OPINION

As I’ve written many times, the Brittany Higgins saga is the circus that just won’t quit. And now we’re getting the high divin’ act riding bareback on a pony.

When the whole affair erupted into public view, it was hard not to suspect that there was a highly co-ordinated and orchestrated agenda at work. The media manipulation, the endless attacks by the then-opposition… It all seemed like it was operating to a plan.

Funny about that.

This is the statement of claim that lawyers for Brittany Higgins didn’t want us at The Australian to see. They didn’t want us to report it, to analyse what Linda Reynolds set out in her defamation claim against Higgins in the West Australian Supreme Court.

The Australian

Linda Reynolds is the former minister who was Higgins’ employer at the time she claimed to have been raped. A large part of Higgins’ narrative was dedicated to the claim that Reynolds and others in the Morrison government had conspired to try and silence her. This claim was thoroughly demolished in the recent, unsuccessful defamation action by accused rapist Bruce Lehrmann. Reynolds is persisting with her own defamation action against Higgins and her now-husband David Sharaz.

That case has brought to light a bombshell revelation.

Anthony Albanese’s closest confidantes, Katy Gallagher and Penny Wong, were drip-fed false information by David Sharaz and Brittany Higgins as part of a larger plan to destroy the career of Liberal senator Linda Reynolds and take down the Morrison government, explosive court documents allege.

Mr Sharaz also organised meetings between Ms Higgins and Labor members of parliament to discuss her rape allegations, the documents say, including then opposition leader Mr Albanese and Tanya Plibersek, as well as former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd.

The ongoing saga has the potential to claim more than a few political scalps yet, even if not the ones intended. Gallagher, for one, is accused of misleading parliament when she denied advance knowledge of the allegations. Reynolds’ statement of claim alleges that:

“Aggressive questions” asked by Senator Gallagher and Senator Wong in question time in early 2021, which were centred on false information provided by Mr Sharaz and Ms Higgins.

On February 11, 2021, Mr Sharaz provided Senator Gallagher with a dossier detailing the events surrounding the rape claim and an advance copy of Ms Higgins’ interview with The Project, and “facilitated the provision of questions and answers between Ms Higgins and Senator Gallagher”.

“Katy is going to come to me with some questions you need to prepare for … she’s really invested now,” a text message sent from Mr Sharaz to Ms Higgins reads.

Gallagher and fellow ‘Mean Girls’ Penny Wong and Kristina Keneally led the attack on Reynolds in question time. Sharaz and Higgins exchanged gloating messages which, Reynolds claims, showed them scheming to ultimately damage the then-government.

“He’s (Scott Morrison) about to be f..ked over. Just wait. We’ve got him,” Ms Higgins wrote to Mr Sharaz on March 26, 2021.

On March 28, 2021, Mr Sharaz wrote: “Suck shit Linda … You awful human.”

In a recorded five hour meeting with Project host Lisa Wilkinson and producer Angus Llewellyn, Sharaz discussed the strategic timing for airing the interview.

“The 21st of Feb you could do that story, that’s ahead of that sitting week. And then March is when estimates is.”

Ms Higgins said: “I think it’s two weeks in, and I think it’s mid-March is when Senate estimates is back”, and “It’d be good to get a question time in, I think”.

The Australian

Certainly, investigating police were of the opinion that the duo were “more concerned with the media campaign than the criminal investigation process”.

According to Reynolds’ claims in the proceeding, the Plan continues to this day, with Higgins refusing to apologise to Reynolds or retract allegedly defamatory and disparaging ­material […]

Higgins would later boast in her draft book outline sent to Penguin Random House, “We had become quite a twosome when it came to game planning. My experience as a media adviser, David’s experience as a producer; together we understood how the gallery media sphere operated.”

That much is true. Curated in remarkable detail, the statement takes 20 pages to set out their game planning of various kinds.

Higgins and Sharaz lined up favoured journalists, priming them, drip-feeding them material. Higgins taped private conversations with people she worked with in parliament, and shared the secret recordings with select journalists and former Labor advisers.

The Australian

Whether the two were quite as clever as they clearly think remains to be seen. There’s not just Reynolds’ defo suit, but a corruption investigation into Higgins’ $2.4m taxpayer-funded payout from the Labor government, as well as Bruce Lehrmann’s appeal against his failed defamation suit.

There’s a ring or two left in this circus, yet.

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...