‘Those are the facts’: Katy Gallagher denies misleading parliament

‘Those are the facts’: Katy Gallagher denies misleading parliament

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Katy Gallagher has once again denied misleading parliament over her knowledge of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations, while the Australian Federal Police is assesing a complaint over the leaking of text messages in the matter.

In a statement to the Senate, the federal finance minister repeated her assertion that, while she knew about Higgins‘ rape allegations before they became public, she had not misled parliament by telling an estimates committee three years ago that “no one had any knowledge” of the matter.

“At Senate estimates on June 4 2021, the then-minister for defence, Senator (Linda) Reynolds, said, ‘I know where this started’,” Gallagher said.

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Katy Gallagher gives a statement to the Senate.

“She went on to say, ‘I was told by one of your senators two weeks before about what you were intending to do with the story in my office’.

“Two weeks before.

“I was shocked at the assertion made by Senator Reynolds, with the clear implication that I was responsible or had some involvement with making that story public.

“That was not true. It was never true. And I responded to that allegation by saying no one had any knowledge.”

Gallagher also said she had explained her prior knowledge of the allegations to Reynolds in a private meeting two years ago, which Reynolds accepted.

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Gallagher had revealed on Saturday that she did know about Higgins’ allegations but insisted she had never misled parliament over the matter.

Reynolds is the minister in whose office Higgins claimed she was raped by then-Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann.

Lehrmann, who has always maintained his innocence, was charged over the allegations. His first trial was aborted without a finding due to juror misconduct, while a second was abandoned by prosecutors over concerns for Higgins’ health.

A few hours after Gallagher’s statement, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus confirmed in Question Time that a complaint has been made to the AFP over the leaking of texts from the Lehrmann trial.

“I am deeply concerned about the apparent unauthorised publication of material produced as a result of a subpoena in the criminal trial of Mr Bruce Lehrmann,” he told parliament.

“Material produced to a court in response to a subpoena is subject to an implied undertaking from the parties who receive it, that it won’t be used for purposes other than for those court proceedings… to breach it may constitute a contempt of court.

“I do understand that the Australian Federal Police have received a complaint in respect of this matter and that the AFP is currently assessing that complaint.

“It’s vital that victims of alleged sexual assault have confidence that if they come forward and report what happened to them they will be treated fairly by our justice system.”

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Scott Morrison remains a member of parliament.

Gallagher wasn’t the only politician to defend their actions over their handling of Higgins’ allegations in parliament today.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison also denied he misled the house after being accused of doing just that by Reynolds’ former chief of staff, Fiona Brown.

In an interview with The Australian over the weekend, Reynolds’ former chief of staff, Fiona Brown, accused Morrison of telling parliament he had talked to her about Higgins’ allegations when they had not.

While Morrison admitted that Brown’s version of events may be more accurate than his own, the former PM insisted he had never deliberately misled the chamber.

While my recollection differed to that of Ms Brown, given there’s more than two years that have passed… while I believe my response to accurate at the time, I cannot obviously fully discount her recollection of those events now were the more accurate,” Morrison said.

“However, I reject any suggestion of deliberate intent in any such possible inaccuracy to my response.”

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyond blue on 1300 22 4636.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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