Woman alleges rape in Australian parliament

Elias Hubbard
February 21, 2021

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under pressure after a second woman came forward today alleging she was sexually assaulted by a former Morison adviser accused of raping Brittany Higgins in 2019.

A police media liaison officer in the capital Canberra said on Saturday there was an "open" investigation into the incident involving Higgins but that the case was not "active" because she had not filed a formal complaint.

Brittany Higgins (pictured) went public this week with allegations she was raped in 2019.

Mr Morrison has apologised for the way the matter was handled.

Brittany Higgins (left) is seen with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the lead up to the 2019 election.

"Too often, a toxic workplace culture can emerge that enables inappropriate conduct and this is exacerbated by the disparity in the power dynamics".

A second woman has claimed she was raped by the same former government advisor.

"I hugely admire Brittany Higgins's courage in coming forward with her account of her rape in Parliament House", Ms Gillard said in a statement.

The new allegations follow reports earlier this week that Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, was raped by a Morrison adviser in Defence Minister Linda Reynold's office in the early hours of March 23, 2019.

"I believe that getting to the bottom of what happened to me and how the system failed me is critical to creating a new framework for political staff that ensures genuine cultural change and restores the trust of staff".

What does Ms Higgins allege?

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In the message, the Liberal staffer said he had spoken directly with a member of Mr Morrison's staff.

There are now four investigations underway into the incident, in addition to the AFP inquiry, including into which staffers in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had knowledge of the assault allegation. "I started crying. I told him to stop".

She said the man offered her a lift home at the end of the night, but instead took her to Parliament House where she fell asleep in the minister's office drunk.

"This has been a challenging issue for many, many years".

"I think we've got a problem in the parliament and the workplace culture that exists there", Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Saturday. "We would be naive to think it's not a challenge that other workplaces face all around the country, but I agree the parliament should be setting the standard".

"I'm very upset about those circumstances and particularly for the young woman. that is a very distressing event", he said. As they should anyone.

Australia's Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese today described the new reports as "shocking" and "distressing".

"The idea that the Prime Minister's Office found out about this last week is simply not credible".

If you or somebody you know is experiencing sexual abuse or family violence contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, the Sexual Assault Support Services on 6231 1811 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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