A federal Labor MP has been accused of rape in a new email sent to a Liberal senator and forwarded to the Australian Federal Police, intensifying claims on both sides of politics about sexual assault.
Victorian Liberal senator Sarah Henderson said a woman sent her the email on Sunday alleging the rape by a man who is now a Labor MP in federal Parliament.
Liberal senator Sarah Henderson.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
The email comes after an anonymous letter on Friday about an alleged rape in 1988 by a man who is now in federal cabinet, which followed two weeks of debate over allegations by former Liberal adviser Brittany Higgins that she was raped by a colleague in a federal minister’s office.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese was aware of Senator Henderson’s claim but his office said he did not receive the email.
Senator Henderson would not name the Labor MP concerned and responded to questions by referring to a written statement she issued shortly before 6pm on Sunday.
“Late this afternoon, I forwarded to the Australian Federal Police an email I received this afternoon from a woman alleging she had been raped by a man who is now a federal Labor member of Parliament,” she said.
Senator Henderson cited advice from Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw telling MPs to go to police with any allegations of sexual assault.
“In immediately referring this matter to the AFP, I have followed procedures set out by Commissioner Kershaw in his letter of 24 February 2021,” she said. “I make this statement in the interests of full transparency.”
Mr Albanese’s office said it had not received the email on Sunday nor in recent days.
“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.
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