Brittany Higgins Has Called Parliament House’s Lack Of Security Protocols ‘Downright Negligent’
“Honestly, regular licensed venues have more strenuous entry conditions and duty of care to their patrons than Parliament House has to their own staff."
Brittany Higgins has taken to Twitter to express her disbelief, after it came out in a Senate estimates hearing that security measures inside Parliament House haven’t changed, despite it being two years since her alleged rape inside the building.
During Monday’s hearings, Labor senator Kat Gallagher asked Rob Stefanic, the Department of Parliamentary Services secretary, whether the processes or procedures for dealing with sexual assault or rape allegations inside Parliament House had been improved.
The short answer is: they haven’t been.
Two years ago a young liberal staffer was allegedly raped in the ministerial wing of Parliament House.
— Katy Gallagher (@SenKatyG) May 24, 2021
“A young woman was allegedly raped in this building a couple of years ago and I am hearing from you guys that there [are] no changes that need to happen? … To the way this building is managed? Or security is provided? Red flags are watched? You’re saying to me nothing needs to change,” a shocked Senator Gallagher said.
Higgins tweeted her disbelief that the security measures hadn’t changed, pointing out that licensed venues “have more strenuous entry conditions and duty of care to their patrons than Parliament House has to their own staff”.
The fact that no changes have been made to the processes and procedures for security inside Parliament House defies belief.
Mistakes are inevitable. For the Department to choose not to act in any way – over the past two years – to improve protocols is downright negligent. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/DLEfzN3xS0
— Brittany Higgins (@BrittHiggins_) May 24, 2021
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has launched multiple inquiries in response to Brittany Higgins’ claims, and an investigation into the alleged rape is currently underway.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw also told Senate estimates that “a brief of evidence [for the investigation] is likely to be provided to the director of ACT public prosecutions in the coming weeks”.
But information about the Parliament House protocols following Higgins’ alleged rape have already suggested that no ambulance was called after an unconscious woman was discovered in the building after hours, and that the Department of Finance supposedly called in cleaners without knowing they were cleaning a potential crime scene.
In February this year, it was also revealed that reports following the alleged assault weren’t even passed on to police for two weeks.
The implication of Parliament House not updating its security processes is that if something like what happened to Higgins was to happen again now, the same protocols would be followed.
“Mistakes are inevitable. For the Department to choose not to act in any way – over the past two years – to improve protocols is downright negligent,” Higgins wrote on Twitter.