Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter has demanded an investigation after fresh sexual harassment allegations were made against former High Court judge Dyson Heydon.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported claims Mr Heydon inappropriately touched a colleague when he was the royal commissioner investigating trade unions.
The newspaper did not name the woman but said she worked at the commission as an administrative assistant.
Mr Porter has told the Attorney-General’s Department to look into the report.
“I have asked my department to investigate this matter,” he told the ABC.
“I would encourage the individual, or anyone else with relevant information, to contact my department so this can occur.
“And so that appropriate support can be provided to the individual concerned.”
In a statement last week, the High Court revealed an independent investigation it commissioned had found Mr Heydon had sexually harassed six former associates.
Mr Heydon has emphatically denied any allegation of sexual harassment.
Porter: ‘Very concerning’
The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was established by the Abbott government and ran during 2014 and 2015.
Commonwealth royal commissions are administered by the Attorney-General’s Department but operate independently of the government.
The department is also responsible for matters relating to past royal commissions.
Mr Porter said matters raised in the newspaper article were “very concerning and incredibly serious”.
“No one should ever have to suffer sexual harassment at work, or in any other part of their lives,” he said.
“Until media reporting [yesterday], the allegation concerning the royal commission has not been raised with me.”
The woman quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald said she did not make a complaint.
“I never considered saying anything to management as I knew of a previous allegation that had been dismissed and covered up,” she reportedly said.
It is understood staff at the Attorney-General’s Department will review its files to check if any suggestions of misconduct were recorded at the time.
The ABC sought a response from Mr Heydon’s lawyers, Speed and Stracey.
The law firm told Nine newspapers their “client denies emphatically any allegation of sexual harassment or any offence” and “any allegation of predatory behaviour or breaches of the law is categorically denied”.