Brittany Higgins has written to Scott Morrison's chief of staff, asking him to examine whether anyone from his office backgrounded against her loved ones.
Brittany Higgins has made a formal complaint to Scott Morrison's chief of staff, asking him to investigate whether anyone in the prime minister's office backgrounded against her loved ones.
Ms Higgins wrote to John Kunkel after the prime minister suggested nobody from the parliamentary press gallery had raised the accusations with his chief of staff.
Mr Morrison has been asked more than a dozen times in the parliament whether he has investigated allegations his staff tried to privately undermine Ms Higgins or her loved ones.
He was asked again during a radio interview on Thursday whether he could say categorically that his office had not engaged in such behaviour.
"Nothing has been raised with my office from anyone in the gallery making any of those accusations or any discomfort about anything that my office has done," he told the ABC.
"People make allegations all the time second, third-hand. But there's no one who has raised that with my chief of staff out of the gallery, no."
Shortly after his comments, Ms Higgins lodged a formal complaint.
"In the days following my interview with The Project regarding my experience in Parliament House, I was made aware by numerous journalists about the backgrounding that was happening to my partner," she wrote to Mr Kunkel.
"To my knowledge, this was being done by staff within the prime minister's media team.
"I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. It is entirely plausible the prime minister did not know that this was happening, however the more relevant point is that it did occur."
Ms Higgins also requested to provide evidence to department secretary Phil Gaetjens, who is running an inquiry into which of the prime minister's staff knew of her rape allegations before they were made public.
The investigation has been put on hold while police investigate the rape allegations.
"It is my express desire to present my evidence to Mr Gaetjens at the appropriate time once the review recommences," Ms Higgins wrote.
The furore engulfing the government was sparked by Ms Higgins coming forward alleging she was raped by a colleague in 2019.
There have since been rape accusations levelled at Attorney-General Christian Porter and revelations of a toxic workplace culture inside Parliament House.
Mr Morrison has not made direct contact with Ms Higgins since she went public, nor offered her job back.
The prime minister is also digging in behind Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who is accused of making vulgar comments about Ms Higgins that amounted to victim-blaming.
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has written to the prime minister asking him to consider the allegations and take any action he deems appropriate.
But Mr Morrison said his letter added nothing to what had already been said.
"Senator Abetz has absolutely denied this completely," he said.
"(The premier) has just raised the matter but he has no additional information and he doesn't corroborate or confirm any of these things."
Women across Australia continue to raise reports of inappropriate behaviour with links to politics.
Parliaments in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and Canberra have each been told of allegations of rape, groping, harassment and slut shaming.
NSW Nationals MP Michael Johnsen has been accused of raping a sex worker in the Blue Mountains.
He has taken leave from state parliament and promised to co-operate with police.
"I am confident any investigation will conclude that I am an innocent party," Mr Johnsen said.
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