Australian prime minister under pressure over rape clash

WORLD NEWS

After an Australian government employee was apparently raped in the parliament building, there are massive criticisms of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. It still seems unclear when he knew what himself.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is coming under increasing pressure over a rape scandal in parliament. A former government official accused the government on Wednesday of making sensitive details of her rape case public without her consent. The Prime Minister’s “persistent rhetoric of victim accusation” was “appalling,” Brittany Higgins told local media.

The 26-year-old was raped by a colleague in the office of the current Defense Minister Linda Reynolds in the parliament building in 2019. When the now 26-year-old reported the incident to her superiors, she felt like a “political problem” that had to be solved. She felt pressured to choose between her career and an ad.

When did Morrison know about the case?

Morrison initially defended the government’s response to the case, but then apologized on Tuesday. New questions arose on Wednesday about how much the Prime Minister knew about the incident and when. Morrison said he only found out about it five days ago.

It has now been announced that the employee who was handling Higgins’ complaint at the time is now working in Morrison’s office. Higgins also said that an employee of the Prime Minister had called her late last year about the matter.

Turnbull: “A Complete System Failure”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who belongs to the liberal-conservative ruling party, described it as “inconceivable” that the case should not have been discussed at a higher level. “It is very, very difficult to believe that the prime minister’s office was not aware of this incident,” he told public broadcaster ABC. If so, it would be “a complete failure of the system”.

The opposition Labor Party called for Reynolds to resign. “If a minister in my cabinet had withheld information from me, then she would no longer be in office,” said party leader Anthony Albanese on Sky News.

Australian politics has been shaken several times in recent years by scandals over bullying and sexual harassment of women. Critics speak of a “toxic” working atmosphere in parliament. The ruling conservative coalition was also accused of having a “women’s problem”.

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