In other news, energy minister Chris Bowen has warned that Australia is exposed to a potential shortage of solar technology due to vast global demand and concentrated supply chains.
Bowen is expected to speak on the issue later on Saturday, when he addressed the Australian Strategic Policy Institute alongside Indian minister for external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankarsays. Bowen told the Nine newspapers he will also meet with ministers from India, Japan and the United States at a Quad energy ministers meeting later this year in a bid to guarantee supply of renewable and solar technology.
Bowen told the newspapers:
The whole world is now on this transition and supply chains are already tight
But when supply chains are so concentrated, and getting more concentrated, the risk is greater every day, so this transition now is more important to us than it ever has been.
It’s a risky matrix unless we build sovereign capability and have like-minded trading partners building capability and sovereignty at the same time.
In her interview with the Australian, Linda Reynolds says she was the victim of “a very well-orchestrated political hit” that falsely suggested she had covered up allegations of the rape of her former staffer Brittany Higgins.
Among the key points from her interview are:
Reynolds said former prime minister Scott Morrison apologised to her privately and consoled her a day after publicly rebuking her for not informing his office of the allegations.
After calling Higgins a “lying cow”, Reynolds said she paid money to Higgins to make her defamation complaint “go away” and said she was in “no state to defend myself”. Reynolds said she made the “lying cow” comment in relation to Higgins allegations that her and her chief of staff Fiona Brown had not supported her properly
Good morning and welcome to our live blog for Saturday, 18 February.
It’s shaping up to be a busy news day.
Moments ago, Brittany Higgins tweeted a complaint about the leaking of contents from her diary, which were published in the Australian this morning. The diary contents showed Higgins planning meetings with journalists in March 2021.
Higgins said she had taken a photo of an old page in her diary on 7 July 2021. She said she had provided the contents of her phone to police while they investigated her allegation of rape, but that the diary material was not tendered in court.
“Therefore, no journalist should have seen the photo of my diary,” she tweeted. “Stop publishing the private contents of my phone. I entrusted police with my private information for the sole purpose that it could aid their investigation into my sexual assault, nothing else.”
The material was published alongside an interview with Higgins’s former boss and past defence minister Linda Reynolds. Reynolds told the Australian she was the victim of a political “hit job”, which was “less about an alleged rape, and almost exclusively about bringing down a cabinet minister, to damage the prime minister and bring down the Morrison government”.
Reynolds suggested Higgins was used by Labor and journalists for their own ends.
I think it was a terrible abuse of Brittany Higgins’ circumstances. She was clearly, in my mind, exploited for overtly political purposes, by Labor, and also a number of prominent journalists and female advocates who, in the #MeToo zeitgeist, had found their perfect vehicle to elevate the movement but also to bring down a senior minister to hurt the Morrison government.
In response, Higgins said she had already received apologies from Reynolds and had been through multiple reviews, a trial, mediation with the federal government and now an independent inquiry into the criminal trial.
The facts have been well-established. Any revisionist history offered by my former employer at this time is deeply hurtful and needlessly cruel.
Bruce Lehrmann consistently denied the allegation that he raped Higgins. His first trial was aborted due to juror misconduct and prosecutors decided not to proceed with a retrial because of the likely impact on Higgins’s mental health.