Missy Higgins opens up about dad’s COVID backlash


Singer Missy Higgins has opened up about the political backlash to her father testing positive for COVID last year.

Dr Chris Higgins picked up the virus in America last March. A mild cold he had upon flying home had subsided in time to return to work where he saw 70 patients in his first week. He tested positive the next week.

Former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said it was "irresponsible" for a doctor to work with "flu-like symptoms."

"It was horrible for the Minister to throw him under the bus," Missy Higgins said.

"He was one of the first people in Victoria to have it, it was wrongly reported that he was irresponsible going to work while he had it. He had no symptoms, he had no idea he had it, his cold had gone so he didn't get tested. He only really got symptoms in the second week, so he got tested.



Singer songwriter Missy Higgins with her father Chris Higgins. Pic: Instagram
Singer songwriter Missy Higgins with her father Chris Higgins. Pic: Instagram


"He didn't infect anyone, he was lucky, it was a mild case, which is probably why he didn't pass it on to anyone. It was right at the beginning when everyone was super-paranoid, he wore the brunt of that in a way.

"But he got back to work and there was a pile of letters from people telling him he had their full support and how amazing he is as a doctor. The one good thing that came out of it was he told me he didn't realise he had so many friends after seeing all the support that came in."

Dr Higgins posted on Facebook last year he was upset about the "inaccuracies and unfairness" of Mikakos' comments, calling it "cheap political grandstanding."

"I hesitated to do a swab because I did not fulfil your criteria for testing but did one anyway for sake of completeness, not imagining for one moment it would turn out to be positive," he wrote.

It led to an online petition and other GPs calling for Mikakos to apologise for criticising a frontline worker during a pandemic.



Gordi, Michael Gudinski, Paul Dempsey and Missy Higgins. Picture: Rob Leeson.
Gordi, Michael Gudinski, Paul Dempsey and Missy Higgins. Picture: Rob Leeson.




Meanwhile Missy Higgins, Jimmy Barnes and Tones and I are among the high profile Australian acts taking part in the Sounds Better Together string of COVID-safe shows with tickets set at just $49.90.

Starting this Saturday, the event will see eight days of concerts around Melbourne and regional Victoria with tickets on sale at midday Tuesday from soundsbettertogether.com.

The series starts with Jimmy Barnes, the Teskey Brothers and Vika and Linda at Yarra Valley on Saturday, the same day Tones and I, Missy Higgins, Gordi and Didirri play Mount Duneed in Geelong. It ends at Mallacoota Oval on January 30 with James Reyne, Daryl Braithwaite, Vika and Linda and Mia Wray.

Melbourne musician Gordi, real name Sophie Payten, reverted back to working as a doctor after her touring last year was scrapped due to COVID.

"When the second wave hit that was when Victoria and Melbourne really needed extra shifts and I'm still working full time in a hospital," Gordi said. "It's been a real reality check. You come home and watch people protesting having to wear a mask and I've just spent the whole day covered in plastic head to toe around people who are really suffering. So going back to playing some joyous, jovial music gigs will be a bit of a jolt but I'm happy to travel in that direction."

More artists and venues will be announced later this week, with Something For Kate, fronted by Paul Dempsey, to play the Prince of Wales on Sunday.

Promoter Michael Gudinski said the shows have been deliberately routed around venues who suffered due to closures last year. "The venues have done it hard, so have the artists, and they're all excited to get to play again," Gudinski said.

The concerts have been staged in conjunction with Visit Victoria.


Originally published as Missy Higgins opens up about dad's COVID backlash