Australia Fresh rape allegation relating to minister
Scott Morrison, senators and AFP told of historical rape allegation against Cabinet Minister
The AFP have been notified after Prime Minister Scott Morrison and two senators received a letter detailing an allegation of historical rape against a Cabinet Minister.The letter requests urgent action be taken by the Prime Minister to investigate the alleged rape, which occurred in 1988 before the accused man entered politics.
A letter has been sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison alleging a 1988 rape by a current cabinet minister.
The letter, relating to a woman who is no longer alive, was also addressed to Labor's leader in the Senate Penny Wong and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
It comes with a detailed statement prepared by the complainant for her lawyer, ABC's Four Corners has reported.
A spokesperson for Mr Morrison on Friday evening said any allegations should be referred to the Australian Federal Police.
Anthony Albanese calls for 'common decency' to prevail as letter's historic rape claim hangs over Cabinet
Labor leader Anthony Albanese says the Prime Minister must weigh up whether it is appropriate for the Minister at the centre of a historic rape allegation to remain in Cabinet. Australian Federal Police were notified about a historic rape allegation against a member of Cabinet when a letter was sent to the AFP, as well as to the offices of the Prime Minister, Labor's Senate Leader Penny Wong and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.The letter requested urgent action be taken by the Prime Minister to investigate the alleged incident, which is alleged to have occurred in 1988, before the man entered politics.
"As per the AFP Commissioner's instruction, any complaints or allegations of this nature made to anybody - whether they're parliamentarians or journalists - should be referred to the AFP," the statement said.
As outlined in an Australian Federal Police letter to parliamentarians on Thursday, "reporting to the police is the way to ensure any alleged crimes are properly investigated", the spokesperson said.
Senator Hanson-Young said the information she had received regarded a "disturbing and a very serious allegation of a criminal nature against a senior member of the government".
She said she referred the letter to the AFP commissioner on Friday.
Senator Wong said it was her understanding the complainant, who was 16 at the time of the alleged attack in Sydney, reported the assault to NSW Police and South Australia Police.
Former PM Malcolm Turnbull says Minister involved in historical rape allegation should 'front up' amid calls for independent inquiry
The historical rape allegation against a Cabinet Minister is posing an existential threat to the Morrison government — and former PM Malcolm Turnbull says the man at the centre of it all should come forward.His comments come amid growing calls for an independent inquiry into the matter and as confusion reigns about whether a police investigation or coronial inquest into the subsequent death of the woman involved will go ahead.
Ms Wong said she had forwarded the letter to both police forces as well as the Australian Federal Police to assist with any investigations.
"I have also written to the Prime Minister and Senator Hanson-Young to outline the steps I have taken following receipt of this anonymous letter," she said.
"It is my hope that appropriate action is taken to examine the allegation."
Four Corners says the woman reported the alleged rape to NSW police in February 2020, but took her own life in June after informing them she no longer wanted to proceed with the complaint.
The explosive revelations come a fortnight after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins's rape allegation engulfed parliamentary sittings, prompting Australia's major political parties to back a cultural overhaul.
The Morrison government has been under intense pressure over its response to the 2019 incident, in which Ms Higgins alleges she was sexually assaulted by a former colleague in Parliament House.
‘Presumption of innocence’, ‘matter for the police’, ‘rule of law’ — politispeak rules, OK
Scott Morrison's 'matter for police' deflection gives his government a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to snowballing allegations of sexual assault.“It’s a matter for the Australian Federal Police,” he said. “We can’t have a situation where the mere making of an allegation is grounds for governments to stand people down simply on the basis of that.
There are four inquiries under way including a multi-party investigation aimed at ensuring parliament is a safe working environment.
That will take in reviews of culture around the treatment of women in the Liberals and Nationals.
Labor's national executive on Friday adopted a code of conduct and three policies dealing with sexual harassment prevention and response, harassment and bullying, and complaints handling.
The party's working group on the issue will report back in June on feedback from members, proposals for additional training and support, and a "roadmap" to harmonise policies and procedures across all state and territory branches.
Labor MP Sharon Claydon, who chairs the group that has drafted the new policies, raised the prospect of having an independent third party investigate allegations about the party.
"There is I still think room for a broader discussion in Labor about whether there are times where you would want to also engage a complete independent outside source," she told the ABC.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne discussed the issue with members of the Liberal Women's Council of NSW in an online forum on Thursday.
Ms Higgins is pushing for change after feeling she wasn't supported when she first made the allegation, leading to her withdrawing her police complaint out of fear for her job.
She reinstated the complaint on Wednesday and an investigation is under way.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds was released from hospital on Friday after being admitted on advice of her cardiologist.
Senator Reynolds, who was Ms Higgins' boss at the time of the incident, was under extreme scrutiny about her handling of the complaint.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton defended referring to details of Ms Higgins' case as "she said, he said" earlier in the week.
He said he was pointing out that police hear different evidence before deciding whether a prosecution would take place.
"That is not to detract from a victim, not to detract from the seriousness of this matter," Mr Dutton told the Nine Network.
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Sexual assault counsellor says Christian Porter's accuser told her of alleged rape eight years ago .
A sexual assault counsellor has told Four Corners the woman who accused Christian Porter of rape saw her about six times and spoke of the alleged assault.Four Corners has been told that the woman first sought help from the counsellor in about 2013 and saw her about six times. The rape is alleged to have occurred in 1988.