Brittany Higgins’ unpublished book released during Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial

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Brittany Higgins has detailed a night out with former cabinet ministers Steve Ciobo, Attorney-General Christian Porter and Michael Keenan as “the last of the ‘big swinging dicks’” in her unpublished memoir, according to documents published by the Federal Court.

In an outline of her book, which appears to have been prepared after the March For Justice rallies in March 15, 2021, she details being “suicidal” after the alleged rape, and the drinking culture at Parliament House.

The allegations contained in the book outline have never been tested in court and there is no independent verification of the claims made by Ms Higgins concerning the named MPs.

The documents have been published today by the Federal Court because they were in the possession of former Spotlight producer Taylor Auerbach. He claims that Bruce Lehrmann leaked the book outline, which was subpoenaed by his legal team in the criminal trial.

The criminal trial was aborted due to juror misconduct and the charge against Mr Lehrmann was dropped.

Mr Lehrmann denies he leaked Ms Higgins’ book outline to the Spotlight program or that he provided any other documents. He also denies any sexual activity with Ms Higgins took place.

In Chapter Seven, titled The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Ms Higgins writes Liberal MP Andrew Laming “playing with the buttons on my blazer and introducing me to his latest ‘intern’ at a function”.

“The Team Ciobo Christmas party in the office. Minister Ciobo lining up his staff and pouring whiskey directly in our mouths, the whole event had an almost ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ style of hedonism about it,’’ she writes.

At the Coalition Christmas party, she writes of “crying about work pressures and being found by Minister Ciobo red eyed as he laughed assuming that I had taken the opportunity to get high (at the) Christmas party”.

According to the court documents, in another entry she writes of having drinks with a group of current and former cabinet ministers while working in Senator Michaelia Cash’s office.

“Cornered into drinks with Ciobo, Porter and Keenan; the last of the ‘big swinging dicks’,” she said.

The document also details her claims of a dinner with ‘Team Reynolds’ at the Kingston hotel and the rebuffed kiss attempt from Bruce.

Mr Lehrmann has denied during the defamation trial ever trying to kiss her.

In Chapter 11: The ‘Incident’, she writes of Defence Industry drinks at ‘The Dock’ and “inviting along my new colleagues including my perpetrator, Bruce”.

“My date Nick being ruthlessly bullied out of dinner by my contacts at Defence,’’ she said.

That claim was contested during the defamation trial.

In Chapter 13: The Reckoning she writes of the “disconcerting sight of seeing Fiona Brown present in Canberra during a non-sitting week”.

“Announcing she needed to speak with both the perpetrator and myself,” she said.

“The perpetrator going into her office and 45 minutes later silently packing up his desk.

“The resignation of knowing I was likely going to be fired, signing the Ministerial Code of Conduct and then vocalising for the first time what had happened that night. It was the first time it had really hit home that I had been raped.

“Fiona’s change in tone as I became an inconsolable, blubbering mess. Being given an EAP pamphlet and getting sent home for the rest of the day.

“The presence of John Kunkel (PM’s Chief-of-Staff) and Daniel Wong (EA to the COS) in the office all week – noted by other staff members as strange.

“My colleague (office security manager) quietly pulling me aside and asking me point blank if I had been raped. Following that distressing conversation, he confidentially informed me as a friend that a security guard had found me in a state of undress during the night.”

‘Financial interest’

The Federal Court heard last year that Ms Higgins entered into a $325,000 book deal with Penguin Random House, under which she had received $108,333 to date.

Brittany Higgins told the defamation trial that the book “doesn’t exist” and she had told the publisher to put it “tentatively on hold” amid legal proceedings.

Asked if she had a financial interest in the outcome of the case Brittany Higgins said she did not care about the money and would donate it to charity.

“If I ever actually finish the book, I will donate all $200,000 whatever to charity,’’ she said.

“I don’t care about the money,” she told Justice Michael Lee.

She described the 36-page draft sent to Penguin in April 2021 as “crap” insisting her evidence to the court was the actual truth.