Leaked texts from Brittany Higgins’ partner, David Shiraz, reveal that he basked in the fame and power the couple “exuded” after her rape allegations were made public.
Ms Higgins’s allegations that she was sexually assaulted by Bruce Lehrmann in a ministerial office in March 2019, while they both worked as Liberal staffers, were aired publicly in her interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project, February 15, 2021.
Mr Lehrmann strongly denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty at his aborted criminal trial in October.
Following the shocking revelations, Mr. Shiraz sent Ms. Higgins repeated texts eagerly asking if she noticed her growing public profile.
‘Are you noticed? Do people notice you? Does anyone recognize you?’ he texted.
Then, about a month after the interview aired on Channel 10, Mr Sharaz sent texts to Ms Higgins saying, ‘Don’t drop me now that you’re famous’ and ‘We’re radiating power’.
More leaked emails between Brittany Higgins (pictured left) and her partner David Shiraz (pictured right) have revealed that the pair basked in the fame and power the pair “exuded” after her rape allegations were made public
Text messages Mr Shiraz sent to Ms Higgins eagerly asking her if she had noticed her growing public profile
Around this time, Mr Sharaz also sent messages to Ms Higgins bragging about invitations they had received from former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, who were Labor and Coalition leaders respectively.
Mr Shiraz beamed at his invitation to tea at Dr Rudd’s apartment in Brisbane: ‘It’s not exactly a cabin. A $10 million penthouse haha’.
The stream of leaked texts has become a political crisis for the Albanian government.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher are all charged with conspiring with Mr Sharaz, Wilkinson and Ms Higgins to ‘arm’ the rape allegations and harm the then Morrison government.
Senator Gallagher has gone to ground after texts suggested she misled Parliament about whether she was tipped off about the case before it hit the media.
Former Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds, whose office the incident is believed to have occurred in the early hours of March 23, 2019, made the accusation at a June 2021 Senate hearing.
Just over a month after Ms Higgins went public with her rape allegations, another text was sent about the couple’s status among the country’s political movers and shakers
Mr Sharaz was also delighted to be invited to a tea party in Brisbane hosted by former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
‘No one knew. How dare you!’ It’s about protecting yourself,” Senator Gallagher replied.
However, from Mr Sharaz’s leaked text messages dated February 11, 2021, four days before the airing of Ms Higgins’s interview, Senator Gallagher was fully aware of the allegations and was “really interested” in Ms Higgins’ story Higgins.
In the months following the interview, Mr Sharaz and Ms Higgins repeatedly texted the senior Labor politicians they recruited to push their claims, including then opposition leader Mr Albanese.
On 16th April 2021 Mr Sharaz texted Ms Higgins saying ‘So Albo gave me his number – he just came in to do the breakfast show – and says if you meet Scomo to let him know and he will fly to Canberra to be there if you want to meet him too.’
Mrs Higgins replied, ‘Certainly. I have no problem meeting Albo.”
Just six days later, Mr. Sharaz wrote, “Friday 9am with Albo locked up at CPO. Details to follow… Tanya [Plibersek] at.’
When asked if Ms Higgins approached him to help her case, Mr Albanese simply said ‘no’ on Tuesday.
Ms. Plibersek has also rejected the claims.
It is clear that Ms Higgins was furious with the then Prime Minister, Mr Morrison, after hearing whispers that his office had ‘background’ against her.
Four days before Ms Higgins’ allegations became public, Mr Sharaz wrote about how Senator Gallagher (pictured) was ‘really invested’ in the saga
“He’s about to get screwed. Wait a second. We got him,” she wrote to Mr. Sharaz on March 26, 2021.
Mr Sharaz also made critical remarks about Mr Morrison.
“I still hate the c…” he wrote.
On Thursday, opposition leader Peter Dutton demanded Mr Albanese ‘be honest’ about his dealings with Ms Higgins and Mr Sharaz.
“The Prime Minister needs to come forward clearly and give a real factual explanation of what’s going on here because there are different accounts,” Dutton told 2GB presenter Ray Hadley.
“Until we know the facts, we don’t know the answers to all the questions that need to be answered and the Prime Minister and others have made different statements on different points.
“It seems some of that may now be contradictory. So I think the prime minister should just be honest.’
Senator Reynolds (pictured with Scott Morrison in 2019) said she plans to report the settlement to the new federal anti-corruption commission, saying the speed of the process raises concerns about “fairness.”
Hadley replied, “Either David Sharaz is lying or exaggerating, or the Prime Minister is lying and Katy Gallagher is lying too… these are the only two options.”
Referring to the taxpayer-funded payout awarded to Ms Higgins after just one day of mediation talks in December, Mr Hadley said: ‘It never happens within hours before a settlement can be reached and both parties are satisfied.’
“Obviously some people haven’t told the truth,” Mr. Dutton replied.
Ms. Higgins sued the Commonwealth for compensation for her allegations and how they were handled for the reported $3 million.
The December settlement was marked confidential but in February Higgins denied receiving $3 million.
Senator Reynolds said Wednesday she plans to flag the settlement for scrutiny by the new federal anti-corruption organization, saying the speed of the process raises concerns about “fairness.”
The senator said the speed of the decision “raises serious questions about how this significant amount of public money was determined and allocated.”
Senator Reynolds, who was both Mr. Lehrmann’s boss and Ms. Higgins’ boss at the time of the alleged rape, claimed that Attorney General Mark Dreyfus banned her from commenting publicly on the case or attending mediation sessions.
“I initially received legal assistance to defend Ms. Higgins’ civil claim against me,” she said in a statement.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) has vehemently denied colluding with Ms Higgins while in opposition to ‘weaponize’ the allegations and harm Scott Morrison’s coalition government
“On December 6, 2022, I was informed that the Commonwealth has the authority to control the conduct of my defense and that the Attorney General had decided to exercise that discretion.
“As a result of this, the Attorney General did not want me to attend the mediation or make any public comments about the mediation or Ms. Higgins’ civil claim.”
Reynolds claimed Mr Dreyfus, Senator Gallagher and Mr Albanese had a ‘potential conflict of interest’ based on their previous public statements on the matter.
On Thursday, Mr. Albanese responded to suggestions that Senator Gallagher has acted inappropriately in any way in the matter, while again denying any impropriety on his part.
“I have complete confidence in Senator Gallagher,” he said.
“I hadn’t met Brittany Higgins until I met her in public — in public — the same day she met Scott Morrison.”
Mr Albanese declined to get involved in questions about referring the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, saying it was an independent body and it would be inappropriate for him to comment.
As reporters continued to ask questions about Ms Higgins, the Prime Minister interrupted the press conference, which was intended to focus on a new airport for Sydney’s west, and walked off.
It is unknown who is leaking the texts between Mr Shiraz and Ms Higgins, and audio files of the meeting they had with Channel 10 reporters and producers are also being leaked.
Sources have told the media that the material was included in evidence provided to defense lawyers, the ACT office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and police officials in preparation for Mr Lehrmann’s criminal trial.
The criminal trial last took place in the ACT last October was abandoned after a juror brought unauthorized material into the jury room.
A second trial was set to go ahead in February, but Shane Drumgold, ACT’s director of public prosecutors, dropped the case because of the “significant and unacceptable” risk to Ms Higgins’ mental health.
The handling of the case by the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Public Prosecutions is now being reviewed by an independent inquiry.