The Courier-Mail

Politics has no place in Brittany’s ordeal


BRITTANY Higgins deserves an opportunit­y to pursue justice after she was allegedly raped in Federal Parliament in 2019. However, what happened to her should not be turned into a political football.

The young Queensland­er’s terrible experience should not be used for political point-scoring.

Surely, some things need to be outside the remit of politics?

That, however, is not to say there aren’t legitimate questions about who knew what within the Morrison government and whether they acted appropriat­ely.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese has rightly pursued this line of questionin­g, but there is a risk of going too far.

Certainly there are some questions for Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, who was this week admitted to hospital with a recurring heart condition.

It seems like the immediate reaction of some within the Morrison administra­tion was to treat the allegation that Ms Higgins was raped by a fellow Liberal staffer as a political problem that needed to be cauterised. There seems to be little to suggest Ms Higgins’ welfare was prioritise­d. There’s nothing to show she was encouraged to make a formal complaint to authoritie­s. It appears many senior figures within the Coalition had at least some knowledge about what happened.

Yet no one seems to have put their political imperative­s aside and prioritise their humanity.

Australian­s are appalled, and rightly so. Our national capital and its elected denizens must be standard-bearers when it comes to issues like supporting alleged victims of sexual assault and encouragin­g them to pursue justice. Such leadership can set an example for workplaces across the nation.

However, Canberra has proved to be anything but a role model in the case of Ms Higgins, who was failed badly by all involved.

Some will claim it was Ms Higgins who decided not to lodge a formal complaint with the police at the time so there was little that anyone could have done. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and others aren’t investigat­ors, right?

But as employers and important public figures, they could have set a better example by putting politics aside and focusing on the plight of a young woman in their employ.

Ms Higgins’ bravery has shown she deserves more respect.

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