Woman raped in Australian parliament, PM apologises

WION Web Team
Sydney, Australia Published: Feb 16, 2021, 01:15 PM(IST)

Australian PM Scott Morrison Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The apology came after a former Australian government staffer has said she was raped in a government minister's office in the parliament

Australia has yet another problem at hand, a rape scandal, and the Prime Minister has had to issue an apology.

The apology came after a former Australian government staffer has said she was raped in a government minister's office in the parliament. She also accused that she was not helped by her bosses even after coming forward.

This has prompted an apology from the Prime Minister. "That should not have happened. And I do apologise," he told local reporters. "There should not be an environment where a young woman can find herself in such a vulnerable situation. That is not OK."

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Brittany Higgins had alleged that after a night out drinking with conservative Liberal Party colleagues, she was sexually assaulted by one of her male colleagues in the now-Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' office. The incident which happened in 2019 was, as per Higgings, reported to her superior. However, she was then asked to attend a formal employment meeting in that very room.

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She says she was forced to choose between filing a police complaint and her "dream job" at the age of 24.

Higgins' accusation has highlighted the mistreatment of women in the country's political environment, which is believed to be on an alarming rise. Women in politics are also increasingly being subjected to bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct.

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While the government, at first, tried to claim they had provided full support to the victim, an official later admitted that the choice of room for the meeting was a huge mistake. Higgins, on the other hand, claims she felt like a "political problem" that needed to be solved and claimed her bosses were highly "uncomfortable" if she brought up the tragedy.

Along with an apology, the Prime Minister also ordered an investigation into such inhumane treatment of women in Parliament in the country. 

This was appreciated by Higgins. "The Prime Minister's announcement of an investigation into the culture in Parliament House is a welcomed first-step, though it is long overdue," she said.

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