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Saint Brittany or scheming charlatan?

By Bettina Arndt - posted Thursday, 15 June 2023

Hang onto your seats, folks. This is the cultural moment we've been awaiting so long. This last week the ground shifted, shattering the believe-all-women straight-jacket imposed on us by feminists for the last decade or two. Saint Higgins has crashed from her pedestal, potentially bringing with her key government ministers. The silencing of proper public debate about the weaponization of this pivotal rape case has ended revealing widespread community contempt about the way this has all been handled.

In the future when we look back at what caused it all to fall apart, who could forget the widely exposed video footage of the sneering Katy Gallagher, the current Finance Minister, shown in June 2021 attacking Defence Minister Reynolds for daring to suggest she knew about the Higgins rape allegation two weeks before it first surfaced publicly. "How dare you?" she spat out, with faux indignation.

Now we have evidence from a five-hour chat recorded weeks before Higgins first hit the media, strongly suggesting Gallagher was not only involved from the start but "really invested" in using the Higgins matter to attack the government, according to Higgins' boyfriend, a friend of Gallagher. And she lied about this in Senate Estimates – setting herself up for a charge of misleading parliament.


Zali Stegall MP has accused the Opposition of using all this to make a "vile political attack" on the government. Get that? She's charging Dutton with launching a political attack for calling the government to account for Labor's use of Higgins for the vile political attack which brought down the previous government. And Labor achieved this by falsely claiming a government coverup of the rape allegation – another vile political attack. Enough to do your head in?

With the huge multi-ring Higgins circus bringing new excitement every day, it's hard to know where to start with this update. Revelations in Bruce Lerhmann's Channel 7 interview last weekend could well turf Labor ministers out of their jobs and severely damage the government, plus there's hope Higgins might be forced to return her multi-million-dollar compensation payment given the messy scandal now threatening major damage to the major government players.

"How dare you?" asked Gallagher. The public is now asking her the same question. Ditto a bunch of other people. How dare the malicious Brittany Higgins blatantly boast of using her rape allegation to seek to destroy the government that employed her? How dare Attorney General Dreyfus claim it was totally normal for him to bend the rules and dish out millions of dollars to Higgins as payback for this act of treachery? How dare the Prime Minister pretend there's nothing to see here? And how dare feminists claim such questions pose a threat to real rape victims, discouraging them from making complaints to police?

Lehrmann's first win

Before delving into all this, I must tell you that, contrary to the misleading media coverage, Bruce Lehrmann did not pull out of his first defamation battle with News Life Media (formerly regarding the article by Samantha Maiden, which, alongside Lisa Wilkinson's hit job on The Project, led to him being identified as a rapist to the entire country.

It ended with a confidential settlement but unfortunately, the mealy-mouthed statement hammered out by the two teams of lawyers who achieved that result gives the impression that Lehrmann simply discontinued the action. However, Lehmann announced at the time that he was "extremely happy with the settlement" which included two components - the payment of legal fees (the amount wasn't specified but Lehrmann's comment suggests this was not a small sum), plus an addendum to the Maiden article stating it isnot claimed that Lehrmann "was guilty of sexual assault".


Does this amount to a compensation payout and correction? Looks like a duck, swims like a duck… The claim that "no damages were paid to Mr Lehrmann" smacks of semantics but naturally most of the media, particularly News Life journalists at The Australian and Sky, were determined to play down this win for Lehrmann.

This is very useful for all of us keen to expose the appalling behaviour of media tossing aside the presumption of innocence to champion Saint Brittany. We need to set the record straight about this settlement with News. Please get out on social media and explain how this is being misrepresented.

Maiden and Wilkinson's awards

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This article was first published on Bettina Arndt.

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About the Author

Bettina Arndt is a social commentator.

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