The Morrison government will continue facing questions about rape allegations levelled at the attorney-general unless an independent investigation occurs, the opposition argues.
Attorney-General Christian Porter is on leave after vehemently denying allegations he raped a woman more than 30 years ago in Sydney.
The woman who made the claim took her own life last year after telling NSW Police she did not want to proceed with her complaint.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese is pushing for an independent investigation into what happened.
“The government will continue to face questions over the issue unless an independent investigation occurs,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists he has not read the allegations made by the woman, which were sent to his office by a friend of hers, before passing the information to federal police.
Neither has Mr Porter, who denied the accusations when asked by Mr Morrison.
“I find that just remarkable, frankly, that he (Mr Morrison) has listened to Mr Porter but he hasn’t bothered to listen to the woman and her written statements,” Mr Albanese said.
According to the ABC on Monday, the woman spoke to a counsellor in 2013 about being sexually assaulted in 1988 at the age of 16.
The counsellor has told the broadcaster’s Four Corners program the woman was torn about pursuing the matter because it could ruin the man’s life.
The pair reportedly talked about the positive and negative outcomes of seeking justice and whether it was worth it to take it to court.
The counsellor told the ABC the woman went away and “was going to sit on that. She obviously sat on it for about five years”.
The woman’s family support any investigation that will provide them clarity and have asked South Australian police for help to ensure their privacy is respected.
Mr Morrison has repeatedly ruled out an independent inquiry, pointing instead to the potential for a coronial inquest in SA, where the woman lived.
The Greens, crossbench MPs and senators support an inquiry.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the victim wanted the matter withdrawn and the case was closed because she had not provided a statement before dying.
“It is not impossible but almost impossible to proceed with a matter like this without the victim … the matter itself, even with the victim, probably would have struggled to get before a court,” he told 2GB radio.
Senior women ministers in the Morrison government continue to push the government’s argument that an independent investigation threatens the “rule of law”.
Minister for Women Marise Payne argues such a probe would be unprecedented.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston has made the same argument, while also marking International Women’s Day by encouraging the public to call out disrespect.
“If you see disrespectful behaviour, don’t ignore it, don’t excuse it,” she told Sky News.
Senator Ruston does not support an investigation into the allegations against Mr Porter but favours a coronial inquiry into the woman’s death.
“I think everybody will be happy if the coroner in South Australia decides to investigate,” she told the ABC.
“But we need the coroner to make those decisions that they are totally independent and they should not be influenced by anything that governments or politicians say.”