Linda Reynolds retracts 'lying cow' comment, will pay damages

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Brittany Higgins says she is pleased Senator Linda Reynolds has withdrawn her "lying cow" comment and accepts the minister's apology after a legal settlement was reached.

The defence minister issued an apology last week and today released a new statement retracting the comment, and again apologising to Ms Higgins for the distress it caused her. 

Former Liberal staffer Ms Higgins alleges she was sexually assaulted by a fellow ministerial adviser in Ms Reynolds' office in 2019. It emerged Ms Reynolds had referred to the former staffer as a “lying cow” in reacting to media reports of Ms Higgins going public with the rape allegation.

Ms Reynolds remains on medical leave, which she on Sunday extended until April 2.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds has retracted her 'lying cow' comment made about Brittany Higgins. Source: AAP (file pic)

“I did not mean it in the sense it may have been understood,” Ms Reynolds said in her latest statement about the "lying cow" remark.

“Given that the comment was made public, which I never intended, I also want to retract it and unreservedly apologise to Brittany Higgins and acknowledge the hurt and distress it caused her.”

Senator to pay damages from own pocket, reports

Ms Reynolds is reportedly going to pay damages from her own pocket to Ms Higgins over the comments, The Australian reported.

Ms Higgins says money received will be donated to an organisation supporting sexual assault victims.

"This has been an immensely challenging period for me and I wish to reiterate that the only reason I have chosen to come forward is to help others," she said.

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"Finally, any monies I have received from the Minister as part of the settlement of my claim against her (over and above my legal costs) will be paid in full to an organisation that provides counselling and support to survivors of sexual assault and abuse in the Canberra area.

"These funds will assist them in this important work."

Ms Higgins’ partner David Sharaz said on Sunday they have both decided to leave Canberra in the wake of the allegations.

Mr Sharaz added he is “angry that things won’t change”.

Brittany Higgins, 24, is pictured.
Ms Higgins has accepted the apology. Source: Twitter/ Brittany Higgins

Labor has called on the senator to resign with home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally calling Ms Reynolds’ position “untenable”.

"To be defence minister, to be any minister, you need good judgement and sound character," Ms Keneally told reporters in Sydney.

"What we have seen from Linda Reynolds is that she has neither. She needs to go, her position is untenable."

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