Brittany Higgins has demanded an apology from Defence Minister Linda Reynolds after reports the minister called her a “lying cow”.

Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, came forward last month with allegations she was raped in Senator Reynolds’ office by a colleague in 2019.
Today, The Australian reported the defence minister, who is currently on medical leave, made the remark in front of staffers on the day Ms Higgins went public with her allegations.
Brittany Higgins
Brittany Higgins has alleged a former colleague raped her in Parliament House. (Supplied)

Now, a law firm representing Ms Higgins has issued a demand for “an immediate and unequivocal public withdrawal of (Ms Reynolds’) comments and (an) apology to our client for the hurt and distress caused”.

The letter reads: “The demeaning and belittling statement, in which you refer to our client as a member of the animal kingdom and declare her to be untruthful, is highly defamatory of our client’s good character and unblemished reputation.”

The firm, Company (Giles) said the letter constituted a “Concerns Notice” under defamation legislation.

A Concerns Notice is a communique sent to a person who has made allegedly defamatory statements, prior to commencing legal proceedings for defamation.

Ms Higgins earlier today issued a statement saying Ms Reynolds’ comments were evidence of a “toxic culture” in Parliament House.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds did not deny calling Brittany Higgins a 'lying cow'.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds did not deny calling Brittany Higgins a ‘lying cow’. (Getty)

“I appreciate that it has been a stressful time but that sort of behaviour and language is never excusable,” she said.

In a statement earlier today, Senator Reynolds did not dispute using the term, but sought to clarify the context of the comment.

“I have never questioned Ms Higgins’ account of her alleged sexual assault and have always sought to respect her agency in this matter,” she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended the Defence Minister. (Kate Geraghty/Sydney Morning Herald)

“I did however comment on news reports regarding surrounding circumstances that I felt had been misrepresented.

“I have consistently respected Ms Higgins’ agency and privacy and said this is her story to tell and no one else’s.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier condemned the remarks but defended Senator Reynolds, saying she regrets the comments and the last few weeks had been “traumatic” for many people, resulting in high tensions.

“She has deeply regretted them, she made them in a private office,” Mr Morrison said.

“She immediately apologised.”

This content first appear on 9news

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