Brittany Higgins to Join the ANU as a Visiting Fellow

Content Warning: This article contains express mention of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Former political staffer Brittany Higgins will join the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL) as a visiting fellow at the ANU. Higgins accused a colleague of rape in a Parliament House office earlier this year. 

Higgins joins the GIWL at ANU to assist in furthering work on a proposed code of conduct to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) issues in Parliament House. This submission by GIWL proposes a set of requirements that go beyond current ministerial standards. These standards will apply to both parliamentarians and their staff. 

Higgins will be the inaugural Visiting Fellow of ANU’s GIWL. Her unpaid position will involve helping the institution with advocacy to ensure the research the GIWL produces reaches a larger audience that is subsequently transformed into policy change. 

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard stated that Higgins is a “powerful force for change who had already greatly advanced the national conversation” on SASH issues. 

In regards to her fellowship, Higgins expressed dedication to “driving meaningful change in Parliament House, and all Australian workplaces, so that our systems work better to present and respond to inappropriate workplace conduct”. Additionally, she is excited to “sit in on [academics’] meetings and learn and listen”. 

Professor Michele Ryan, the director of GIWL at ANU, stated that Higgins fellowship “is a voice for change [that] will not only help advance the case for reform in Australia, but who will inspire a new generation of women to keep demanding nothing less than what they are all owed: respect”. 

The GIWL was established by former PM Julia Gillard at King’s College London. Higgins will be a visiting fellow at the ANU GIWL, the first and only sister mode to the original institution at King’s. They aim to strengthen research, advocacy and engagement, and practice through their work.