Audio recordings of Lisa Wilkinson slamming former government Senator Linda Reynolds as a “nobody” from “the shallow talent pool” have surfaced.
The comments were made during a five-hour conversation Wilkinson had with her producer Angus Llewellyn, Brittany Higgins and Higgins’ fiancé David Sharaz.
The meeting took place in a Sydney hotel to plan Higgins’ interview on The Project during which she would allege that she had been raped by a fellow staffer in Reynolds’ office.
Much of the recorded conversation has already been aired, but Daily Mail Australia published parts of the discussion that had not been revealed.
In leaked audio, Wilkinson told the group that Senator Reynolds was only given the defence portfolio to stop her complaining about women not being given a fair go in the Liberal Party.
“She was promised a portfolio ... in order to be quiet,” Wilkinson said.
“The general sort of notion that there was like a shallow talent pool and who we could foster up, and it likely solved like a temporary short-term issue in the party of who could we elevate to, sort of, mitigate this public image issue.”
Later in the conversation, Wilkinson read a private message exchange she had with the Senator two years earlier.
“If anybody wants to feel fired-up about zeroing in on Linda Reynolds, I've just found our private messages,” Wilkinson told the group.
“Oh god,” Ms Higgins replied.
“Did you see our private exchange?” Wilkinson asked.
Higgins, who worked as a media advisor for Senator Reynolds in 2019 when the messages were sent, said: “I did, I did, it was very scary.”
Wilkinson said: “She went for me publicly, and then I tried to come back reasonably, and then I thought, ‘I'm not going to do this publicly.
“I'm trying to work out who this f**king woman is. Like, I'd never heard of her. She's a nobody.”
Wilkinson read the private back-and-forth between herself and Senator Reynolds, pausing regularly to get reactions from the three other people in the room.