EXCLUSIVE: How Brittany Higgins identifies as an Aboriginal Australian – and why mate Emma Webster laughed at her response to which ‘mob’ she was from in a text message exchange
- Ms Webster got her a job in first nations branch of government
- She also stood by Ms Higgins side everyday during rape trial
Brittany Higgins told prospective employers at a first nations branch of vernment that she identifies as an indigenous Australian, according to texts with her best friend.
This little-known fact about Ms Higgins was revealed during a conversation with Emma Webster on February 10, 2021, about her forthcoming job as a media advisor for the First People’s Assembly of Victoria.
Ms Webster was The Assembly’s head of communications and strategic advisor at the time, and was trying to fast-track Ms Higgins’ application so she could secure a position before it was publicly advertised.
The exchange took place less than two weeks after Ms Higgins quit her job as assistant media advisor for then-employment minister Michaelia Cash, Daily Mail Australia can reveal.
Her resignation left her free to appear on Channel Ten’s The Project and publicly allege for the first time that her former colleague Bruce Lehrmann raped her inside Parliament House in 2019 – which he firmly denies.
She previously told the ACT Supreme Court that she feared losing her parliamentary job if she was too vocal about her rape allegations so, with the guidance of TV host Lisa Wilkinson, she resigned – and apparently got a new phone number.
Emma Webster accompanied Brittany Higgins to the ACT Supreme Court everyday last year during Bruce Lehrmann’s criminal trial
On February 10, 2021, Ms Webster asked Ms Higgins: ‘What’s your mob?’ (mock-up of the text pictured)
The conversation with Ms Webster began at 11.14 on February 10, five days before she made her allegations on national TV, with a message from Ms Webster: ‘Hey Britt, we’re looking to advertise the media advisor role in the next week.’
‘I’m thinking of pushing for an immediate two month contract to get you working before that – what do you reckon? Then we can get you in for the media advisor role.’
About half an hour later, Ms Higgins replied: ‘Absolutely! I would love that. Would you like a copy of my resume now?’
Ms Webster then tried to call the former Liberal staffer, but found her phone had been disconnected.
The former staffer said, ‘ah, leave it with me. I will give you a call tonight once I have my new number set up,’ before sending her an email address instead.
‘Amazing, will email you soon. So excited to get you on board,’ Ms Webster wrote.
Ms Higgins replied: ‘Likewise! Thanks again for all the support.’
Just before 9.30 that night, Ms Webster sent a follow-up message: ‘Britt, what’s your mob?’
Ms Higgins replied and explained her grandfather had links to indigenous groups (mock-up of the text is pictured)
Brittany Higgins is pictured, left, with her friend Emma Webster
Ms Webster said Ms Higgins did not need to show documentation to prove she had indigenous roots (mock-up of the text is pictured)
Ms Higgins didn’t understand the question and explained she hadn’t set her new number up.
Ms Webster replied, ‘haha I mean indigenous mob. Co-chair and CEO are curious,’ – to which the former staffer replied with a laughing emoji.
She then went on to explain that her grandfather was connected ‘to either the Nyawigi or Gugu Badhun people, we’re not entirely sure which one’.
‘My grandpa tracked down and reconnected with his siblings from the orphanage in Townsville in 2011. After that, he didn’t want to progress any further,’ she said.
‘We’ve all collectively as a family respected his wishes and just sort of left it for the time being until he’s more comfortable proceeding further.’
Five minutes later, she added: ‘My grandma has all the documentation if you’d like e to get it for you this week.’
Brittany Higgins is pictured with her fiancé, David Sharaz, who also supported her in court
Ms Webster replied: ‘Totally get it. Sadly not an uncommon story – your grandpa, like you, sounds incredibly strong.’
Responding to the documentation query, she added: ‘Nah, no need at all. Literally just curiosity.’
Ms Webster then explained The Assembly was looking to launch a ‘truth-telling process’ with he Victorian government, which would likely turn into a royal commission.
‘It’ll be an opportunity for Aboriginal Victorians to tell the true history of this country – stolen children, massacres, frontier wars – and how they’ve impacted the lives of First Nations people to this day.
‘No doubt there will be stories like those of your grandpa.’
Ms Higgins said: ‘I’m genuinely so excited. It’s such deeply important work and I feel honoured to contribute in even just a small way. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.’
Brittany Higgins alleges Bruce Lehrmann (pictured left, with his lawyer) raped her in Parliament House. He denies the allegation
Two days later, Ms Higgins sent Ms Webster her new phone number.
Two days after that, Ms Higgins made her rape allegations on television.
She accepted the position at The Assembly and started working two weeks later and was charged with the task of improving the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles of a Nira illim bulluk man, Marcus Stewart.
Ms Higgins was in the position for two months.
Ms Webster left The Assembly in August of that year and took up a role as director of government relations firm, Hawker Britton, and later became a permanent fixture by Ms Higgins’ side during the criminal trial against Mr Lehrmann in October last year.
The trial was abandoned due to misconduct by a member of the jury, before the ACT crown prosecutor dropped the sexual assault charge entirely due to fears over Ms Higgins’ mental health.
Earlier this year, the friends set up a company together, along with Ms Higgins father Matthew, called Power Blazers Ltd – dedicated t helping Australians navigate the justice system.
Brittany Higgins’ friendship with Emma Webster
When the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions announced it was dropping the case amid fears a retrial would pose a ‘significant and unacceptable risk’ to Ms Higgins’ mental health, it was Ms Webster who immediately released a statement revealing her friend had been admitted to a Queensland hospital.
Ms Webster is also a longtime friend of Mr Sharaz who previously revealed the lobbyist inspired him him to pluck up the courage to ask Ms Higgins out.
‘She’s (Webster) been our go-to person ever since: from helping me draft an email, to hemming Brittany’s pants. She’s not a friend, she’s basically part of our relationship,’ Mr Sharaz wrote on Instagram at the time.
Webster was also in attendance at the National Press Club in Canberra when Ms Higgins delivered a powerful speech with former Australian of the Year Grace Tame a year ago.
She previously worked for former prime minister Julia Gillard, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.