Aussie PM promises probe into alleged rape in Parliament

Aussie PM promises probe into alleged rape in Parliament

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologized Tuesday to a former government staffer who alleged that she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House two years ago.

Mr Morrison became visibly emotional on Tuesday as he denounced the incident and spoke about being a father of daughters, and how he would feel if they were in the position of Ms Higgins.

"The relevant security camera footage relating to this incident was viewed by the Australian Federal Police in April 2019 and has been stored on an ongoing basis at the direction of the Presiding Officers and with the agreement of the AFP for their access as required for any investigation. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?' Jenny has a way of clarifying things", he said.

"And we have to do more, whether it's in this workplace or any other workplace in the country, to ensure that people can work safely in their place, and be at their best and do what they went into that job to do".

Called into question was Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' response to the alleged incident, which was said to have taken place inside her office. Always has. And so I've reflected on that overnight and listened to Brittany and what she had to say, ' he told reporters.

An extraordinary steam-cleaning of the office of Minister Linda Reynolds was ordered by the Department of Finance in the hours after the alleged rape of staffer Brittany Higgins.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has responded to pressure to commission an independent review into the handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints inside Parliament House.

The government initially defended its approach following the revelations Monday, saying she had been encouraged to speak to the police and told she would be supported in her decisions, though an official conceded the choice of meeting location had been a mistake.

"I have only been made aware of key elements of my own sexual assault as a result of coming forward publicly with my story", she said.

'I told him to stop.

"It felt like I immediately became sort of like a political problem.it wasn't a staffing problem, it wasn't an HR problem, wasn't a human problem". It took Brittany Higgins two years to break her silence. In the video, she asks the PM: "Shouldn't you have thought about [the allegations] as a human being?"

In a letter to Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, who called for an independent complaints body to be established for political staffers, Mr Morrison said he hoped all sides of politics would be involved in developing the review.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated he has happy for issues around the cleaning to be "fully investigated".

Ms Higgins said Ms Reynolds told her she would be supported if she pursued a police complaint, but she felt pressured not to, believing it would end her career. "I want to make sure that any young woman working in this place is as safe as possible", he vowed.

"I don't think sitting within Department of Finance with a minister still of the government of the day is really going to provide that level of confidence", Sharkie said.

He has asked Curtin MP Celia Hammond, a former university vice chancellor, to work with party whips and MPs to improve workplace standards and protect staff.

The Department of Parliamentary Services, which oversees Parliament House, said the AFP conducted enquiries into the "initial handling of the incident including whether there was any criminality identified, such as attempts to hide or interfere with a suspected crime scene".

"We all have a role to play in that".

"That should not have happened, and I do apologise", he told reporters in Canberra.

"The prime minister's announcement of an investigation into the culture in Parliament House is a welcomed first step, though it is long overdue", Higgins said.

The incident, first reported by news.com.au, has been confirmed by 9News but conflicting statements have been given by two departments.

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