Higgins, Tame to respond to PM’s apology

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and child sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame will respond to Scott Morrison’s apology to women harassed and assaulted in federal parliament.

Ms Higgins, who went public a year ago about her alleged 2019 rape in a minister’s office, will address the National Press Club with the former Australian of the Year on Wednesday.

Legislation to enact reforms called for by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins is also due to be introduced into parliament.


It follows the prime minister’s apology to Ms Higgins and other women who suffered under a parliamentary culture that normalised bullying, abuse, harassment and violence.

“I am sorry. We are sorry. I’m sorry to Ms Higgins for the terrible things that took place here,” Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.

“The place that should have been a place of safety and contribution turned out to be a nightmare … but she had the courage to stand, and so here we are.”

Ms Higgins and Rachelle Miller, a former staffer to Liberal minister Alan Tudge who alleged he was emotionally and physically abusive, were among women belatedly invited to watch the apology.

It was among 28 recommendations from Ms Jenkins who found one-third of staff surveyed across Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces had been sexually harassed.

“That exploitation, abuse, bullying and harassment has played itself out through terrible, traumatic and harrowing experiences, harassment of staff, particularly female staff, as well as harassment of female members and senators,” the prime minister said.

“It is clear that practical and cultural changes are necessary to make our parliamentary workplaces safer.”

Ms Tame tweeted “proactive, preventative measures” were needed instead of “performative, last-minute bandaid electioneering stunts”.