Rape crisis spreads with allegation against Labor MP

 

The ALP has been drawn into fresh scrutiny over the treatment of women in politics after Senator Sarah Henderson revealed she has referred a complaint to police from a woman who alleges she was raped by a man who is now a Labor MP.

Senator Henderson yesterday issued a statement saying she had forwarded to police an email from a woman "alleging she had been raped by a man who is a Federal Labor Member of Parliament".

Senator Sarah Henderson announced that she had forwarded the complaint to police. Picture Kym Smith
Senator Sarah Henderson announced that she had forwarded the complaint to police. Picture Kym Smith

It is understood the claims relate to historical charges which Victorian police declined to pursue some years ago. Sky News reported a similar letter had been sent to Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek.

"Thank you for writing to me. I take any allegation of assault very seriously … I understand that you have brought your allegations to Victorian police in 2013, and that they have investigated it and decided not to proceed", Ms Plibersek's reply read in part, as reported on Sky News.

"If you believe your complaint has been mishandled and the relevant avenues have not been pursued I'd encourage you to contact the Victorian police conduct unit," she continued.

It comes as the ABC's Four Corners program was slammed for its treatment of the case of a deceased woman who claimed she was raped by a man who is now a serving member of the Morrison government.

Dhanya Mani. Photographer: Adam Yip
Dhanya Mani. Photographer: Adam Yip

Dhanya Mani, the late woman's best friend, revealed her disgust at the way the case had been handled by the national broadcaster.

"As someone who knew how the woman wanted for her story to be told one day, as we discussed it often, coverage … that dehumanises her and reduces her to her death & details of the crime WAS NOT IT. She wanted empowerment. To be seen. This is deplorable," she wrote on social media

Later, speaking to Sharri Markson on Sky News, Ms Mani was scathing of the ABC and Four Corners.

Anthony Albanese has called on Scott Morrison to ensure the historical rape claims against a cabinet minister are properly investigated. Picture: Annette Dew
Anthony Albanese has called on Scott Morrison to ensure the historical rape claims against a cabinet minister are properly investigated. Picture: Annette Dew

"She wanted to be an advocate … and that's the exact reason that this can't be politicised and run for other peoples' agendas", Ms Mani said. "She so strongly believed in her own convictions and values and wanted this to be honoured."

According to Ms Mani, the woman's parents specifically asked Four Corners not to proceed, but they were fobbed off.

"I think it's also important to note that in preliminary and initial stages of Four Corners looking into this story they specifically excluded the family," she said.

It comes as Labor leader Anthony Albanese called on Scott Morrison to ensure a historical rape claim made against one of his ministers was properly investigated to avoid a "dark cloud" hanging over his government.

Originally published as Rape crisis spreads with allegation against Labor MP