The bungled handling of the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins has forced Defence Minister Linda Reynolds into an embarrassing backtrack to correct her version of events.

Ms Reynolds had told the Senate she facilitated a meeting with Ms Higgins and the Australian Federal Police on April 1, several days after the former staffer claims she was raped on a couch in the minister's office.

In a letter to the President of the Senate Scott Ryan, Ms Reynolds corrected the record saying she only met with the AFP on April 4 without Ms Higgins.

"The fact they escalated it to meeting with the assistant AFP commissioner, that's news to me,'' Ms Higgins said.

 

Former Liberal party staffer Brittany Higgins, who alleges she was raped in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in 2019.
Former Liberal party staffer Brittany Higgins, who alleges she was raped in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in 2019.

 

Senator Reynolds has had to correct the date and circumstances of her meeting with the AFP. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Senator Reynolds has had to correct the date and circumstances of her meeting with the AFP. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

Ms Higgins is expected to meet with the AFP today to make a formal complaint against the man she alleges raped her in Parliament House in March 2019.

The man was terminated from his Liberal staffer role on 26 March 2019, only days after the alleged assault took place and later became employed in the private sector.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday confirmed the alleged perpetrator's employment ended due to the security breach triggered when he and Ms Higgins entered Ms Reynolds' office after hours.

"It was because of a security breach," he said.

"It related to the entry into those premises."

Mr Morrison said he expected findings of an independent inquiry to examine how complaints and staff issues are handled would be finalised "well in advance" of the next federal election.

Originally published as Reynolds backtracks over Higgins case recall



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