The Age reports:
Magistrate Rodney Higgins, who created controversy in 2019 by embarking on a relationship with a court clerk 45 years his junior, has successfully claimed her $180,000 superannuation death benefit even though it was bequeathed to her struggling mother.
Mr Higgins, who earns $324,000 a year as a magistrate in Bendigo, made the successful claim on the death benefits of his late fiance Ashleigh Petrie after the fund, Rest Super, agreed with his argument that he was her de facto partner and therefore her “dependent”.
So she left the money to her mother but this judge who is on $300,000 and was with her for just a few months, sucessfuly claimed the money for himself.
What a terrible human being.
Mr Higgins, then 68, and Ms Petrie were a couple for seven months and lived together for about four months prior to her death. They were engaged in September 2019. During her relationship with Mr Higgins, Ms Petrie nominated her mother as the beneficiary of her superannuation and life insurance.
So this isn’t her choosing it to go to Higgins over her mother. She named her mother as the beneficiary.
But Mr Higgins has refused the mother’s pleas to share the money, citing his hurt that he was not given a portion of Ms Petrie’s ashes. Within months of the young woman’s death, Mr Higgins returned to his partner of 18 years, Lurline Le Neuf, whom he’d left earlier that year to be with Ms Petrie. They share a riverfront home in Shepparton.
He won’t share the money because he wasn’t given some of the ashes. Is he ten years old?
In October 2019, shadow attorney-general Ed O’Donohue made a rare complaint to the Judicial Commission about Mr Higgins. Mr O’Donohue alleged the magistrate lacked judicial independence due to his relationship with Ms Petrie and raised concerns about an incident involving his alcohol consumption at Crown casino. The commission dismissed these two allegations due to lack of information in April last year.
Mr O’Donohue’s third allegation – that Mr Higgins’ appointment by the Andrews government in 2017 was politicised because it followed stints as a Labor candidate for the state electorate of Shepparton in 2014 and the federal seat of Murray in 2013 – was found by the commission to be outside its jurisdictional scope.
This explains a lot!