Liberal party staffer Brittany Higgins, who has made shocking claims that she was raped in the defence industry minister's office in Parliament House in March 2019.
Brittany Higgins has alleged a male colleague raped her inside the ministerial office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019. The alleged crime was reported in the media this week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said no one in his office knew about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, but newly released text messages appear to show that the Prime Minister's Office was made aware of the incident in 2019.
"Like everybody in this building, I stand, I still stand, ready to assist Brittany in any way that I can, and this begins and ends by allowing Brittany to guide this process, respecting her privacy and respecting the integrity of what is now a police investigation, " Senator Reynolds said.
"She has indicated that she intends to pursue her complaint with the Australian Federal Police, and all of these matters go to the heart of that inquiry". "I didn't know that they debated calling an ambulance at the time of the incident".
Ms Higgins said she is also determined to "drive significant reform" into how Parliament House handles such issues, and how it treats ministerial and parliamentary staff.
"I expect a truly independent investigation into how my matter was handled inside the government including offices where I worked, and other offices and parties that had knowledge of my circumstances", she said.
"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".
The AFP has been approached for comment.
Ms Higgins later moved to the office of Employment Minister Michaelia Cash's office, with Ms Cash's office claiming it only recently found out the specifics of the alleged rape, news.com.au reports.
Ms Higgins said she was also shocked to learn new details of the night in question from media reporting.
Ms Higgins has said the Morrison Government has "questions to answer" over its conduct.
Mr Morrison denied he had misled the public and maintains he is horrified by the allegations.
Ms Higgins said while the past week has been a "difficult and trying" time for her and her loved ones, she now "has [her] voice".
Asked about the text messages by reporters on Friday, Morrison remained adamant that his office did not find out about the alleged rape until February 12 of this year, the weekend before News.com.au first published the allegation, but added that "if there was anything different here, I would like to know".
Ms Higgins said she expects "a voice" in framing the scope and terms of reference for the review into conditions for staff, saying it is crucial real change is achieved.
Ms Higgins said today that it was time the Government was held to account.
"In relation to my [staff member], there is nothing that has been put in front of me, nothing, including phone records or anything else that suggests that that indeed was the case", Morrison said on Tuesday, adding Gaetjens had been instructed to investigate the phone records of that particular staff member.
'It's just incomprehensible that the prime minister's office, given a reported sexual assault had occurred 50 metres from his office, wouldn't have then had a discussion about handling the issue, ' he told the ABC.
"It just doesn't stack up".
If you or somebody you know is experiencing sexual abuse or family violence contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, the Sexual Assault Support Services on 6231 1811 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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