Linda Reynolds refuses to say if payout was withheld from staffer alleged to have raped Brittany Higgins

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The defence minister, Linda Reynolds, says she had no contact with the staffer alleged to have raped Brittany Higgins after he was sacked, and did not give him a reference for a public relations job, but has refused to reveal whether his termination payout was withheld on grounds of “serious misconduct”.

Labor will attempt on Thursday morning to force Reynolds to provide a 15-minute statement to the Senate about her handling of the Higgins case, as the government faces mounting pressure to divulge key details of what it knew about the allegations and its response.

After Higgins accused Scott Morrison of responding to her allegations with “victim-blaming rhetoric”, the prime minister wrote late on Wednesday to the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, flagging an arm’s length review…

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