Aus PM Apologises to Woman Who Alleged She Was Raped in Parliament

Higgins, 26, said she was raped in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019 by a colleague.

2 min read
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday, 16 February, apologised to a former political adviser who alleged that she was raped by an unnamed senior colleague in the country’s parliament, reported Reuters.

He also assured a thorough investigation into the matter as well as into the government's workplace culture.

Brittany Higgins, 26, while speaking at a TV interview on Monday, said that she had been raped in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019 by a colleague who also worked for Morrison's ruling Liberal party. She further said that she had very little support from her bosses and feared losing her job after the incident, reported BBC News.

Higgins reportedly spoke with the police after the incident took place but decided not to make a formal complaint due to her career prospects. As per Reuters, police also confirmed that the complainant had spoken to them in April 2019, but she chose not to make a formal complaint.

Higgins further added that she informed the senior staff in Reynolds' office about the alleged attack after which she was asked to attend a meeting in the office where she says she was assaulted, reported Reuters.

On Monday, Linda Reynolds while confirming she had been told of the complaint last year, denied that Higgins was pressurised against making a formal police complaint.

While apologising to Higgins, Morrison said "that should not have happened, and I do apologise. I want to make sure any young woman working in this place is as safe as possible," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Morrison further told Reuters that he has appointed the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet official Stephanie Foster to deal with workplace complaints. Along with her, a backbench lawmaker will also investigate workplace culture.

(With inputs from BBC News & Reuters)

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