Facebook has prohibited the sharing or viewing of our press articles on its platform For independent journalism directly from the source, download our app and subscribe to our newsletters

Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds has been admitted to hospital and will take sick leave, after a week of pressure for handling alleged rape in her office

“This follows advice from his cardiologist regarding a pre-existing medical condition,” said a statement released Wednesday morning

Senator Reynolds came under pressure after former cabinet employee Brittany Higgins last week released allegations that she was raped by a colleague in the minister’s office in March 2019 The minister was faced with repeated questions from political opponents and journalists about what she knew about the incident and when

Senator Reynolds presented conflicting reports to Parliament on meetings with police over Ms Higgins’ allegations on Tuesday, and last week she broke down in Question Time

Minister was due to speak to the National Press Club on Wednesday Cabinet colleague Greg Hunt told reporters she was “desperate to appear”

“It was only on the strongest medical advice that she made the reluctant decision not to do so,” he said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Senator Reynolds this morning to express his concern and sympathy and wish him a speedy recovery

Ms Higgins wished Senator Reynolds “all the best for his recovery” via Twitter, saying she sincerely hoped the minister was doing well

“Let’s just hope that from this horrible situation there will in fact be fundamental reform of the MOP (S) law for vulnerable staff and improvements in the workplace culture in Parliament,” said Ms. Higgins

Foreign Minister Marise Payne will be Acting Defense Minister until Senator Reynolds returns from leave

Senator Reynolds was scheduled to deliver her speech to the National Press Club last night, which was approved by the Department of Defense and sent to reporters

Senator Reynolds has apologized to Ms Higgins for her handling of the rape complaint, which has led to a number of revisions to the culture and processes of Parliament

Our Morning Edition newsletter is a curated guide to the most important and interesting stories, analysis and information. Sign up for the Sydney Morning Herald newsletter here, The Age’s here, Brisbane Times’ here and WAtoday’s here

Katina Curtis is a political reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at the Canberra Parliament Building

Linda Reynolds

World News – AU – Defense Minister Linda Reynolds takes health leave

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/defence-minister-linda-reynolds-is-taking-leave-for-health-reasons-20210224-p575bf.html