Table of Contents
Brittany Higgins compared her fight against “patriarchy” in Parliament to that of Tibetan monks who committed self-immolation during the Vietnam War.
This is just one extraordinary detail from an unpublished draft of Ms Higgins’ memoirs, obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia, which she tentatively titled #NotJustADaughter.
Penguin Random House gave Ms Higgins a $325,000 advance in March 2021 to write her book, which was supposed to describe the moment Bruce Lehrmann allegedly raped her in Parliament in 2019. He strongly denies the allegations.
The final 90,000-word autobiography was due to hit stores in 2022, but publishers put it on hold indefinitely due to legal issues, specifically because Lehrmann’s trial failed and he was never convicted.
The unfinished draft doesn’t necessarily look anything like what the final version would have been, but it still provides valuable information about what Ms. Higgins sent to her editors in April 2021 and what she wanted to write about.
Previously, Daily Mail Australia revealed a series of other chapters Ms Higgins described in her memoirs lifting the lid on the alcohol culture in Parliament.
Brittany Higgins (left) first went public with her accusations against Bruce Lehrmann in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson (right). They appear together at the March4Justice rally in March 2021.
Brittany Higgins (left, with fiancé David Sharaz) began writing her book, tentatively titled #NotJustADaughter, in early 2021.
It contains a series of observations and metaphors about his thoughts and feelings in the months immediately after he went public with his accusations, including the “media scandal” he apparently knew he had caused.
There were several definitions of “media scandal” on one page, with a variety of book titles and academic journal articles, above the Latin term “corpus delicti = smoking evidence” in italics, which roughly translates to “body of a crime.” .
There was also a small section called “trial by media” in which Ms. Higgins says she felt she had “no choice” but to make her accusations against Mr. Lehrmann in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson on national television, arguing that ” there was no other way.’
At another point, she felt “gutted” that former Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not treat her like sexual assault survivor Grace Tame, who was voted Australian of the Year in 2021.
Comparison of Tibetan monks
Higgins reflected on the aftermath of his television interview with Wilkinson on The Project in February 2021, comparing himself to the Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire in the 1960s.
Under the subtitle “self-immolation analogy,” and referring to the months after he made his accusations public, he wrote: “I often evoked the image of the inhuman Tibetan monks, who seemed to sit peacefully while engulfed in flames to protest against the occupation”. of the Chinese.
‘The comparison was crude but in some perverse way I related. One way or another I felt like I had caught fire. It was a protest of public self-immolation.
“It was a choice to burn my life, as I knew it, to the ground, in the hope that this act would inspire action.”
The analogy then focused on an Olympic torchbearer, along with reflections from an apparent conversation with her fiancé David Sharaz.
Higgins compared herself to the monks who set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Pictured: Thich Quang Duc, who took his own life at an intersection in Saigon, South Vietnam.
She wrote: “I lamented to David, “I keep hoping someone else will pick up my embers and continue the flame.
‘”Like the Olympics, but instead of a baton, it’s the media narrative against the existing patriarchal power structure still at play in Parliament. I just don’t feel like the next runner is yet to come.”
“So, with great efforts, I kept moving forward while the fire charred what was left of my skin.”
On the same page, under the heading “trial by media”, Ms Higgins details a conversation she had with Mr Sharaz during this same period.
‘”Did I do something wrong? All this precedent, this trial by the media? Is it all my fault?” I cried into David’s chest,” she wrote.
“I honestly didn’t feel like I had a choice. There was no other way,” I cried (sic). Exhaustion had arrived.
One section of the draft is called “Australian of the Year: Grace Tame” and details Ms Higgins’ grief when former Prime Minister Scott Morrison presented her with the award.
Tame was crowned Australian of the Year in 2021 because she is a proven survivor of sexual assault who was involved in a campaign to change laws that prevented victims from being allowed to speak about their abuse.
The laws did not prevent rapists from talking about their victims.
In the draft of her book, Higgins wrote: “Gutted by a pain I couldn’t fully understand, I was reliving 2019.”
Ms Higgins (left) said she was “gutted” when former Prime Minister Scott Morrison crowned Grace Tame (right) Australian of the Year.
‘When staff at the Prime Minister’s Office intimidated me and pressured me to remain silent.
“Here he was on stage, the Prime Minister himself, presenting an award to the young woman who championed the #LetUsSpeak campaign.”
Ms Higgins also referred to herself as a “Grade B Grace Tame”.
‘She exists outside and beyond the political bubble. Court case closed, awarded and revered,” she wrote.
‘Here I am in the mud with the pigs, fighting for control of the daily news cycle. Throwing mud: a WhatsApp here, a voice message there, a message to (political journalist), Sam (Maiden).’
‘Corpus delicti = irrefutable proof’
One page of the draft contained “research notes and quotes,” including notes on the meaning of “scandal.”
He took a definition from a 2001 academic journal article titled “Media Scandals: Morality and Desire in the Popular Culture Marketplace.”
Ms Higgins noted: ‘A media scandal occurs when private acts that dishonor or offend the idealized dominant morality of a social community are (made) public and narrativized by the media, producing a variety of effects ranging from ideologies and cultural entrenchment to disruption and change. ‘
It included the title of the book ‘The Power of a Scandal: Semiotic and Pragmatic in the Media’ by Johannes Ehrat, and included seven vignettes with different definitions of ‘scandal’.
In italics and underlining was the term “corpus delicti = irrefutable evidence.”
Corpus delicti is a Latin term that translates as “the body of a crime” and generally refers to the principle that no one should be convicted of a crime without sufficient evidence.
Higgins alleged that Bruce Lehrmann (centre) raped her in Parliament in 2019. He strongly denies the allegations.
Previously, Daily Mail Australia revealed a number of other chapters that Ms Higgins described in her memoirs, including some details about her experiences in the office of former Defense Industry Minister Steven Ciobo.
Chapter Five was called “The Sitting Week Cycle” and concerns Mrs. Higgins’ first meeting with an “infamous” group known as “the Big Swinging Idiots” in Mr. Ciobo’s office.
Higgins not only identified the four federal ministers who were part of the group with Ciobo, but said she had once been “serving them drinks” when they invited her to a bar after work on a Wednesday.
In another section, called “Team Ciobo’s Office Christmas Party,” Ms. Higgins recalled Mr. Ciobo “lining up his staff and pouring whiskey directly into our mouths.”
He said the event had a “Wolf of Wall Street”-style hedonism, referring to the 2013 film about former stockbroker Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, known for his wealth, lascivious parties and eventual imprisonment.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ciobo for comment.
Lehrmann was charged with sexual assault in August 2021 and tried in the ACT Supreme Court in October 2022. 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.