Woman alleges rape in Australian parliament

'These events sicken me': PM responds to new sexual assault allegations against Liberal staffer accused of raping Brittany Higgins

A Second Woman Has Alleged She Was Sexually Assaulted By The Same Staffer As Brittany Higgins

The woman, who spoke with The Australian on a condition of anonymity, alleged she was sexually assaulted late previous year by the same former government advisor accused of abusing former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.

Ms Reynolds says Ms Higgins was not pressured against making an official complaint.

The woman argues that if the government had adequately dealt with the incident involving Ms Higgins in 2019, she would not have become a victim.

But on Friday, Ms Higgins announced she had "re-engaged" with the Australian Federal Police and would proceed with a formal complaint.

The second woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by the man in 2020, after he had been sacked following Ms Higgins's allegations and while he was working in the private sector.

Ms Higgins' allegations came after former lawmakers from the Liberal Party complained about workplace bullying in Parliament.

"We've got our issues to deal with as a parliament, and we're saying we do", he said.

"Too often, a toxic workplace culture can emerge that enables inappropriate conduct and this is exacerbated by the disparity in the power dynamics".

The second alleged attack occurred at the woman's home after the two had been out for dinner, she was quoted as saying.

Reuters was not able to reach the second woman or the man.

"And that she was discouraged from it and in her own words, that the reported sexual assault was seen as a "political problem" as opposed to a crime against Ms Higgins that needed to be dealt with".

Higgins told ABC she was raped by an unnamed colleague who also worked for Morrison's ruling Liberal party and that she would lodge a formal complaint to open a police investigation.

"I believe that getting to the bottom of what happened to me and how the system failed me is critical to creating a new framework for political staff that ensures genuine cultural change and restores the trust of staff".

Explosive text messages have cast serious doubt over when the prime minister's office first knew about the alleged rape.

Ms Higgins has urged for a "comprehensive investigation".

Mr Morrison said he made his views known to his staff for keeping him in the dark "very candidly" last Monday.

"If there was anything different here, I would like to know", he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Morrison called the allegation "a wake-up call" for the treatment of women in the parliament.

"That never existed before".

"We would be naive to think it's not a challenge that other workplaces face all around the country, but I agree the Parliament should be setting the standard".

"These events truly do sicken me".

"Frankly there have been issues in all of these areas before".

Australia's Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese today described the new reports as "shocking" and "distressing".

Mr Albanese called on the Prime Minister to make public the internal review into his office's handling of the allegations at the time.

"The idea that the Prime Minister's Office found out about this last week is simply not credible".

Scott Morrison said he wants the culture in Parliament House to improve.

This article contains references to rape and sexual assault.

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