The Liberal Party is rocked by allegations two young female staff were sexually assaulted while working for senior politicians
- Two women have come forward saying they were assaulted by Liberal staffers
- Chelsey Potter claims she was pinned down and had her underwear ripped off
- Dhanya Mani claims that a staffer went to her house uninvited and choked her
- The two women are starting a network for sexual assault victims in politics
Bombshell allegations of sexual assault have rocked the Liberal Party after two young women came forward claiming they were assaulted while working for senior politicians.
One of the women claims a federal minister pinned her down and removed her underwear, while the other woman said a Liberal staffer showed up to her house uninvited and choked her.
Concerns about the culture within the Liberal Party has prompted a number of high-profile members to call for change – including 50-year party veteran Kathryn Greiner.
Chelsey Potter alleged a senior Liberal party restrained her and pulled off her underwear
Chelsey Potter, who joined the Liberal Party when she was 16, said she was working for a well-known minister when they were both at a house during a parliament sitting week in Canberra.
She says the senior Liberal Party member restrained her and pulled off her underwear.
‘It was very quick and very sudden and quite forceful. It wasn’t until I started to really yell that he stopped and left the room,’ Ms Potter told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Ms Potter said she told a senior party member of the incident and while he was initially supportive, he later called asking if she would speak out if the party chose him for preselection.
Dhanya Mani, who joined the party when she was 17 years old, said she was working for the speaker of the New South Wales parliament when she was assaulted by a different Liberal Party staffer.
She claims in 2015 the staffer showed up at her house uninvited and forced himself on her while pleasuring himself.
‘I couldn’t do anything else because my mind just became entirely empty and I was just really afraid because he was on top of me,’ she said.
Dhanya Mani said she was working for the speaker of the New South Wales parliament when she was assaulted by a different Liberal Party staffer
‘At one point he put his hands around my neck and started choking me. At that point I became incapable of moving.’
Ms Mani said she felt ‘disempowered’ after she told a senior female Liberal Party member but was advised against speaking out because her reputation would be damaged.
Ms Potter and Ms Mani did not go to police with their allegations with Ms Mani saying she did not feel like she would have been able to handle it from a mental health perspective.
The two women are establishing a network for sexual assault victims from both sides of politics with the backing a veteran Liberal Party member Kathryn Greiner.
She has said leadership on the issue needs to come from the prime minister down to change the culture in the party.