Dear NACC, tell us about the $2.44m Higgins payout probe

In this open letter to the NACC, ANDREW L. URBAN, explains why the NACC must publish the terms of its investigation into the hurried and secretive payout of $2.44 million to Brittany Higgins, based on what are now revealed to be false claims. 

According to the public record, Senator Reynolds has lodged a corruption complaint with the Commission against the Commonwealth Government in respect of the payment of what is described as compensation to Brittany Higgins in the amount of approximately $2.44 million, relating to how she was treated in the wake of her rape claims against Bruce Lehrmann.

As a matter of policy “The Commission does not comment on ongoing investigations, as to do so may compromise operational activities or unfairly impact reputations.”

This policy is proper; it is aimed at protecting the reputations of individuals before any findings are made. However, I draw the Commission’s attention to the obvious fact that when the Government is the subject of an investigation, those considerations do not apply.

Indeed, the $2.44m payout is the public’s money and it is the public’s right to be fully informed on this matter:

  1. the payment is reported to have been made without hearing from all relevant parties;
  2. the amount of the payment is significant and larger than amounts normally requiring special approval;
  3. the justification for the payment is now called into further question by Justice Lee’s findings (in the defamation trial just concluded against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson) that several elements of the claims made by Higgins are not true. (See the judgement, pars 216 – 241)

I urge the Commission to publish the following information at the earliest opportunity:

  1. when did it receive the referral and in what terms;
  2. when did it take up the referral;
  3. what are the terms of reference and the time scale of the investigation;

In the absence of this information, speculation continues to swirl, to the detriment of public interest and fairness to all parties.

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7 Responses to Dear NACC, tell us about the $2.44m Higgins payout probe

  1. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    And you raise a very valid point Andrew. One that is never clearly spelt out, “the alleged mistreatment of her by ministers…”.
    I believe that the Senator who called Ms Higgins “a bloody liar. …” used that accusation against her after Ms Higgins said she had not received help. I believe the Senator did not make her accusation based on any other point such as ‘the moment after Ms Higgins declared she was raped’ as appears to have been played on by those wanting to cause confusion and callousness by the Senator (one woman’s lack of empathy towards another). This needs to be cleared up and evidence from Ms Brown, as pointed out by Justice Lee demonstrated that Ms Higgins was provided such empathy and quite possibly greater than Ms Higgins has ever acknowleged from both her female senior staff members. Others ministers involved do not however fit into this equasion as I do believe from there on the whole tawdry affair became a political football. I further believe the Senator eventually paid Ms Higgins damages for her media reported misuse of “bloody liar” outburst and rightfully so however this damages payout had nothing to do with the Commonwealth (swift) payout later given to Ms Higgins which has never been provided proper scrutiny. I have a further question; if either Mr Lehrmann or Ms Higgins had been left incapacitated through an injury in their workplace even though it was at an unauthorised time would either have been paid out under ‘Workcover’ or similar government payout?

    • Roscoe says:

      I think that Reynolds referred to Higgins as a “lying cow”.
      That comment from Minister Reynolds concerned Higgins stating that she had no support from the Minister, or indeed assistant Ms Brown, shown as in fact a supporter to Higgins, via the Minister and Brown suggesting the Police should be involved, but that support it would seem be denied, but alluded to and questioned to it by His Honour, Justice Lee.

  2. Don Wakeling says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The timing of the payment, the secrecy, the refusal to hear from all persons concerned with the events combine to make a sham of responsible government .

  3. Roscoe says:

    Andrew, your points, 1-3.

    Point 1.

    “All relevant parties”.
    Maybe all “known” Parties” Or as the Police say; “Persons of interest”.

    Point 2.

    Compensation payments are complex. I understand that settlements for ongoing injury, for example, an able person becoming a quadriplegic in a car accident can, and should, apply for damages to meet the unexpired term of their (former) normal life.
    How was the payment to Higgins determined on an Actuarial basis (was one involved, and are we allowed to challenge those conclusions)? and also the medical professionals who attended to her, to determine her future earning power, reduced (or annulled) over the next 40 years, and that she completed successfully a Uni acceptance, plus an apprentice to the UN, with its very stringent entry requirements. Did the UN do their risk analysis?

    Point 3.

    Justice Lee did question the payment, as you have said. To what extent that may mean is moot!

  4. Poppa says:

    The moment I read in the news that Higgins had been pre-trial paid “Compensation Money” for an ALLEGED RAPE upon her by Bruce Lehrman I smelled a rat and thought this to be “Hush Money” to shut Higgins up from further comment.
    Higgins proved to be a person who would not shut up and call it a Windfall Day.
    The result was the casting of aspersions upon Bruce by “Government Decree”, that he HAD INDEED COMMITTED THE ALLEGED CRIME.
    Had I been called up to be a Juror it would have been my choice to PROTEST that no person deserves recognition as to being a “Victim of sex crime” when allegation alone and a pre-trial compensation payout along with a judgement as to “Victimhood” are to be the arbiters for judgement. As a dedicated fighter against this so-called “Justice System” of ours that has clearly abandoned the principle of a person being deemed “Innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, I doubtless place myself into being judged by Our Aussie Government as being a “Julian Assange” character and whistleblower about our CORRUPT & CORRUPTIBLE Cops, Lawyers, Judges and cohort Psychiatrists. But I don’t give a damn, because I have the factual physical evidence to prove and validate my every assertion. Problem for me is, that COHORT will not even so much as look at it. Why? Well that’s what REAL corruption is, isn’t it ?

    • andrew says:

      Just to clarify: that contentious compensation paid to Higgins was for the alleged mistreatment of her by ministers she claimed were trying to cover up her case.

      • Michelle says:

        Well that’s wrong now and is why the Reynolds is pushing the defamation case and Higgins is suddenly saying Sorry, because she knows the truth will come out. Reynolds knows the truth. The reason these parties are using outside defamation cases to bring Ms Higgins into to line with the truth, is because the government does not want the People of Australia to know the truth. Which means this is alignment with gaining sympathy from a Bias, which is evident in out Criminal Justice System and Criminal Compensation payouts…..

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