Federal Politics

License article

'Deluded Neanderthal view': a victim caught up in the black arts of Canberra leaking

Whatever Jamie Briggs' defenders might think about the seriousness of the incident in Hong Kong, two facts are irrefutable.

Up Next

Meth 'ruined' Chris Yarran's career

Video duration

More National News Videos

Dutton gaffe a 'test for Turnbull'

Labor puts pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's 'boorish' text message. (Vision ABC News 24)

One: the incident was examined by an independent investigator appointed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Two: that investigator delivered a report that was considered by a wide range of ministers who unanimously decided Briggs had to go.

The fact that at least one of those defenders has seen fit to slip a photo and text messages to the media betrays a callous disregard for the woman. It was reprehensible for Briggs to distribute the images in the first place. Even more breathtaking is that he did so, by his own admission, after the incident came to the attention of the bureaucracy and senior figures inside the government. Some are questioning whether sending the photo - taken on his phone - is an offence equal to, if not worse than, the actual Hong Kong bar incident.

The leaking of the image was motivated by a deluded Neanderthal view that if she was in high spirits at some stage of the evening, she can't have been too wounded by anything else that happened that night.


It is a risible chain of logic that should not exist within our political elite.

It is fitting therefore that Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a blast to such views. His words about privacy in sexual harassment cases are carefully chosen. But they can be read unequivocally as a shot as much at his own colleagues as to the media.

The woman, in her 20s and on her first foreign posting, made no formal complaint. She appears to have behaved in a thoroughly circumspect way, not wanting to drag herself into a stoush.

Rather, she reported it to superiors and her employer, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, took the initiative to push it further.

Yet through no fault of her own, she has been caught up in the black arts of Canberra leaking.

It is understood that counselling services have been made available to the woman. The department and the government must also ensure that her future and her well-being do not suffer as a result of this schmozzle.

The department and the government must also ensure that her future and her well-being do not suffer as a result of this schmozzle

Follow us on Twitter