Brittany Higgins draft book alleges Wolf of Wall Street party held in minister’s office

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Katina Curtis
The Nightly
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Former staffer Brittany Higgins planned to recount a “Wolf of Wall Street style” party in a minister’s office in Parliament House along with other allegations of inappropriate behaviour by politicians in a book she was writing, according to documents newly published by the Federal Court.

The exhibit, titled Excerpt from Brittany Higgins’ Book Draft, sets out notes for 35 chapters along with draft excerpts for some of them.

It has been tendered as part of the defamation case Bruce Lehrmann brought against Network Ten after he was accused of raping Ms Higgins. He has always denied the allegations.

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Ms Higgins signed a book deal with Penguin Random House in April 2021, shortly after the March 4 Justice movements.

She told the Federal Court last year while giving evidence in the defamation case that the deal was worth $350,000 but she had only received a $108,000 advance.

“If I ever actually finish the book, I will donate all $200,000 whatever to charity. I don’t care about the money,” she told the court.

She also described a draft of the novel sent to Penguin in April 2021 as “crap” and said it contained inaccuracies about the alleged rape.

She said her evidence to the court was the actual truth.

The notes for the novel sum up her entry into the political world and early months working in Federal Parliament for the Member for Moncrieff Steve Ciobo, who was the defence industry minister at the time.

“The Team Ciobo Christmas party in the office. Minister Ciobo lining up his staff and pouring whiskey directly in our mouths, the whole event had an almost ‘Wolf of Wall street’ style of hedonism about it,” the notes in the court exhibit say.

She also says the coalition Christmas party for the year involved “Nigel Suillion’s infamous mango daiquiris” and “the tradition of minister/senators/members serving drinks to staff”.

She cried about work pressures at the party and was discovered by Mr Ciobo, Ms Higgins wrote.

“He laughed assuming that I had taken the opportunity to get high,” she wrote.

In the notes for the chapter before this, Ms Higgins wrote she had been given a “warning from my former colleague about being careful of getting too deep into the ‘Canberra scene’ — not to sleep around or get caught up in everything that happens there.”

The defamation court case continues today.

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