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Pictured: Brittany Higgins on her first day of work in Parliament.
Brittany Higgins lifts the lid on Parliament’s drinking culture in leaked draft of her book – naming several ministers in ‘big swinging idiots’ group and exposing furious Christmas party when one poured whiskey into staff’s mouths .
Ms Higgins’ rough, unfinished manuscript, obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia, was supposed to describe the moment Bruce Lehrmann allegedly raped her in Parliament in 2019. He strongly denies the allegations.
However, a series of vignettes and chapter summaries contain a number of pointed observations and comments about colleagues and federal parliamentarians during her time as deputy media adviser in the Liberal Party.
In draft form, the book, tentatively titled #NotJustADaughter, reads like a diary as the then-young Liberal staffer tried to get through each day in the nation’s highest office.
He has an entire chapter dedicated to the furious Christmas parties, talking about the privileges granted to staff, which largely seemed to include free drinks, question time rituals and a stern warning from a former colleague not to “sleep with anyone”.
While the finished book may not resemble her original manuscript (its vignettes are not contextualized in the draft), it still provides valuable information about what Ms. Higgins planned to cover.
The memories were It was scheduled to hit stores in 2022, until Penguin Random House suspended it indefinitely due to legal issues, specifically because Lehrmann’s criminal trial failed and he was never convicted.
Ms. Higgins’ $325,000 book advance was negotiated by author Peter FitzSimons just a month after his interview with his wife, Lisa Wilkinson, on The Project in February 2021.
Brittany Higgins first made her accusations against Bruce Lehrmann in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson (left). Her husband, Peter FitzSimons (right), negotiated the contract for her book.
‘The big swinging cocks’
A summary of chapter five, called “the sit-down week cycle”, refers to Ms Higgins’ first meeting with an “infamous” group known as “The Big Swinging D**ks” in the former MP’s office Steven Ciobo.
Ciobo was Higgins’ boss when he was defense industry minister in 2019; she described him as “laissez-faire, boring… charismatic and youthful.”
Higgins identified three federal ministers who were part of the group with Ciobo and recalled the time she was serving them drinks and they invited her to a bar one Wednesday after working with them.
He also talked about how watching Question Time is more of a “tribal sport”, how he arrived at work every day at 6.45am and didn’t leave until 8pm, and the impressive moment when he was introduced to the then minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie. Bishop.
“When I was introduced to Julie Bishop, my former idol, I was in awe of this world,” he wrote.
Christmas Party Shenanigans
Chapter seven, titled “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” describes the alcohol-fueled New Year’s Eve celebrations of 2018.
One section was labeled: ‘Ciobo Team Christmas Party in the Office.’
Mrs Higgins recalled that former Minister Ciobo “lined up his staff and poured whiskey straight into our mouths”.
The ‘charismatic’ Ciobo was Ms Higgins’ boss when she was defense industry minister in 2019.
He said the event had a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ style, referring to Leonardo Di Caprio’s 2013 film about a financial trader, Jordan Belfort, known for his wealth, lascivious parties and eventual imprisonment.
At various points, he claimed that Ciobo received Christmas cards from the Rothschild family and the Prince of Qatar, and that his position as a ministerial staffer meant he could attend News Corp’s Christmas party.
At that party he met high-profile journalists Peta Credlin, Laura Jayes and Michelle Grattan.
There were also a number of points under the subheading “Coalition Christmas Party”: Her memories included crying about work pressures.
Ms Higgins also said there was a tradition of “ministers, senators and members serving drinks to staff”, and recalled former Minister for Indigenous Australians Nigel Scullions making his “infamous mango daquiris”.
Passes, Privileges and Breaks
Throughout the draft, Higgins invariably talked about the privileges given to people working in Parliament, including what she called unofficial free passes to drink with lobbyists inside the building.
He also said staff were able to pet native Australian animals, meet local celebrities and sports stars, hold the Melbourne Cup trophy – all with canapes and drinks to “lobby” the government and staff over their specific interests. “.
There were also “post-question time rituals” that involved opening bottles of champagne for the office.
Brittany Higgins said she was “blown away” when she met former Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop (pictured)
Ms Higgins also detailed stern words of wisdom from a former colleague who warned her not to get too far into the “Canberra scene” and not to “sleep in”.
She vaguely mentioned the time she broke up with her long-term boyfriend on her birthday, and another when she returned home to Queensland for the first time since getting her job in parliament and realized she didn’t want to leave the ACT.
Steven Ciobo did not respond when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
Lehrmann was charged with sexual assault in August 2021 and tried before the ACT Supreme Court in October the following year. However, the trial was misplaced because a juror brought prohibited investigative material to court.
The charge against Lehrmann was dropped entirely in December because prosecutors were concerned about Higgins’ mental health.
In March this year, Lehrmann launched defamation claims against Channel Ten and Wilkinson for broadcasting and publishing Ms Higgins’ allegations.
He is also suing ABC over a broadcast in which Higgins made the allegations.
Lehrmann was not named as the alleged rapist in any of the broadcasts, but believes he was identifiable among his former colleagues and in parliamentary circles.
A hearing in Federal Court is scheduled for November.
Brittany Higgins alleges that Bruce Lehrmann (pictured left, with his lawyer) raped her in Parliament. He denies the accusation