The behaviour former NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has been accused of “can’t be tolerated”, federal Labor leader Bill Shorten says.
Mr Foley resigned on Thursday evening after ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper revealed details of a November 2016 incident in which the state opposition leader allegedly put his hand down her underpants.
He denies the allegations and has threatened defamation proceedings.
“Modern politics is not some sort of episode of the 1960s Mad Men series. The world has moved on. That behaviour was never appropriate,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Perth on Friday.
Mr Shorten said the behaviour described is “improper, inappropriate and simply can’t be tolerated” and Ms Raper deserves understanding and support.
But that’s where his comments will end, he said, noting Ms Raper had no intention of the allegations being made public.
“I’m generally going to leave it to the NSW Labor Party, I don’t intend to say any more … because she never wanted this matter in the public domain. Others have put it there.”
Deputy federal Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said Mr Foley had no option other than to resign and there should be no tolerance for sexual assault and harassment.
“The incident described by the journalist in the ABC statement released yesterday shows a woman who was let down at every turn,” Ms Plibersek wrote in a statement on Twitter.
“The incident should never have happened in the first place.
“The system is broken when it is the victim who suffers all over again once a complaint is made.”
Every organisation, workplace and group should be willing to call out and prevent sexual harassment, she added.
NSW Liberal MP David Elliott first raised the allegations against Mr Foley under parliamentary privilege in October.
He released a short statement on Friday following heavy criticism of his role in the scandal.
“This has clearly been a difficult time for the journalist,” he said.
“I have long held concerns over the character of the alternate premier. To that end, it was never my intent to cause distress for the journalist.”
Ms Raper said in a statement situations like hers “should not be discussed in parliament for the sake of political point scoring”.
© AAP 2018