As I wrote, at the start of the week, the circus that keeps on giving the media an endless feed of scandal is going to keep on giving for a while yet. And you can just bet that, despite the excoriating judgement on media conduct by Justice Michael Lee, the media will be gleefully wallowing in it all.

Whether or not Bruce Lehrmann will try for best out of three and appeal the judgement is an open question. Bigger cases have been overthrown on appeal, but it’s mostly, it would seem, a question of money.

Speaking of which, Brittany Higgins and her Svengali boyfriend would be wise not to go splurging too much of that taxpayer-funded payout. Justice Lee’s judgement opened a can of worms on that front.

Brittany Higgins’ $2.445m compensation payment should be ­investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission in light of new findings from the Federal Court, two former judges have declared. They are retired WA Supreme Court judge Kenneth Martin KC and ormer NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy KC.

Judge Michael Lee on Monday found Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, made false representations in the personal injury claim, which resulted in the Albanese government issuing the multi-million-dollar payout after just one day of mediation and with no consultation with senior Liberal ministers at the centre of it.

While few people came out of Justice Lee’s judgement unscathed, some of those most vilified by Higgins and the media-left most certainly did. Not least Higgins’ former supervisor, Fiona Brown, as well as her old boss.

Peter Dutton said on Tuesday Liberal senator Linda Reynolds had “absolutely been vindicated” by the outcome of the case, in which Justice Lee found no political interference had taken place in the handling of the rape allegation in Parliament House.

In her claim, Ms Higgins blamed former Liberal ministers Senator Reynolds and Michaelia Cash for mishandling her rape allegations against Mr Lehrmann, exacerbating a “toxic and harmful” work ­environment, subjecting her to “victimisation, ostracism” and pressuring her not to discuss the assault or their response to it.

The Australian

Which was, as we found out, arrant bullshit.

Linda Reynolds, for one, isn’t taking it. She’s already suing Higgins and David Sharaz. Lee’s judgement has only added fuel to her ire.

“For three years I have endured intense public scrutiny, vilification, vile trolling and have been demonised as the villain in a story of a political cover-up I have always known to be untrue. Fiona Brown and I have lost our careers, had our reputations destroyed and have had our health seriously and irreparably compromised,” Senator Reynolds said.

“The decision of his Honour Justice Lee has finally set the record straight with respect to the conduct of Ms Brown and myself and the demonstrably false narrative that has dominated headlines and ruined lives and careers. To say I am pleased with the findings in relation to Ms Brown, myself and the cover-up that never was, would be an understatement.”

The Australian

Remember that the “cover-up narrative” was the centrepiece of Network Ten and The Project’s reporting, and it was exploited to the hilt by the activists and the then-opposition Albanese Labor government.

And it was all a gigantic lie.

Justice Lee’s judgment was critical of suggestions that ­Senator Reynolds and her former chief of staff Fiona Brown had been ­involved in an attempted cover-up of the rape.

He wrote that former The ­Project host Lisa Wilkinson had been willing to “double down” on an ­allegation that Ms Brown and Senator Reynolds were active participants in a systemic cover-up of alleged criminal conduct during the trial “when, upon any fair review of the available ­material, the basis for such a grave allegation is infirm”.

He also found that the evidence did not support the notion that Ms Higgins was somehow shunned by the minister in Perth in the wake of the incident.

Lee’s finding that “on the balance of probabilities” Lehrmann raped Higgins is irrelevant to Reynolds’ suit. That suit hinges entirely on the false claims of a “cover-up”, which was used to destroy Reynolds’ and Brown’s reputations and careers.

Justice Lee’s findings included a list of several things alleged by Ms Higgins that were “untrue”, with many of those relating to her alleged treatment by Senator Reynolds’ office and Ms Brown […]

“If one wants to get a real ­reflection of the contemporaneous 2019 views of Ms Higgins, well before the attitude of Ms Higgins towards Ms Brown evolved in 2021 consistently with the development of the broader narrative of a cover-up, they are reflected in her text message of 7 June 2019: ‘I wanted to say this in person but – I cannot overstate how much I’ve valued your support and advice throughout this period. You’ve been absolutely incredible and I’m so appreciative.’,” Justice Lee wrote.

The Australian

You better bet that the curtain is far from coming down on this whole, sorry circus.

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...