Treasurer and deputy Liberal leader Josh Frydneberg has appeared on Skey News this morning and has been asked about reports defense minister Linda Raynolds called alleged rape victim and former staffer Brittany Higgins a â€œlying cowâ€.
It seems he wouldnâ€™t be drawn on if the language was unacceptable.
Although yes Reynolds hasnâ€™t confirmed she said â€œlying cowâ€ her statement in response to media reports did not deny it.
Letâ€™s talk about those Buckingham Palace bullying allegations for a second (we are still in the British empire after all).
Ben Quinn, Archie Bland, and Caroline Davies have the coverage:
Buckingham Palace is to investigate allegations of bullying against the Duchess of Sussex by former royal staff member, it announced on Wednesday, as relations between members of the royal family appeared to descend to new lows.
In a highly unusual statement, the palace said it was â€œvery concernedâ€ by a report in the Times of claims that Meghan had driven out two personal assistants during her time as a working royal, while Kensington Palace staff had been â€œhumiliatedâ€ on several occasions.
It came hours after sources close to Meghan and Prince Harry suggested that the emergence of the bullying allegations was timed to undermine their forthcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey.
You can read the full report below:
Good morning, Matilda Boseley to take you through the news today and the fallout from that already infamous Christian Porter press conference.
If there is something you reckon Iâ€™ve missed or think should be in the blog but isnâ€™t, shoot me a message on Twitter @MatildaBoseley or email me at email@example.com.
Before I jump in, I just want to acknowledge how tough yesterday has been for so many groups of people, with Grace Tameâ€™s amazing speech, the Porter saga, and defence chief Angus Campbellâ€™s comments about young cadets needing to avoid making themselves vulnerable to sexual assault.
If you found it particularly hard, or are even just feeling a bit â€œblahâ€ this morning make sure you reach out to people or even think about calling the Australia crisis support service Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au
This morning defence minister Linda Reynolds has not denied reports that she called her former staffer Brittany Higgins a â€œlying cowâ€ the day she went public with allegations that she was raped by a male colleague in Reynoldsâ€™ office and did not receive adequate support from the minister or government.
According to The Australian Reynolds made the comment in the open part of her office and was heard by several staff members, including public servants on secondment from the department of defence.
In a statement, Reynolds said she did make some comments expressing her feelings that media reports misrepresented some parts of the situation.
A report in The Australian attributed some remarks to me regarding the very serious allegations made by my former staff member, Ms Brittany Higgins.
I have never questioned Ms Higginsâ€™ account of her alleged sexual assault and have always sought to respect her agency in this matter.
I did however comment on news reports regarding surrounding circumstances that I felt had been misrepresented.
I have consistently respected Ms Higginsâ€™ agency and privacy and said this is her story to tell and no one elseâ€™s.
Ms Higginsâ€™ allegations are very serious and that is how they must be treated to ensure her legal rights are protected. I welcome her decision to progress this matter with the Australian Federal Police.
Reynolds is off work sick and isnâ€™t expected to be back until next Monday, but the minister is already facing questions about the viability of her position given the handling of the alleged Higgins rape case.
Some other things to look out for:
- Senior government ministers are standing behind Attorney-General Christian Porterâ€™s decision not to step down after he was accused of a historical rape, an allegation he vehemently denies. Porter says resigning, would mean the â€œwould be no rule of lawâ€ and would set a precedent that â€œany person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their lifeâ€™s work, based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print.â€ He says he does not support an independent inquiry for similar reasons. NSW Police earlier this week ended a criminal investigation into the allegations due to a lack of admissible evidence to proceed, partially because the alleged victim has since died.
- SA coroner David Whittle has asked SA police to further investigate the death of this woman, who took her own life in SA in 2020. Police had provided the coroner with a case file on Monday, but the investigation was found to be â€œincompleteâ€, Whittle said in a statement. He noted the need to gather further information on allegations contained in recent media reportsâ€ the coroner said in a statement. He said he would determine whether to hold an inquest, once the investigation is complete.
- Prominent scientists are calling for the release of convicted NSW child killer Kathleen Folbigg. She was jailed in 2003 for murdering her children Patrick, Sarah and Laura, and for the manslaughter of her son Caleb, but a petition signed by 90 eminent scientists says important scientific and medical discoveries have since been made, pointing to evidence the children died from natural causes.
- Buckingham Palace says it will investigate allegations of bullying made by former staff of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This follows a Times article claiming that former staff of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were bullied out of their jobs.