• Thu. Sep 29th, 2022

Prime Minister receives letter detailing historical sexual assault claim against cabinet minister

Feb 26, 2021

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been notified of a sexual assault allegation against a male cabinet minister. Mr Morrison was sent a letter detailing the rape allegation, which reportedly occurred in 1988 before the accused entered parliament, the ABC reports.
The letter has since been referred to the AFP.
AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw has now spoken to both South Australia and NSW Police about the matter.
Commissioner Kershaw was sent the letter by Labor Senator Penny Wong, and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
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Ms Hanson-Young told Four Corners the letter had contained “a disturbing and a very serious allegation of a criminal nature”.
It comes after Brittany Higgins came forward last week claiming she had been sexually assaulted in Parliament House.
The former Liberal staffer alleges that she was raped by a colleague in March 2019 in her boss Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’s office after a night of drinking.
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Mis Higgins says she later felt pressured not to pursue a complaint with the police.
Since Ms Higgins has come forward there has been a surge of women in Canberra who have also alleged they were sexually assaulted.
Three women have claimed they were assaulted by the same man as Ms Higgins, while others have alleged more incidents that happened at Parliament House or in public service.
On Wednesday Commissioner Kershaw wrote to Mr Morrison, warning about the risk MPs faced if they failed to report a crime to police.
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“I cannot state strongly enough the importance of timely referrals of allegations of criminal conduct,” he wrote.
“Failure to report alleged criminal behaviour in this manner, or choosing to communicate or disseminate allegations via other means, such as through the media or third parties, risks prejudicing and subsequent police investigation.”
In response Mr Morrison has ordered politicians to immediately report any potential criminal activity in the workplace to him.
The Prime Minister claims he only learnt of Ms Higgins’ allegations when news.com.au published their story, despite both his office and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton being aware of her claim days before news broke.
Mr Morrison has since announced an independent review into parliament’s workplace culture.