Scott Morrison grilled over Parliament house rape complaint, investigation launched

Scott Morrison has offered a personal apology to Brittany Higgins over her alleged rape at Parliament House, revealing his wife urged him to take stronger action.

The Prime Minister has announced he will establish an investigation into workplace culture at Parliament House.

He’s also revealed that his own wife Jenny Morrison urged him to think about the issue as a father of two daughters.

“Jenny and I spoke last night, and she said to me, ‘You have to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?’

“Jenny has a way of clarifying things. Always has. And so as I’ve reflected on that overnight and listened to Brittany and what she had to say, there are a couple of things here we need to address.

“The first of those is it shatters me that still, in this day and age, that a young woman can find herself in the vulnerable situation that she was in. Not her doing. And we have to do more, whether it’s in this workplace or any other workplace in the country, to ensure that people can work safely in their workplace and be at their best and do what they went into that job to do.

Brittany talked about it being her dream job. We are all privileged — whether it’s members of Parliament, the people who work in our offices, indeed, those who work in the Gallery and get to do what we do in this place — it is a privilege.

“And we should be able to go about that important work safely. 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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It occurred in the early hours of March 23, 2019, just weeks before Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the election on April 10, 2019.

Ms Higgins was just 24 at the time of the incident and only months into her “dream job” of working at parliament.

After a night of drinking with colleagues, she alleges she was assaulted in her own office by another Liberal staffer who she says was regarded as a “rising star” in the party.

She remembers the man buying “lots of rounds of drinks” at the event before it was suggested he lived in the same direction and his taxi could drop her home on the way.

Instead, he took her to Parliament House, where the Liberal staffer signed her in as she didn’t have her security pass.

She began to feel unwell and lay down on the couch. It was then she claims she woke up to the Liberal staffer having sex with her.

Mr Morrison said he would identify ways to improve standards.

“There are a number of things we can do immediately, and I’ll be speaking (about) this in our party room today,” he said.

“The first of those is we must continue to address the environment of this place (Parliament House). Now, I believe over the last few years, since this occurred, there have been changes and there have been improvements. But I’m not naive enough to think — and I don’t think any of you are, or anyone else in this place is naive enough to think — that that is not a position of vulnerability that can still occur, whether it’s here or, frankly, in so many other workplaces around this country.

“So, I hope Brittany’s call is a wake-up for all of us from that point of view.”

The Prime Minister also revealed he was not happy to discover that the Defence Minister Linda Reynolds had not told him about the alleged rape for two years.

Mr Morrison said he was distressed to hear Ms Higgins account of being traumatised when she came through security at Parliament House because of her memories of the incident.

The Prime Minister said he could understand that and he was upset by it.

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