Chelsey Potter, Another ex-staffer allaged rape sexual assault complaint

Another former employee accuses the state of mishandling her alleged rape

Another senator has been charged with mishandling the sexual harassment case of a former staff member.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has been accused of mishandling the allegation of a female staff member that a former colleague had sexually abused her.

The new charges are unrelated to the allegations involving Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who two years ago told police that she had been sexually harassed by a Liberal colleague in the office of Defense Minister Linda Reynolds.

However, the recent claims may pose a significant threat to the integrity of the corporate culture revision proposed by the Prime Minister, as Senator Birmingham is leading the process to develop new procedures.

Chelsey Potter, who says she was sexually assaulted while working for an MP by a political staffer in Canberra.
Chelsey Potter, who says she was sexually assaulted while working for an MP by a political staffer in Canberra.

In addition, Senator Birmingham confirmed that he had encouraged Ms. Potter at the time to seek support and would now speak directly with her.

In the Adelaide-based In Daily website, Chelsey Potter has written an opinion piece on her experiences, including allegations that Senator Birmingham did not allow her to go to police, despite claiming she believes he would "never face sexual assault."

Ms Potter accused the Prime Minister of a "circus of blame-shifting and spin" involvement.

When I spoke about our own experiences of sexual harassment and political abuse, I did so to build progress, as Brittany did bravely," she said."

Somewhat stupidly, I thought that it would be sufficient to share such an intimate, painful experience to propel politicians into action-my former employers, colleagues and acquaintances, many who have known me since my teens.

"It wasn't. My former boss, now the Federal Minister of Finance, Senator Simon Birmingham, is aware of my accusation that during my tenure in his office as a staffer, I was sexually assaulted.

Chelsey Potter
Chelsey Potter

For at least 18 months, he has known about that. Until my tale broke, he understood.

“In July 2019, as I prepared to share my experience publicly, I asked to meet with him.

“He responded saying he had become aware of my serious allegation. Of course, I already knew it was very serious – I’d lived it.

“In his response, he simply suggested I speak with professionals and referred me to the Women’s Information Service and 1800RESPECT. Not even a suggestion of involving the police, which would later become the catchcry of senior Liberals weeks later.

“And he wasn’t in a position to speak to me.”