The woman was allegedly raped by the man as a teenager in 1988, prompting former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to call for an inquest into her death
Explosive emails, letters and diary entries kept by a woman who accused a Morrison Government minister of raping her have emerged.
The woman took her own life in Adelaide last June after coming forward about allegedly being sexually assaulted by the man as a teenager in 1988, prompting former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to call for an inquest into her death.
Emails the woman wrote to a friend have since been made public, where she wrote that despite hoping the man would be charged, she feared a trial would become an ’emotional bloodbath’.
‘I guess I just worry, that a trial (if one occurs) has the potential to be an emotional bloodbath, particularly for me and anyone who appears as a witness in the case,’ she wrote in correspondence obtained exclusively by news.com.au.
An investigation into the alleged rape was ended by NSW police after she died.
The emails, written in 2019, also revealed the woman had meticulously kept evidence pertaining to the alleged rape.
‘I’ve also been wondering about the evidence. I have a lot of corroborative material, which I’ve included in the appendices of the account I will send you shortly. Most of it comes from my diaries, journals and scrapbooks. These were created in the 1980s-90s,’ she wrote.
‘Obviously, the items about (redacted) are crucial. There are other entries, which refer to other people. I have their permission to include them (I have this weird hang up, about consent). But some of the other entries are extremely personal (well, all of them are, of course, as I wrote them for myself alone, using my diary as a confidante).
The woman said that certain parts of Adelaide triggered bad memories for her.
Labor senator Penny Wong (pictured) received a letter about the alleged 1988 rape by a now senior federal government minister
‘Being in Adelaide has also had its moments. I have taken photos of two key locations: a former T-shirt shop in Hindley, where (redacted) bought a tank top, and the hotel we were all in staying in 1986, when we first met. These are also described and documented in the account. However, I found this very hard to do, revisit those sites,’ she said.
‘This prompted me to go to the local police. I have had 2 informal, off-the-record conversations with SA CIB (Grenfell St station, the main one in Adelaide’s CBD). I told them what had happened to me in 1988, and who the perpetrator was/is.’
‘They have reassured me that: 1) I need not report, they would understand. 2) They take these matters extremely seriously, I could report in SA (which I did not know) and it will be investigated. they estimate the investigation would take about a year.
‘3) Given the corroborative evidence I have, and my clear memories, they think it would probably go to trial.’
The woman also wrote that she was ‘sectioned’ for mental health concerns after taking herself to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.
She told staff that she had felt suicidal in the past, but a psychiatrist told her to stop talking about the alleged rape as it would keep ‘retriggering’ her.
The bombshell accusations, which surfaced a week after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins came forward about her own alleged rape at the hands of a colleague, have led to Mr Turnbull to seek an inquest.
He said the woman had written to him and his wife Lucy in 2019 to ask for their advice on the matter.
‘She described a pretty horrific rape that she said had occurred at the hands of this person,’ he told the crowd of an Adelaide writers event on Sunday.
‘Among the things she noted, I might say, is that she’d kept extensive diaries, so I hope they’re still extant.
‘We wrote back to her, obviously expressed our sympathy and, really our concern for her and what she’d experienced, but said ‘you’ve got a lawyer, you’re seeing the police, that’s the right thing to do’, and that was.’
The former prime minister said he notified South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens after the woman died.
‘I sent him the correspondence she sent us and our reply,’ he said.
‘There clearly needs to be some form of inquest so, I don’t know what the process is here … but I think there should be.’
The explosive emails were published just a day after Labor’s leader in the senate Penny Wong revealed she personally knew the woman, and referred her to support services.
Senator Wong, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, received a letter about the alleged 1988 rape this week.
It is understood the letter was not written by her.
However the letter came with a detailed statement attached, prepared by the complainant for her lawyer, ABC’s Four Corners has reported.
Senator Hanson-Young (picured) said the letter she had received regarded a ‘disturbing and a very serious allegation of a criminal nature against a senior member of the government’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) as also notified of the letter and confirmed the allegations had been referred to the Australian Federal Police
Senator Wong released an initial statement on Friday saying she had referred the letter to the Australian Federal Police and was aware the matter was already before NSW and South Australian police.
On Saturday Senator Wong issued a further statement ‘in the interests of transparency’ revealing she had detailed prior knowledge of the matter.
‘I first became aware of the complainant’s allegation when I ran into her in Adelaide in November 2019,’ the senator wrote.
‘The complainant reminded me we had met once before.’
‘The complainant made an allegation that she had been raped many years earlier by a person who is now a senior member of the federal government. She indicated she intended to report the matter to NSW Police.
‘I said that making a report to the appropriate authorities was the right thing to do. I facilitated her referral to rape support services and confirmed she was being supported in reporting the matter to NSW Police.’
Senator Wong said the woman’s death was a tragedy and her thoughts were with her family and friends.
The explosive revelations come a fortnight after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation engulfed parliamentary sittings (pictured: Brittany Higgins)
The senator’s statement follows comments by federal frontbencher Simon Birmingham who told reporters in Adelaide the minister at the centre of the allegations should not be made to step aside.
The trade, tourism and investment minister was questioned in his home state of South Australia on Saturday about whether the man in question should come forward or be identified.
‘I’m not sure then how you think it would be resolved thereafter,’ Mr Birmingham replied.
‘We have to respect that we have justice systems in Australia, that everyone is entitled to natural justice and that in this case allegations have been made … and we have to back the appropriate authorities.’
‘We back the police to do their job in this … I don’t wish to see anybody lose their rights to natural justice.’
The year the alleged rape occurred is well before the cabinet minister concerned entered politics. The complainant was aged 16.
A spokesperson for Mr Morrison indicated on Friday evening the allegations had been referred to the Australian Federal Police, which Mr Birmingham confirmed.
The AFP on Saturday said it would liaise with the relevant state authorities.
Senator Hanson-Young said the information she had received regarded a ‘disturbing and a very serious allegation of a criminal nature against a senior member of the government’.
Four Corners says the woman reported the alleged rape to NSW Police in February 2020, but took her own life in June after informing them she no longer wanted to proceed with the complaint.
NSW Police said in a statement on Friday that a report of alleged historic sexual violence was received in February 2020 and detectives commenced an investigation under Strike Force Wyndarra.
‘After strike force investigators were advised that the body of a 49-year-old woman was located at a home at Adelaide by South Australia Police (SAPOL) on Wednesday 24 June 2020, the investigation was suspended,’ the statement said.
The explosive revelations come a fortnight after former Ms Higgins’ rape allegation engulfed parliamentary sittings, prompting Australia’s major political parties to back a cultural overhaul.
The Morrison government has been under intense pressure over its response to the 2019 incident, in which Ms Higgins alleges she was sexually assaulted by a former colleague in Parliament House.
There are four inquiries under way, including a multi-party investigation aimed at ensuring parliament is a safe working environment.
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