Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was not told about the rape accusation out of concern for the alleged victim’s privacy.
“I understand that there was a judgement made about the balance of protecting Brittany’s privacy at the time,” he said.
“That judgement can certainly be commentated on and be judged, but that was my understanding of who occurred at that time.
“Those who were around Brittany were endeavouring to help her. As I said, with the passage of time, clearly that was not effective. And I accept that.”
He said his staff does not recall or have any records of a senior member of his office contacting Ms Higgins in the wake of a Four Corners story last year about insidious misogyny within the Liberal Party.
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