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Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles has defended Labor Senator Katy Gallagher over claims she may have had knowledge about the Brittany Higgins allegations before they became public.

Marles was speaking on Today this morning after leaked texts were obtained by News Corp which are purportedly between Higgins and her partner David Sharaz.

The text messages are claimed to show Sharaz had discussed Higgins’ rape allegation with Katy Gallagher – who is now finance minister – before it was made public.

Marles insisted Gallagher did not then mislead parliament months later when she denied anyone had any prior knowledge, after Higgins and Sharaz went public with the rape allegation in February 2021.

“No, she didn’t. And she has made that really clear this week.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher is at the centre of a political row over claims she misled parliament. (Photo: Alex Ellinghausen) (The Sydney Morning Herald)

”Katy has made her position very clear earlier in the week, and she has made clear that she is very comfortable with the statements that she’s made, and that’s the end of the matter in terms of Katy’s position,” Marles said.

“Katy is a person of enormous integrity.”

Higgins accused former fellow political staffer Bruce Lehrmann of rape in 2021, a charge he has always denied.

His trial was abandoned last October following a case of juror misconduct and no findings were made against him.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said yesterday a a Commonwealth Government compensation payment awarded to Brittany Higgins was made “to the letter of the law”.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has backed former defence minister Linda Reynolds over referring the compensation payment to the new National Anti-Corruption Commission, which will begin operations in July.

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