Australian woman to lodge police complaint over alleged rape in parliament

19 Février, 2021, 18:38 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Play Video. Duration 2 minutes 44 seconds

Brittany Higgins will make a formal complaint with the Australian Federal Police over the night in which she alleges she was raped by a colleague within Parliament House.

"Firstly, I want a comprehensive police investigation into what happened to me ... and for my perpetrator to face the full force of the law", she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said no one in his office knew about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, but newly released text messages appear to show that the Prime Minister's Office was made aware of the incident in 2019.

'The Australian Federal Police have made assurances to me that they will handle this matter thoroughly and transparently.

Brittany Higgins has alleged a male colleague raped her inside the ministerial office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019.

In the Senate, her former boss Employment Minister Michaelia Cash delivered an emotional speech describing Ms Higgins as a "valued employee".

"Political advisers have very few protections, resources and confidential reporting mechanisms to address any workplace issues", Ms Higgins said. Too often, a toxic workplace culture can emerge that enables inappropriate conduct and this is exacerbated by the disparity in the power dynamics.

"The continued victim-blaming rhetoric by the Prime Minister is personally very distressing to me and countless other survivors", she said.

The prime minister is standing by his timeline, despite Ms Higgins saying at least three of his staff had prior knowledge of the incident.

She said that from the outset of going public about her alleged rape, she had done so with the aim that no other person should go through what she had experienced.

Ms Reynolds recounted the meetings she held with Ms Higgins but did not clarify if she knew about the rape claim before holding the meeting in the same location where it allegedly occurred.

"In relation to my [staff member], there is nothing that has been put in front of me, nothing, including phone records or anything else that suggests that that indeed was the case", Morrison said on Tuesday, adding Gaetjens had been instructed to investigate the phone records of that particular staff member.

"Spoke to PMO. He was mortified to hear about it and how things have been handled", he said.

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"I flagged need for councillor [sic] and desire to be closer to home during election".

Ms Higgins referred to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's comments within parliament that she should be given "agency".

'If there was anything different here, I would like to know, ' he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

'I want to know and that is why I have asked the secretary of my department to actually test that advice that I received'.

Mr Morrison denied he had misled the public and maintains he is horrified by the allegations.

"I am also deeply sorry that some of my actions and my handling of this matter added to Brittany's distress".

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the text messages completely contradicted Mr Morrison's claim that his office wasn't informed until last week.

In her statement, Higgins said she has advised the Prime Minister's Office that she expected to have a voice in framing the scope and terms of reference for the review, ABC reported.

'It just doesn't stack up'.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters is not satisfied by an internal review into the text messages, and will push for a public inquiry into the alleged rape and response when parliament resumes next week.

In addition to an independent investigation into what happened to me, I demand a significant review into the conditions under which ministerial and parliamentary staff are employed and how we can do better.

The PM said he was "not happy" that he had not been told about the alleged sexual assault at the time.



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