Pictured: Brittany Higgins on her first day at Parliament
Brittany Higgins lifts the lid on drinking culture at Parliament House in a leaked draft of her book. She names several ministers in the group of “Big Swinging D**ks” and reveals the raging Christmas party when one poured whiskey in staff’s mouths.
Ms Higgins’ raw and unfinished manuscript, obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia, was meant to detail the moment Bruce Lehrmann allegedly raped her at Parliament House in 2019. He firmly denies the allegations.
Instead, a series of bullet points and chapter outlines contain a series of observations and succinct remarks about colleagues and MPs during her time as Deputy Media Adviser in the Liberal Party.
In its draft form, the book, tentatively titled #NotJustADaughter, reads like a diary in which the then-young liberal employee tried to survive each day in the country’s highest office.
A whole chapter is devoted to the raging Christmas celebrations and talks about the privileges accorded to employees – which appear to have largely involved free drinks, Question Time rituals and a stern warning from a former colleague not to “sleep around”.
While the finished book may not have resembled her original manuscript—her bullet points are not contextualized in the rough draft—it still provides valuable insight into what Ms. Higgins intended to cover.
The memoirs were should go on sale in 2022 until Penguin Random House put it on hold indefinitely for legal reasons – namely because the criminal proceedings against Mr. Lehrmann had failed and he was never convicted.
Ms. Higgins’ $325,000 book advance was brokered by author Peter FitzSimons just a month after her February 2021 interview with his wife Lisa Wilkinson at The Project.
Brittany Higgins first made her allegations against Bruce Lehrmann in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson (left). Her husband Peter FitzSimons (right) brokered her book deal
“The Big Swinging D**ks”
A bullet-point overview of Chapter Five, called “The Session Week Cycle,” refers to Ms. Higgins’ first meeting with a “notorious” group called “The Big Swinging D**ks” in former Rep. Steven Ciobo’s office.
Mr Ciobo was Ms Higgins’ boss when he was Minister for Defense Industry in 2019 – she described him as “laissez-faire, bored … charismatic, boyish quality”.
Ms Higgins identified three federal ministers who were in the group with Mr Ciobo and recalled the time she served them drinks and was invited to a bar with them one Wednesday after work.
She also spoke of watching Question Time being more of a “tribal sport”, how she arrived at work at 6.45am and didn’t leave until 8pm every day, and the impressive moment when she was introduced to then Home Secretary Julie Bishop.
“When I met Julie Bishop, my former idol, I was just in awe of this world,” she wrote.
Nonsense at the Christmas party
Chapter seven, titled “The Best Time of the Year,” describes the alcoholic celebrations at the end of 2018.
One section was headlined, “Team Ciobo’s Office Christmas Party.”
Ms Higgins recalled how former Minister Ciobo “raised his staff and poured whiskey straight into our mouths”.
“Charismatic” Mr Ciobo was Ms Higgins’ boss when he was Minister for Defense Industry in 2019
She said the event had the style of a “Wolf of Wall Street,” referring to the 2013 Leonardo Di Caprio film about finance broker Jordan Belfort, known for his wealth, racy parties and eventual imprisonment.
In several bullet points, she alleged that Mr. Ciobo received Christmas cards from the Rothschild family and the Prince of Qatar and that her position as a ministry official enabled her to attend News Corp’s Christmas party.
At this party she met high profile journalists Peta Credlin, Laura Jayes and Michelle Grattan.
There were also a number of points under the subheading “Coalition Christmas Party” – one of her memoirs was crying over the pressure of work.
Ms Higgins also said there was a tradition of “ministers/senators/members serving drinks to staff” and recalled former Minister for Indigenous Australia Nigel Scullions preparing his “infamous mango daquiris”.
Passports, privileges and separations
Throughout the draft, Ms Higgins consistently spoke about the privileges afforded to people working in Parliament House – including what she called unofficial free passes to drink with lobbyists in the building.
She also said staff were able to pet native Australian animals, meet local celebrities and sports stars and hold up the Melbourne Cup trophy – “all with appetizers and drinks to lobby the government and staff on their specific interests”.
There were also “post-question-hour rituals” that involved popping bottles of champagne for the office.
Brittany Higgins said she was “amazed” when she met former Liberal Deputy Leader Julie Bishop (pictured).
Ms Higgins also described the stern, wise words of a former colleague who warned her not to delve too deeply into the “Canberra scene” and not “sleep”.
She vaguely mentioned the moment she split from her longtime boyfriend on her birthday and another when she returned home to Queensland for the first time since her job in Parliament and realized she didn’t want to leave the ACT.
Steven Ciobo did not respond when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
Mr. Lehrmann was charged with sexual assault in August 2021 and indicted in the ACT Supreme Court in October of the following year. However, the trial was called off because a member of the jury brought banned research material to court.
The charges against Mr Lehrmann were dropped entirely in December amid prosecutors concerns about Ms Higgins’ mental health.
In March of this year, Mr. Lehrmann brought defamation claims against Channel Ten and Wilkinson for the broadcast and publication of Ms. Higgins’ allegations.
He is also suing ABC over a show where Ms. Higgins made the allegations.
Mr. Lehrmann was not named as a suspected rapist in either program, but assumes that he was identifiable to his former colleagues and in parliamentary circles.
A federal court hearing is scheduled for November.
Brittany Higgins claims Bruce Lehrmann (pictured left, with his lawyer) raped her in Parliament House. He denies the allegation