Brittany Higgins was treated like Bruce Lehrmann's secretary when the pair began working together, with the man allocating her "annoying" tasks, she has told a court. Ms Higgins is giving evidence in the Federal Court during Mr Lehrmann's defamation proceedings against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson. Mr Lehrmann is suing the television network and its journalist over a 2021 The Project story, which aired Ms Higgins' allegation a man raped her in a Parliament House ministerial office two years earlier. While the story did not name him, Mr Lehrmann claims he was easily identified and the trial has heard multiple arguments over whether producers made reasonable attempts to contact him for a right of reply. Beside a brief introduction on Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday is the first time Ms Higgins has spoken in open court since the ACT criminal trial against Mr Lehrmann was aborted due to juror misconduct. Ms Higgins is Ten's first witness, with 20 others, including former colleagues, security guards, police officers, family members, expert witnesses, and a rape crisis counsellor also expected to be called. Mr Lehrmann sat on the furthest other side of the room, pinned against a window, as Ms Higgins gave evidence. She interchanged between calling him "Bruce" and "Mr Lehrmann". When she began working with the new defence industry minister in march 2019, Ms Higgins said she began "right at the bottom" in an office with "a lot of egos competing" and where people were unsure about their positions. "That whole office was a mess for a while. Pretty much the whole time, actually," Ms Higgins said. She described doing "all the grunt work", including being "kind of treated like [Mr Lehrmann's] secretary". "I felt like I was his secretary. He would ask me to do things and I would do them," Ms Higgins said. Ms Higgins described two particular tasks, moving an office fridge and altering Mr Lehrmann's placement on an office phone list, as time consuming and "particularly annoying". "I didn't think it was fair or right, which is why I remember them so pointedly," she said. Ms Higgins also recounted a rejected kiss, which Mr Lehrmann has repeatedly denied ever happened, outside The Dock a week before the woman claims the man sexually assaulted her. "Mr Lehrmann came up to me, he came into my space and he tried to kiss me on the lips," she told the court. The pair had been dining and drinking with a number of office colleagues before each decided to leave at the same time. "I apologised, I was shocked. I said no and he seemed embarrassed. I just assumed I had led him on," Ms Higgins said. Questioned on why she felt embarrassed, Ms Higgins said she didn't know and that she "shouldn't have". READ MORE ABOUT THE TRIAL: The court heard the man's Uber pulled up and he left immediately, with the alleged incident never spoken about again. "I let it slide and put it to the wayside," Ms Higgins said. "I felt like we'd both been embarrassed enough, I didn't want to draw attention to it again." Ms Higgins was asked about her account of meeting Mr Lehrmann for the first time. She joined several of Senator Linda Reynold's staffers on March 2, 2019, weeks before the alleged incident, at the Kingston Hotel. The woman had reached out to the senator's media advisor for a job, with the pair acquainted because "there weren't very many young women on the conservative side of politics" at Parliament House. During his cross-examination, Mr Lehrmann denied several aspects of that night, including that he had tried to convince his soon-to-be ministerial colleague to stay longer than she wanted. "Mr Lehrmann took my phone in jest so I couldn't leave for a while," Ms Higgins said on Wednesday. Despite the woman telling the court she understood this to be a joke, Mr Lehrmann has denied the claim. The television network and Ms Wilkinson are, in part, relying on a truth defence and aiming to prove the allegation is "substantially true". Ten's barrister, Matthew Collins KC, previously told the court there was a "legitimate public interest in the exposure of Ms Higgins' allegation". Mr Lehrmann has always denied raping Ms Higgins when the pair worked as staffers for the then-defence industry minister, and no findings have been made against him. The charge of engaging in sexual intercourse without consent levelled at him was eventually dropped, with prosecutors citing an unacceptable risk to Ms Higgins' life. Mr Lehrmann has already settled two other defamation disputes, relating to reporting and coverage of the allegation, against News Corp and journalist Samantha Maiden, and the ABC. More to come.