Some thoughts follow – and I am sure I will be shot down by others over my questions/ ponderings.

* Ms Reynolds was in a ‘damned if you do’ and ‘damned if you don’t’ type cleft stick. Had she reported matters when asked not to by Ms Higgins, she would have been canned. Because she went with confidentiality as asked by Ms Higgins, she has been canned.

* Ditto the above but to a slightly less extent for the next minister Ms Cash for whom Ms Higgins subsequently worked.

* To me (sorry, I am a man) it seems that Ms Higgins put her career aspirations above reporting the matter of alleged rape. This is born out by the fact that she made a statement to police and then asked them not to proceed. HOW IS THAT THE FAULT OF MS REYONDS OR MS CASH WHO BOTH ADVISED AND MADE HER AWARE OF THE REPORTING OPTION?

* Sorry, but I do not accept that Ms Higgins would have been dismissed had she reported the matter to the police in the first instance.

* Ms Higgins was 24 years of age at the time of the alleged rape. She was not a minor. As a young adult it would be presumed she had the maturity to make some logical decisions on her own behalf.

* Could the intitial reporting reluctance by Ms Higgins have had to do with the fact that at the time she felt some responsibility for her own behaviour?

* I wonder whether Ms Higgins sought support and advice from her parents with whom she now resides at the time? Were Ms Higgins parents aware of what had allegedly happened?

* Why are others now being held accountable for the fact that Ms Higgins did not wish to carry on with her initial reporting of the matter?

* AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw’s letter offers timely advice to the Prime Minister on the reporting of alleged sexual and other assaults. But on the issue of Ms Higgins, his letter is somewhat redundant. Ms Higgins HAD reported the matter and THEN at a later date, asked that the matter not be progressed. Now, in the last few days, she has gone to the police and asked them to investigate the matter. I make the point that the Higgins matter HAD been reported and the issue then investigatively ceased at the request of Ms Higgins.

* In a more general context, I think that there should be no alcohol associated with parliamentary or parliamentary staff functions. Working hard yes, but drinking hard and socialising to the extreme does not cut it! There are many, many Federal, State and Territory instances of sad, irresponsible behaviours that have occurred because circumspect behaviour has been abandoned by those who should know better.

As a judge once told a jury of which I was chair: “Ladies and gentlemen, in considering the evidence of this case, please use your common sense.”

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