Liberal Senator blames Labor for Linda Reynolds’ health emergency

Liberal Senator blames Labor for Linda Reynolds’ health emergency
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Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ health emergency has sparked bitter exchanges in the Senate with a Liberal senator accusing Labor of making her sick.

Superannuation Minister Jane Hume, a close friend of Senator Reynolds who shares a flat with her during Canberra sitting weeks, made the startling interjection as Labor continued to probe who knew about the alleged rape at Parliament House.

“Haven’t you done enough!,” Senator Hume interjected.

The Defence Minister revealed on Tuesday morning she was taking immediate medical leave on the advice of her cardiologist and would not attend parliament for the rest of the week.

She said it was a “pre-existing” condition.

It followed her embarrassing blunder in the Senate on Tuesday where she became confused and incorrectly claimed she had met with the AFP twice over the alleged rape.

Last week, she broke down in tears on the final sitting week and asked to be able to take a question on notice.

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Senator Hume has described Senator Reynolds’ health crisis as “scary” and told colleagues she was deeply worried about her on Tuesday night before her cardiologist insisted she go to hospital.

The question that triggered the bitter exchange was over when Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was advised about the rape claim.

In response, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash revealed that the AFP advised Mr Dutton on February 11, 24 hours before emailed questions about the incident.

“I can advise the Senate that AFP Commissioner Kershaw first advised Minister Dutton of Ms Higgins’ allegation on Thursday, the 11th of February, 2021,” she said.

“This was the first time the Minister was advised of Ms Higgins’ allegation. The Minister received further verbal updates from Commissioner Kershaw during last week and this week. “I’m advised that the Minister’s office was not aware of Ms Higgins’ allegations prior to the Minister’s briefing from Commissioner Kershaw on the 11th of February, 2021.

“As senators would know, Mr President, the handling of allegations and investigation of criminal conduct, including briefing to ministers, is a matter for the Australian Federal Police. “Nonetheless, the Minister has sought and received assurances from the Commissioner of the AFP that the investigation will leave no stone unturned.” has previously reported that Senator Cash’s chief of staff told her quote, “Don’t worry, we will call Dutton”.

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Asked if the Minister for Home Affairs or his staff discussed Ms Higgins’ case with any other Minister or ministerial staff member, including Minister Reynolds, Senator Cash said she would make inquiries.

“I will need to take that on notice and get back to you,” she said.

Parliament does not resume after the last sitting fortnight until March 15 allowing Senator Reynolds to escape further scrutiny for weeks.

The Defence Minister also cancelled a sold out National Press Club event where she was to face her first questions from journalists since the scandal exploded 10 days ago.

Her no-show prompted a fire sale of $10 WA lobsters poached in champagne as event organisers tried to cover their losses.

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