Territory Stories

The Centralian Advocate Fri 26 Mar 2021



The Centralian Advocate Fri 26 Mar 2021


Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Australia, Central -- Newspapers

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News Corp Australia

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News Corp Australia



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18 NEWS FRIDAY MARCH 26 2021 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 SCOMO SAYS LETTER ON ABETZ HAS NO NEW EVIDENCE SCOTT Morrison says there is no new evidence in a letter sent to him by the Tasmanian Premier, urging him to consider whether senator Eric Abetz slut-shamed Brittany Higgins. Tasmanian Speaker Sue Hickey used parliamentary privilege to claim Senator Abetz said Ms Higgins was disgustingly drunk and could have slept with anybody when she was allegedly raped. He has denied the claim. Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein confirmed on Wednesday Ms Hickey had raised the allegation with him weeks ago and had written to the Prime Minister urging him to consider the matter. But Mr Morrison said the letter contained no new evidence. He doesnt corroborate or confirm any of these things. Hes just simply mentioned this matter to me, he told ABC Radio on Thursday. Ms Hickey also alleged she asked Senator Abetz whether the cabinet minister at the centre of an historical rape allegation was Attorney-General Christian Porter and was told not to worry because the alleged victim had died. Mr Morrison said although both comments would be completely appalling, it would be very unfair to draw conclusions with the facts in such dispute. I was not a party to the conversation Senator Abetzs complete denial of that I think is a very strong one. But Labor frontbencher Tony Burke called for an investigation, saying the government could not move on the basis of a denial alone. If thats meant to be the end of the matter then we havent moved one millimetre these last two months, he told Sky News. FINN MCHUGH MORRISON NOT GIVING ANYTHING AWAY OVER THE FUTURE OF HIS BESIEGED FEDERAL MINISTERS SCOTT Morrison has remained tight-lipped on a cabinet reshuffle, with AttorneyGeneral Christian Porter and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds at risk of being dumped from their roles. The Prime Minister this week revealed he was considering the advice of the Solicitor-General in regards to Mr Porters return from personal leave in April. Speaking on ABC AM, Mr Morrison said he would not speculate on any of the decisions involving Mr Porter or Senator Reynolds. In relation to Mr Porters return to the cabinet, Ive been considering the advice of the Solicitor-General about conflicts of interest that may arise in relation to that defamation action against the ABC, he said. Also in terms of the ministerial code of conduct, which also deals with perceived conflicts of interest. So Im working through JADE GAILBERGER Coalition feels heat to sack scandal staffers Defiant Brittany forces PM to investigate backgrounding claim FORMER Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins has forced Scott Morrison to investigate whether his staff briefed against her loved ones after she went public to allege she was raped in Parliament House. And the Prime Ministers office has also been contacted by a primary and direct source about the conduct of his staff in responding to Ms Higginss claim. Mr Morrison has repeatedly told parliament he had no knowledge of his advisers backgrounding against Ms Higgins, who resigned from her government job earlier this year before speaking out about the alleged incident in 2019. On Thursday morning, Mr Morrison said nothing has been raised with my office from anyone in the (parliamentary press) gallery making any of those accusations, or any discomfort about anything that my office has done. That prompted Ms Higgins to write to his chief of staff, John Kunkel, saying she was made aware by numerous journalists about the backgrounding that was happening against my partner. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, Ms Higgins wrote. It is entirely plausible the Prime Minister did not know this was happening; however, the more relevant point is that it did occur. When she spoke powerfully at a rally outside Parliament House last week, Ms Higgins spoke of watching Mr Morri son apologise to her through the media, while privately his team actively discredited and undermined my loved ones. In parliament on Thursday afternoon, Mr Morrison said he would respond to Ms Higgins, and that Dr Kunkel had also received confidential information regarding these matters. In response to that information, I have asked my chief of staff to commence a process with advice from the Department of Finance to deal with complaints against staff members. We will follow that process in dealing with that matter, he said. Mr Morrison is considering shuffling the cabinet roles of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds who was Ms Higginss boss when the alleged incident occurred and AttorneyGeneral Christian Porter, who has vehemently denied a historical rape allegation. The Prime Minister on Thursday backed the performance of his ministers but said he was not speculating on any of these decisions. All I can say is that when I make decisions on these matters, Ill communicate them and my reasons for it, Mr Morrison said. TOM MINEAR IT IS ENTIRELY PLAUSIBLE THE PRIME MINISTER DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS HAPPENING THE MORE RELEVANT POINT IS THAT IT DID OCCUR BRITTANY HIGGINS Former staffer Nathan Winn, right, at the NGA in 2020. 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