A security guard who let Brittany Higgins and her alleged rapist into Parliament House says she later found her passed out naked on a couch.
Ms Higgins, then 24, claims a high-flying senior Liberal Party staffer raped her on that couch in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ office in March 2019.
The colleagues were on a night out in Canberra and stumbled back to the office drunk about 1.50am, where they were buzzed through security.
Veteran security guard Nikola Anderson said the pair took her by surprise because it was odd they would come back to the office on a Friday night.
Brittany Higgins (pictured) went public with the allegation she was raped by a male colleague inside Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ office in 2019
Security guard Nikola Anderson, who let Brittany Higgins and her alleged rapist into Parliament House, says she later found her passed out naked on a couch
‘They basically walked in together. She was wearing a white cocktail dress. I’d noticed that she’d had grass stains down one side of her body on this pure white dress. He seemed to be quite dressed up as well,’ she told ABC’s Four Corners.
‘And it was just strange to us that they were there at that time of night together, wanting to go into the office.’
Ms Anderson said later that night she was shocked to walk in on Ms Higgins lying completely naked on the couch.
She said the young woman was roused by her presence and looked her in the eye before rolling on to her side.
‘My [thought] on it was that she’s conscious. She’s breathing. She doesn’t look like she’s in distress. She’s just sleeping off her night. And with that, I shut the door, and I exited the room,’ she said.
‘I made sure her dignity was intact by shutting this door… I was trying to do the right thing by keeping her dignity intact.’
CCTV showed the man returned to security by himself at 2.35am, just 45 minutes after entering, and left Parliament House quickly,
‘My colleague had tried to make conversation with him and he seemed to be in a hurry,’ she said.
‘That was when my colleague and I decided that we needed to push it up the chain and notify our night shift team leader that there might’ve been something a bit strange going on.’
Ms Anderson rubbished talk of a security breach and said all protocols were followed that night
Government insiders claimed in the days after Ms Higgins’ allegations that the accused rapist staffer was sacked for sneaking the a minister’s parliamentary office on false pretenses and not behaving with ‘integrity’.
They claimed the alleged breach wasn’t the first security issue flagged in relation to the male staffer at the time.
However, Ms Anderson rubbished talk of a security breach and said all protocols were followed that night.
‘What was the security breach? Because the night that we were on shift, there was no security breach,’ she said.
‘Their pass enables them to be where they want to be within Parliament House. If they hadn’t worked for that minister, that would be a different story because we wouldn’t have allowed them entry because it’s not their office, they have no business being in there.’
Ms Anderson said neither were carrying their Parliament House passes, but she was able to find them in the system when they showed ID.
‘As she’s gone to put her shoes back on after she’s walked through and cleared herself, she couldn’t get them on,’ she said.
‘That’s how I realised how intoxicated this girl was because she just could not get her shoes on for the life of her.
Ms Anderson then took Ms Higgins and the male staffer to Ms Reynolds’ office, unlocked the door, and let them inside.
‘Nobody really knows the truth except me. Security did do what they could, and would have done more had it have been required,’ she said.
Brittany Higgins (pictured) alleges she was raped by the staffer in a ministerial office in 2019
The explosive claims comes weeks after Parliament insiders recently claimed the advisor was already being closely monitored by the government after other serious offences occurred, The Australian reported.
Insiders told the publication the man had no official work purpose to be in the minister’s office on the night of the alleged sexual assault, despite him claiming otherwise.
They also claim his employment was terminated before Senator Reynolds was made aware of the rape allegations.
The male staffer’s access pass for Parliament House was cancelled four days after the alleged rape, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed in February.
He said the man’s employment was terminated due to a security breach.
‘That was the reason for it. As I understand it, it related to the entry into those premises,’ Mr Morrison said.
The Prime Minister’s office has declined to reveal the nature of the male staffer’s other alleged offences.
The security breach occurred in the office of Senator Linda Reynolds (pictured on Tuesday)
Senator Reynolds has come under heavy fire for her handling of the allegations and was recently admitted to a hospital a precaution for a ‘pre-existing medical condition’.
Several women have since come forward to allege they were assaulted by the same man since Ms Higgins went public with her claims in February and has since made a a formal complaint to Australian Federal Police.
The allegations prompted a former intern to share intimate details about her experiences with the man on a couch in the office of a Nationals senator at Parliament House in 2014.
While she says their encounters were consensual, she claims she felt ‘pressured’ to have sex with him on other occasions.
‘Nothing ‘rapey’ happened. But that makes me feel really ill. I feel like he wanted to [take me there] because he wanted to show off his power. He was obviously much more important than I was,’ the woman told news.com.au.
‘There was one time I kept saying, ‘No, I am really tired, I don’t want to do anything’ and he kept being like, ‘Oh, come on. Come on.’
The former Liberal Party staffer accused of raping Brittany Higgins was sacked for a security breach at Parliament House (pictured) in 2019
She also shared Facebook messages which refer to the couch in the senator’s office, which the man insists is ‘comfortable’ as he invited her there.
‘The lounge in his office is really comfy, good for doing readings. haha,’ he wrote.
The woman replied: ‘mmm, depends, do you tend to talk a lot whilst studying?’
The man adds he’s usually ‘a good boy’ and has an essay to write.
She claims the encounter occurred five years before the staffer allegedly raped Ms Higgins.
The woman was a university student at the time and interning for a Labor MP.
The former intern shared an exchange of Facebook messages from 2014, where the man claims the couch in the senator’s office is ‘really comfy’
The man, whom she described as ‘ambitious’ with dreams of becoming Prime Minister, was also an intern at the time for a Nationals MP.
She first met him at drinks where she got ‘very drunk’ and went back to his house.
‘We kissed that night. I was very drunk and he was totally sober,’ the woman recalled.
‘I never felt weird about that but there were other instances where he definitely pressured me. We never had proper sex.’
The woman says she will come forward to police to make a statement if it helps with their inquiries.