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Morrison denies knowing about alleged rape two years ago

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied knowing about the alleged rape of staffer Brittany Higgins in 2019.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied knowing about the alleged rape of staffer Brittany Higgins in 2019.

Mr Morrison denied misleading the Australian public after a series of text messages emerged that appeared to show his office was told of the rape soon after it allegedly took place.

"I have sought to be as open and honest as I can be about this matter," he said.

"I have told you everything I know about this matter."

READ MORE: Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins says review 'long overdue'

Brittany Higgins.

The text messages were between Ms Higgins and another Liberal Party staffer in early April of 2019, soon after the alleged rape took place.

In the texts, the male staffer wrote that he spoke to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

"He was mortified to hear about it and how things have been handled," the man's text message said.

"He's going to discuss with COS (chief-of-staff) – no-one else."

It is not clear who the "he" is in the text messages.

The prime minister said the reports from this morning would be part of an internal review into the handling of the alleged rape.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he was told of the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins on Monday.

"I set out in the parliament this week the timetable of when I am advised my office knew about it," he said.

"I knew about it on Monday.

"It shattered me. It absolutely shattered me."

Mr Morrison said he has been listening to the issues raised over the alleged sexual assault, and is seeking to "address them in the best possible way I can".

"We have to deal with issues of culture which I'm sure you would agree are not confined to the offices of parliamentarians," he said.

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"This is an issue that every workplace deals with.

"I have no doubt it occurs in the media workplaces, offices in law professions or whatever it might be."

Brittany Higgins on her first day working at Parliament House in Canberra.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Morrison's explanation "doesn't pass the pub test".

"It's not credible that the prime minister continues to say that his office only found out about it this week," Mr Albanese said.

"And the dissembling nature of his answers before the Parliament are not good enough."

Mr Albanese said Ms Higgins deserves better than the way she was treated by the government this week.

"For her to not get the respect of getting straight and clear answers about what the response was at the time, about who was told and what they were told at the time, is disrespectful of Ms Higgins," he said.

"I believe Brittany Higgins."

Tears stream down the face of Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra today. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Ms Higgins alleges that she was taken into the office of then-Defence Industry Minister and current Defence Minister Linda Reynolds by a government staffer when she was drunk and then raped.

Hours after security guards found Ms Higgins in a state of undress, the office was steam-cleaned.

Security guards considered calling an ambulance for her when she was found.

Days later Ms Higgins was called into a meeting with Senator Reynolds to discuss the alleged rape in the same room.

Ms Higgins is considering pressing charges against the alleged rapist.

The alleged rape took place little more than a month before the 2019 federal election.

Former government staffer alleges she was raped inside Parliament House

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/brittany-higgins-alleged-rape-scott-morrison-parliament-house-2019-australian-politics-auspol/8e14bfb3-3a36-44e0-8b3a-8269c6359838

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