Australia news LIVE: Parliament debates new immigration detention laws; Higgins to give evidence in Lehrmann trial

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  • Brittany Higgins returns to the witness box today
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Brittany Higgins returns to the witness box today

Following several days of cross-examination, Bruce Lehrmann stepped down from the witness box yesterday in his defamation proceedings.

Brittany Higgins leaves court yesterday afternoon.Credit: Rhett Wyman

Brittany Higgins, the woman who he accuses him of raping her, took his place. Our senior reporter Harriet Alexander was observing and had this to say:

Brittany Higgins took up a seat in the front row, eight seats separating her from the man she claims raped her on March 23, 2019, and stared straight ahead, worrying at the ring on her middle finger. Lehrmann’s ears turned pink and he shifted in his seat.

She had arrived to give evidence as the first witness in the defamation case brought by Lehrmann against Ten and Wilkinson. As the minutes drifted down to the time she would enter the witness box, Ten’s barrister Matthew Collins, KC, outlined the evidence that she would give.

She would tell the court that Lehrmann sexually assaulted her in the minister’s office, Collins anticipated. The court would hear that she was found naked by a security guard several hours later … It would hear from more than 20 witnesses, including friends, family, colleagues, people who witnessed the events of the night, security guards, police officers and journalists, whose evidence would support the story Higgins gave.

But first it would hear from Higgins.

The trial will continue at 10.15am, when Higgins is expected to continue her evidence. We will bring you all the updates, as well as sharing the link to watch the trial live online.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for joining us today.

It’s Wednesday, November 29. I’m Michael Fowler, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage of today’s news developments this morning.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • With federal parliament sits again sitting today, the worst offenders released from immigration detention could be locked up again under new laws the government is vowing to legislate before Christmas.
  • Australia’s most powerful unions are demanding urgent action on cost of living, warning Labor needs bold new policies to reverse its fortunes.
  • Brittany Higgins will continue her evidence in Federal Court today, the day after lawyers suggested her blood alcohol was five times over the limit when she alleges she was raped by Bruce Lehrmann.
  • Glenn Maxwell’s superb hundred catapulted Australia to a miraculous last-ball win over India in the third Twenty20 of the series.
  • In Victoria, home owners in Melbourne’s fastest growing suburbs owe tens of millions of dollars in overdue rates as mortgage stress bites.
  • In NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has warned paid entry may be necessary as operational costs spike and, it says, state and federal funding falls short.

  • And in overseas news, all 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in northern India for 17 days have been pulled out alive.

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