Two more federal MPs – one Liberal and one Labor – have revealed they were aware of a historical rape allegation made against a cabinet minister before it became public on Friday.
Labor MP Daniel Mulino told the ABC he was contacted by the alleged victim in December 2019.
She was Dr Mulino’s friend.
“She indicated to me that she was determined to proceed with a formal complaint and I supported her in that decision,” he said.
“I ensured that the complainant was receiving appropriate support. I am greatly saddened by the death of my friend. I know that this has been a devastating period for the woman’s family and close friends. My thoughts are with them.”
Dr Mulino said he had told the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police and South Australian Police he was willing to assist with any investigation.
Labor senator Penny Wong and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull were also contacted late in 2019 by the woman.
Neither spoke to police at the time because the alleged victim made it clear she was already speaking to police.
The woman went to New South Wales Police in 2020 but the investigation was suspended when she took her own life on June 24, 2020. The day before, she had told police she no longer wanted to proceed with the investigation.
South Australian Police are preparing a report into her death for the coroner.
Allegation aired following letter
A 31-page dossier outlining the allegation was sent by express post to the offices of the Prime Minister, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Senator Wong on Wednesday.
The ABC understands the AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw also received the correspondence but by email earlier that day.
The ABC has confirmed that Celia Hammond, a WA Liberal MP, was also sent the 31-page dossier.
This is presumably because she had been asked by the Prime Minister to lead an inquiry into the Liberal Party’s workplace culture, only for it to be rolled into a broader independent investigation.
“I received a copy of the correspondence on Wednesday,” Ms Hammond told the ABC.
“I gave it to the Australian Federal Police on Wednesday afternoon and I alerted the Prime Minister’s Office.”
The Prime Minister’s Office has not responded to questions about when it alerted the police about the letter, but a statement from a spokesman said reporting to the police ensured that any alleged crimes were properly investigated.
“As per the AFP Commissioner’s instruction, any complaints or allegations of this nature made to anybody – whether they’re parliamentarians or journalists – should be referred to the AFP,” the spokesman said.
Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Wong did not open the envelope until Friday morning.
AFP sent another email containing an allegation
An allegation of rape against another federal politician has also been sent to the AFP.
Liberal senator Sarah Henderson and Senator Hanson-Young confirmed they both received an email from a woman, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a man who is now a federal Labor MP.
In a statement, Senator Henderson said she sent the details to police.
“In immediately referring this matter to the AFP, I have followed the procedures set out by Commissioner Kershaw in his letter of 24 February, 2021,” the statement said.
A Labor spokesperson said the appropriate action had been taken.
“The Australian Labor Party has seen media reports that Senator Henderson has received an allegation of sexual assault and has referred any relevant correspondence to authorities as is appropriate,” the spokesperson said.