She obviously knew what allegedly transpired but was happy to hush it up, although Higgins herself might have had a say in that.

    I’m appalled, but not even vaguely surprised. Ministerial standards in recent conservative – Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison – governments has been an utter disgrace. Their lack of integrity and accountability does nothing to address the justifiably extremely low standing of our federal “reps”.

  • Jon says:

    Just watched the Project interview. If Fiona Brown still has a job by the end of next month (time enough for a formal investigation) then we’ll know exactly how fatuous the Parliamentary Liberal Party’s promise to clean up its act is. We already know Morrison’s standards so I’d put good money on no significant action occurring.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      As I said below, the victim blaming has started. Nothing will happen to any of them; even if they are found to have lied.

  • Russell says:

    I saw the Channel 10 “Project” interview with Higgins, where she was visibly upset about both the “alleged” (as yet unproven) rape in the Minister’s office area on a couch. However, prior to that there is no clear evidence of what led to both people being on that couch. It seems logical that the two sought a degree of privacy for some reason, which one could reasonably assume was an intention to get into sexual activity – although not of a forced kind of course, which puts the man in a guilty position, regardless. I am just positing that until a full investigation is made by ACT Police, or the Feds, nobody can say without doubt how this act transpired. And how or why did the two think it wise and proper to use the ministerial office in the parliament building for such assignation?? On that count, even though it appears they were “inebriated”, they were totally foolish. Both in the wrong, I suggest. It seems almost certain that the personal secretary of the PM, Finkelstein, would tell Morrison of this breach of protocol, and also of the sex act – assuming he spoke to Higgins very soon after it occurred. Hearing the stumble-bum wording of Scomo’s statement in Parliament, I tend to agree with skeptical opinion, that he knew fully what had happened within days of the Higgins rape. Why in hell then, stir up public doubt about his role, by the unconvincing pretence that he only heard of it two years later; that is, a few days ago??! Is he losing his mind, or rather, going madder than he was already? I feel sorry for Higgins, because in March of 2019 she was caught in that time worn dilemma that Mp’s staffers find themselves in when sexist or aggressive conduct is done to them. She had to choose between keeping calm and reserved about a violent act, or facing possible reprisal for upsetting the political apple cart for her boss and for the Liberal Party’s image in the media. Because it could mean, as she has clearly said herself, the loss of a job she had very much liked and wanted to keep. Investigation by disinterested parties into this sordid matter must immediately be pursued; and more heads will roll, most likely. Can we imagine that Morrison will be placed under the metaphorical guillotine blade? Stupid question; his deception will be considered mere confusion or a forgetting, i’d bet. At least the male pig who did the nasty deed has been sacked, but his crime has now come back to haunt him. Justice may yet be done for that mistreated woman.

    • admin says:

      Russell,
      I imagine many people have done stupid things when very drunk. I certainly have (I drove home). However, from the circumstances around this incident, I think it unreasonable to impute any motives to Higgins. From what she said, he had been buying her drinks, they caught a taxi back to PH and while he went inside, her options were to stand about in the dark or go inside with him. Why she didn’t simply go home in the taxi could be construed as having a motive of some sort, but she was very drunk. The fact that she woke up with him on top of her, also argues against some sort of mutual arrangement. As you say, it needs to be properly investigated by the AFP. The alleged perpetrator has checked into hospital either for mental health concerns or to avoid the media, or both. Whichever it is, his life is largely over. What I find unable to understand is how anyone could have so little self-respect as to even contemplate shagging a very drunk woman, let alone raping an unconscious one.

  • Tina says:

    “The alleged perpetrator has checked into hospital either for mental health concerns or to avoid the media, or both.”
    Who is it?

  • Mark Dougall says:

    Any person who has to continuously assert that they honest, or telling the truth, or is open and transparent, as much as Morrison does is, in my opinion, fairly obviously not. This is an extract from an article written by someone called Deep Patel from the Entrepreneur, Asia Pacific. I know nothing about this site, or the author, but as far as I can see it fits Morrison to a tee.

    “Overemphasizing their trustworthiness: “To be honest.”
    Liars often overemphasize their truthfulness by adding words or phrases to a statement that are meant to make them sound more convincing. However, the actual effect is usually the opposite. By adding phrases that emphasize they’re telling the truth, the speaker loses credibility and weakens the argument.
    Overemphasizing truthfulness includes phrases such as:

    “To be honest”
    “To tell you the truth”
    “Believe me”
    “Let me be clear”
    “The fact is”

    You may think these phrases will convince others of your reliability and you probably mean to bolster your integrity and accuracy, but this isn’t necessary if you’re being honest.”

    • admin says:

      Mark,
      Precisely. Morrison keeps saying his government is transparent and open, when it is not. He is simply using the Trump technique of lying constantly, and if something goes arse-up, he just spouts another lie. If you listened to Trump; he said the US was doing well against Covid. 500,000 dead would argue otherwise, but his vacant gullible muppets believed him. Morrison said we’d be first in line for a vaccine, whereas many countries started vaccinating their people over two months ago. Lies, lies and more lies; it never stops.

  • Jon says:

    The latest from Morrison: “these things are very complex.” No, alleged sexual harassment, misbehaviour and assault are NOT complex, they are simply INTOLERABLE and INEXCUSABLE and need to managed as such. Sweeping them under the carpet should NEVER be an option. Except of course if you work in politics and the party might be embarrassed. Much worse if an election is imminent. The person who should be heading an inquiry is not any of those already mentioned who have worked in this compromised system, but a completely detached and fearless ethicist.

    White collar sexual harassment/assault in business and politics is treated FAR more leniently than other sorts of sexual assault as we know. Rarely are perpetrators prosecuted and potentially sent to jail. The victim is almost invariably pressured to say nothing publicly, and that’s a best case scenario. Often they are harassed by the company/organisation.

    In this regard there is a similarity with whistleblowers. The unwritten rule is that you should turn a blind eye to illegal and unethical behaviour if you want to keep your job. Rock the boat at your own risk – and the risk is VERY high as numerous examples in this benighted country show. How did it get this way? The rot starts with politicians and other community “leaders” whose ethics and morals are malleable.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      What makes me angry is that Morrison is trying to avoid any responsibility for ‘the culture’ by pretending to be outside looking in. This is a disgrace. He is the effing PM and could fix this very simply, by referring all cases to the police immediately. However, he won’t, because that may impact his prime ministership one way or another. He is beneath contempt.

  • Jon says:

    Linda Reynolds is obviously on very shaky ground. When asked today if she had his confidence Morrison said: ‘Yes of course she has’. Reynolds should get on the phone to the big disappointment, aka flip-flop Turnbull, and ask him what Smirkmo’s “full support” looks like.

  • Jon says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your comment about Jellyfish Morrison (no brains, no vertebrae, no heart, and no eyes). Question is how does the Liberal Party keep producing them? Must be a taxpayer-funded turd polishing factory somewhere we don’t know about. Howard, Abbott, Morrison – each sickening in his own special way.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      It is something I have pondered numerous times. Members of my extended family are Liberal Party members and one is actually a local politician in Victoria. Initially, one of them suggested that I should not read such a blog as this one, but before I could tell them I wrote most of it, they blanked me. Some of the stuff I heard from them was hard core antisemitic and racist and I was flabbergasted that the daughter of my much loved aunt and uncle could turn out like that. Whether people like that are attracted to the Liberal Party, or the Liberal Party turns them into such monsters, I don’t know. I think that political parties attract two main sorts of people. Those who want to change things, and chancers who want to enrich themselves but have no actual core beliefs in anything except themselves. I think the ‘modern’ Liberal Party, as it has shifted further to the right is overwhelmingly of the latter sort.

  • Mike Fogarty says:

    Two people are now on the lam. One woman who has done a runner, scarpered off with millions $$$, A man is under the radar (see you later, I am out of here!). You can run but you can’t hide. Did Ronnie Ray-Gun once say that? Hard getting an international flight these days as both would be on a PAL – passport alert list. Or PWL? Of what I know this much is true. Both will be found before Easter. Come in number 51, your time is up, Pink Floyd, Zabriskie Point, 1970.

  • Mike Fogarty says:

    Moderator, Open Mike a goodoh substitute name tag please if allowable? Thanks.

  • Mike Fogarty says:

    Open Mike. Yes, good idea Admin. I am self-employed so no drama. Keep up the good work. I feel both will be outed by another known to them quick with.

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