Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has apologised to a woman employee who alleged that she was raped in the country’s parliament by a colleague.
PM Morrison has promised a thorough investigation into the government’s workplace culture.
The woman said she had been raped in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019 by someone who also worked for Morrison’s ruling Liberal party.
The woman said she spoke with the police in early April of that year, but she decided against making a formal complaint amid concerns about her career prospects.
Police in the capital confirmed they had spoken to a complainant in April 2019, but she chose not to make a formal complaint.
The woman said she told senior staff in Reynolds’ office of the alleged attack. She said she was then asked to attend a meeting in the office where she says she was assaulted.
Reynolds on Monday confirmed she had been told of the complaint last year, though she denied the woman was pressured against making a police complaint.
Morrison on Tuesday apologised to the woman and promised an investigation.
“That should not have happened, and I do apologise,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra. “I want to make sure any young woman working in this place is as safe as possible.”
Morrison said he has appointed the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet official Stephanie Foster to review the process in dealing with workplace complaints, while a backbench lawmaker will investigate workplace culture.
The allegation has intensified pressure on Morrison after a series of allegations of improper behaviour towards women within the Liberal party.