Woman alleges rape in Australian parliament

21 Février, 2021, 07:04 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • 'These events sicken me': PM responds to new sexual assault allegations against Liberal staffer accused of raping Brittany Higgins

Alarm about the workplace culture at Australia's Parliament heightened on Saturday (Feb 20) amid claims that a former government adviser accused of raping a junior female colleague in the building had sexually assaulted another woman.

In an article first published last week, Ms Higgins alleged a male colleague had raped her inside the ministerial office of then-Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019.

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

She reported feeling "dismissed" following the alleged incident and opted not to take a complaint further with police because she was anxious it would impact her career.

Scott Morrison also believes the culture within Parliament House has to change as he and his government remain under scrutiny over the handling of the matter.

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

'But I've got to say, if any workplace thinks that this is just confined to the parliament, they're kidding themselves'.

In the message, the Liberal staffer said he had spoken directly with a member of Mr Morrison's staff. "The Prime Minister needs to say exactly what the real timeline is", he said, casting further doubt over Mr Morrison's recollection of when he found out about the incident.

She said Ms Higgins was courageous in coming forward after she was left to choose between seeking justice and keeping her job.

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

In a statement on Friday, Ms Higgins said: "I want a comprehensive police investigation into what happened to me. and for my perpetrator to face the full force of the law".

'No one should be made to fell like that.it's appalling'.

Addressing the Ms Higgins' and the new claims Saturday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the alleged assaults as "sickening".

"These events truly do sicken me... as they should anyone", Morrison said.

Mr Morrison has denied being aware of Ms Higgins' complaint until it made headlines on major news networks earlier this week.

She referred to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's own words that she should be given "agency" going forward, saying, "I don't believe that agency was provided to me over the past two years but I seize it now".

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

The chief executive officer of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott, argued parliament had a "pervasive culture of discourtesy, of disrespect" and "bullying".

"That culture is a cancer that gives rise to these very serious events that happen in this place and, frankly, wouldn't be tolerated in a good workplace, and shouldn't be", she told Sky News.

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