It was supposed to be a week completely dominated by the arrival of the vaccine.Instead, attention was partly diverted by the disclosure of an alleged rape in a parliamentary office in 2019 – which Scott Morrison says nothing about became

An angry Morrison publicly reprimanded Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds on Tuesday for failing to inform him as he tried to contain the aftermath of the explosive report by her former associate Brittany Higgins

Morrison told the house he didn’t find out about the rape allegations until early Monday, just before the Samantha Maiden story hit the news.

He did not crush any words. When asked if it was acceptable that the Secretary of Defense did not inform him or his office of a “serious crime reported”, he said, “It is not – and it should not happen again”

Higgins says she was attacked by a female colleague on the minister’s couch in March 2019 after falling into a drunken sleep when the couple returned from an event they woke up “in the middle of the rape” with the man her on

The alleged perpetrator was quickly released for the security breach, but the alleged rape was not revealed until the following days in Higgins ‘conversations with Reynolds’ acting chief of staff, Fiona Brown

Reynolds, who was Minister of Defense at the time, urged Higgins to go to the police, Higgins spoke to them but decided, concerned about her career, against filing a complaint.She worked for the government until earlier this year – later in the office of Minister Michaelia Cash

She said in interviews this week that she felt unsupported by a terrible ordeal

After saying on Monday that he was deeply concerned about Higgins’ report but had apparently tried to hold back the response On Tuesday he was in full damage control and had a lot of action

He and Jenny had talked about the matter on Monday night, he said, “And she said to me, ‘You have to think about it first as a father. What would you like to do if it were our girls?’

“Jenny has a way to sort things out – always has” So he had thought about it overnight and heard what Brittany had said

When he gave his answer as a father of girls, he immediately evoked cynicism that may or may not be the public reaction in general

Morrison said he had come to the conclusion that despite “the really good intentions” of everyone who tried to support Higgins, “what she said last night made her not feel that way at the end of the day And that’s not okay “

The cabinet had discussed the matter late Monday when the scope of the extraordinary matter sank

The Prime Minister asked Western Australian liberal backbencher Celia Hammond, a former Vice Chancellor of Notre Dame University, “to identify ways in which standards, expectations and practices in the parliamentary workplace can be further improved”

He also asked Stephanie Foster, an assistant secretary for his department, to advise him on better processes “to assist people with incidents of this type”

He was even open to Anthony Albanese’s suggestion that the House of Parliament’s “workplace culture” be scrutinized by a “respected Australian” We’ll see if that goes anywhere

There was a lot of “worry” about Higgins too, particularly because she was called to a meeting at the office with his couch where the alleged rape took place

In the Senate, Reynolds apologized unreservedly. Reynolds said she thought at the time she and Brown did everything possible to support Higgins, but she had clearly felt unsupported, “At all times, it was my intention and goal to to strengthen Brittany and let her determine the course of her own situation, “she said

Controversy swirled around what and when the Prime Minister’s staff knew Brown, who had worked in the Prime Minister’s office before serving as COS of Reynolds and later retired, obviously knew everything, but since the incident appeared to be in the past, thought she apparently failed to mention the rape charge

Higgins alleged that Morrison’s senior private secretary, Yaron Finkelstein, looked after her well-being at the time of the ABC Four Corners program last year and reported sexual misconduct by ministers. To have made contact

Morrison’s office said his involvement in the Higgins matter at the time was only related to the security breach

The Prime Minister’s Blitz on Tuesday included a speech ahead of the ruling parties’ meeting, “We have to do better. We cannot have an environment where someone feels insecure at work or a young woman is left in a vulnerable situation,” said Morrison his troops

He’s not the first Prime Minister to have recently denounced bad behavior in this privileged workplace. Remember Malcolm Turnbull’s “Bonk Ban” and a number of women have highlighted behaviors that would not be tolerated anywhere else

The rape allegations, however, have shaken people because they take things to another level – if proven, a criminal

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced two new initiatives to better support women in politics following allegations of rape by a Liberal Party official

Meanwhile, Higgins said in a statement that Morrison’s announcement of an investigation “into the culture of Parliament is a welcome first step, even though it is long overdue” She asked for privacy and said she would not make any further comments

The fallout from the cluster bomb she dropped – in terms of the media, a highly organized operation with a range of information circulated to news organizations – has wounded Reynolds (who previously mentioned bad behavior) and Morrison in the heat driven

Perhaps this will mean another step towards a parliament building where the standards of behavior required by residents are similar to those observed in the outside world

But what will happen to the alleged rapist? That depends on Higgins filing a formal complaint with the police, a course that is open to her

Michelle Grattan is a professor at the University of Canberra and political correspondent for The Conversation, where this article first appeared

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World News – AU – Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations have shaken people for taking things to another level