Linda Reynolds had no authority to keep mum on the Higgins crisis and should resign
HAVING read more about the Brittany Higgins rape scandal – especially the Morrison government’s responses to the night in question – I now think my first reading of the affair as yet another boilerplate, hypocrisy-laden culture brawl involving vague charges and cynical exploitation was off the mark. Not wrong, though: the left’s assault on the rule of law and the presumption of innocence – to ‘get’ its enemies – has resulted in several show trials that constitute an assault on hitherto agreed-upon civil and legal norms.
It would be no exaggeration to say that the vigilante framing of Andrew Bolt, John Jarrat, Geoffrey Rush, Craig McLachlan and George Pell – and many others the left wasn’t quite able to drag into a courtroom – amounts to an insurrection. It follows that when never-surrender #MeToo jungle Japs, bluestockings and the ALP begin castigating a Liberal Prime Minister about his management of unproven claims of a sexual assault, you’re on guard as a matter of prudent course. In letters, as in life, however, you also have to be on guard against being mistakenly on guard.
Put aside, then, how truthful and justiciable the Higgins accusation is per se – a separate question that police, a public prosecutor’s office and a jury may (or may not) determine in the future. Disregard also how irresponsible the complainant herself may have been and how oddly campaign-like her behaviour this week.
Let’s instead turn to what can be prosecuted now: the case of the astonishing failure of a Minister for Defence to inform the Prime Minister that her office was unlawfully accessed by two sozzled staffers and then became the scene of an alleged rape. That Miss Higgins – embarrassed and flustered – didn’t want the incident investigated by police is irrelevant. Her privacy rights do not extend to a veto power over a senior minister’s responsibility to brief the PM about an event so serious. The Parliament belongs to us. It isn’t a football clubhouse. Then there is the matter of evidence: protected by the union or not, the security guards who were present that night ought to be interviewed about what happened. Presumably, they will be if the AFP becomes involved. Other loose ends abound: CCTV footage, security protocols, statements by the accused at the time of his dismissal etc.
Linda Reynolds created this mess and should now do the honourable thing: go.