Scott Morrison is to meet former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, more than two months after she went public with rape allegations.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with Brittany. We’ve reached out to Brittany Higgins to arrange a meeting, like I said we would, and we have and those arrangements are being put in place,” the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.
“That will be a private conversation. I know there are a range of issues she’s relayed that she would like to raise and I look forward to hearing her.”
A date is yet to be set for the meeting.
Ms Higgins, who alleges she was raped by a colleague inside a ministerial office in Canberra, will publish a memoir, after revealing she has signed a book contract.
Ms Higgins’ allegations about an assault at Parliament House in 2019 sparked a debate across the country about the treatment of women.
Penguin Random House Australia called Ms Higgins “a young, brave voice and a pioneer for a new generation” and said it would publish her book in 2022.
“Brittany’s story, in her own words, will be a call for desperately needed reform, and a watershed moment for Australian women in public life,” the publisher said.
“This book will shine a light on the toxic workplace culture inside the corridors of power and provide a first-hand account of what it was like surviving a media storm that turned into a movement,” Ms Higgins said on Tuesday.
She said half of the royalties of each book will be donated to the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre.
The 26-year-old will call for “desperately needed” reform in her memoir, and has promised to donate half of the royalties from her book to the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre.
“This is the personal account of a young woman who took on the most formidable institution in the country, spoke truth to power and sparked a reckoning with systemic abuse that will be felt for years to come,” Penguin Random House said in a statement.
“She has said that staying silent would have ‘made her complicit’ and in speaking out, Brittany has become a figurehead in what is a defining moment in politics and culture.”
Ms Higgins said she felt privileged to share what she says happened to her inside Parliament House.
“This book will shine a light on the toxic workplace culture inside the corridors of power and provide a firsthand account of what it was like surviving a media storm that turned into a movement,” she said.
Investigations underway, complaint made to police
Ms Higgins remembers being bought a lot of drinks by a male colleague who she says was regarded as a “rising star” within Liberal Party politics.
After becoming very drunk, and at one point fell over, Ms Higgins says the man offered to drop her home in a taxi, however, he took her to Parliament House instead.
She remembers entering the office and lying down on the Minister’s couch. She claims waking up “mid-rape” and half-dressed, before crying and urging him repeatedly to stop.
Photos of her leg from the time appear to show a bruise that Ms Higgins says came from her leg being crushed during the assault.
The man at the centre of Ms Higgins’s allegations, who has been accused of breaching security on a previous occasion, has not been charged with any crime.
In February, Ms Higgins made a formal complaint to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) about her alleged rape.
As well as her formal police complaint, a number of investigations have been sparked in the wake of her allegations.
In March, Ms Higgins was loudly cheered when she took the stage to deliver a powerful address to thousands of protesters on the lawns outside Parliament House.
“We are all here today not because we want to be here, but because we have to be here,” she said.
“We fundamentally recognise the system is broken, the glass ceiling is still in place, and there are significant failings in the power structures within our institutions.
“We are here because it is unfathomable that we are still having to fight this same stale, tired fight.”