Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been notified of a sexual assault allegation against a male minister.
Mr Morrison was sent a letter detailing the rape allegation, which reportedly occurred in 1988 before the accused entered parliament, the ABC reports.
The letter has since been referred to the Australian Federal Police, who said in a statement to news.com.au that they “will not be commenting on this matter”.
AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw has now spoken to both South Australia and NSW Police about the letter.
Commissioner Kershaw was sent the letter by Labor Senator Penny Wong, and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Senator Hanson-Young said in a statement that the letter had contained “a disturbing and a very serious allegation of a criminal nature”.
Senator Wong said in a statement that she had forwarded the letter to NSW Police, South Australia Police and the AFP “to assist in any investigations which may be underway.”
“I have also written to the Prime Minister and Senator Hanson-Young to outline the steps I have taken following receipt of this anonymous letter,” she added. “It is my hope that appropriate action is taken to examine the allegation.”
NSW Police said in a statement sent to news.com.au that the correspondence “relates to a report of alleged historic sexual violence received by the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad in February 2020.”
Detectives began an investigation at the time, known as Strike Force Wyndarra. The woman did not provide a formal statement to police and on June 24, investigators were told that the 49-year-old had been found dead at a home at Adelaide by South Australia Police, and the investigation was suspended.
South Australia Police are preparing a report for the Coroner.
“NSW Police understand that reporting sexual assault can be distressing and traumatic for victims — and it is always the choice of an individual whether to proceed with an investigation or not,” said the NSW Police statement.
The news comes after Brittany Higgins came forward last week claiming she had been sexually assaulted in Parliament House.
The former Liberal staffer alleges that she was raped by a colleague in March 2019 in her boss Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’s office after a night of drinking.
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Ms Higgins says she later felt pressured not to pursue a complaint with the police.
Since Ms Higgins has come forward there has been a surge of women in Canberra who have also alleged they were sexually assaulted.
Three women have claimed they were assaulted by the same man as Ms Higgins, while others made allegations about other incidents that happened at Parliament House or in public service.
On Wednesday Commissioner Kershaw wrote to Mr Morrison, warning about the risk MPs faced if they failed to report a crime to police.
“I cannot state strongly enough the importance of timely referrals of allegations of criminal conduct,” he wrote.
“Failure to report alleged criminal behaviour in this manner, or choosing to communicate or disseminate allegations via other means, such as through the media or third parties, risks prejudicing and subsequent police investigation.”
In response Mr Morrison has ordered politicians to immediately report any potential criminal activity in the workplace to him.
The Prime Minister claims he only learnt of Ms Higgins’ allegations when news.com.au published the story, despite both his office and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton being aware of her claim days before news broke.
Mr Morrison has since announced an independent review into Parliament’s workplace culture.