Cabinet Minister expected to speak Wednesday about historical allegation of rape

Marco Green
March 3, 2021

But the troubles for the Prime Minister have since worsened following the airing of fresh claims about an alleged rape by a Cabinet minister of a 16-year-old girl.

Australian police have closed a rape investigation into a cabinet minister.

Morrison said he had been briefed on the letter and spoken to the minister last Wednesday.

The woman went to NSW police previous year, but the investigation was suspended when she took her own life in Adelaide in June 2020 after telling authorities she didn't want to proceed.

The woman took her own life a year ago.

Several opposition lawmakers said late last week they received a letter detailing an allegation of rape by a male cabinet minister before he entered parliament.

Morrison said he forwarded the letter to police and discussed the allegation with the federal police commissioner.

"Failing to take parliamentary action because the NSW Police can not take criminal action [due to the complainant's death] would seem like wilful blindness".

Some within the government argue that because the complainant is dead, her allegation was no longer under official police investigation because a conviction was unlikely.

Labor's Senate leader Penny Wong, who also received the documents, said she disclosed the allegation "to help keep people safe and save lives in the future", while Hanson-Young called the claims "disturbing" and of a "criminal nature".

"It is just not right to suggest that this type of allegation could linger, hang over the heads of the entire Cabinet", she told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Simply leaving it lingering there does not resolve the issue and creates a serious problem for this government of integrity and trust".

The complainant died by suicide in 2020.

"NSW Police have since sought legal advice in relation to these matters", police said in a statement.

"I don't personally see how he could continue to serve as a Cabinet minister with this hanging over his head", Bradley added.

The allegation comes as Morrison's government is under public pressure after three former staff members of his ruling Liberal party said they had been raped by an unidentified colleague.

Brittany Higgins quit her job in January and reactivated her complaint to police after initially not pursuing the case because she felt it would have affected her employment.

"There will be considerable damage to community perceptions of justice. and the parliament when this story becomes public if it is simultaneously revealed that senior people (like yourselves) were aware of the accusation but had done nothing.", it read.

The letter alleged a woman was raped at the age of 16 in 1988 by a man who now sits as a minister in the federal government.

Another woman alleged the man molested her ahead of the 2016 election, and another woman accused him of reaching under a table and touching her leg in 2017.

The lawyers also questioned why the prime minister had accepted the minister's denial at face value without investigating further.

Mr Turnbull, who exchanged correspondence with the woman in 2019 about her allegations, is calling for a coronial inquest into her death.

"Based on information provided to NSW Police, there is insufficient admissible evidence to proceed", the statement said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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