Acting Opposition Leader Penny Wong is calling for an investigation into the leaking of a photo of the female diplomat who filed a complaint against Liberal MP Jamie Briggs.
Mr Briggs, the former cities and built environment minister, resigned from his portfolio last week after a late night incident involving the staffer in a Hong Kong bar during an official visit in December.
A photo of the woman involved — reportedly taken by Mr Briggs and shared with colleagues before and after the incident — was later leaked to the media and published in a pixelated form.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has expressed concerns for the woman’s privacy, but Senator Wong said action was needed.
She told the ABC that the statement issued by Mr Turnbull yesterday was an insufficient response.
“He’s refused thus far to front up and answer questions about his ministers’ conduct and I think it is a disappointing display of weakness,” she said.
“Mr Briggs has conceded that he sent this photograph to his colleagues.
“He denies providing it to The Australian, so one of his colleagues must have.
“I think the more important question for Mr Turnbull is what action is he taking as the leader of the party and the Prime Minister to find out who received this photo and who provided it to the media?”
Privacy of diplomat must be protected: Turnbull
In a statement provided to the ABC yesterday, Mr Turnbull said that he had sought to “ensure the privacy of the public servant concerned” was protected.
“Publishing the identity of a complainant in a case like this not only infringes their privacy, it serves actively to discourage other women who are concerned about the conduct of a superior from raising a complaint in the future.
“I urge all parties to respect the public servant’s privacy.”
Mr Turnbull also commented on a text message, mistakenly sent by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to a reporter, referring to coverage of the incident involving Mr Briggs.
Mr Dutton called The Sunday Telegraph’s political editor Samantha Maiden a “mad f**king witch” in a text allegedly meant for Mr Briggs.
The Immigration Minister confirmed he sent the text and said he apologised immediately.
Mr Turnbull stated that “I advised the Minister [on Sunday], his language was clearly inappropriate as he recognised by apologising immediately to Ms Maiden”.