Plibersek ‘no comment’ on rape claims by Hawke’s daughter
ALP heavyweight Tanya Plibersek has refused to criticise Bob Hawke after the Labor legend's daughter claimed he urged her not to tell police she had been raped by one of his union mates.
Ros Dillon made the explosive allegation in a Supreme Court affidavit, claiming Mr Hawke told her to keep quiet because it would hurt his ambitions to become Prime Minister.
The 59-year-old former heroin addict is seeking a $4 million share of his estate which was left to his second wife, Blanche d'Alpuget.
Ms Dillon, who has told The New Daily she no longer has any of her own teeth and lives on just a $66 pension, informed her father in the early 1980s that she was raped three times by his colleague and confidant Bill Landeryou when she worked for him in a job her father helped secure for her.
She alleges that her father told her: "I can't have any controversies right now. I am sorry but I am challenging for the leadership of the Labor Party. You can't go to the police."
On Sunday Ms Plibersek, the former deputy leader of the Labor Party and Minister for the Status of Women, refused to comment on the allegations, saying she knew nothing about them.
But she said as a rule women should report sexual assaults to police.
"What I would say in the most general terms is that anybody who has been the victim of a sexual assault should be encouraged to take the matter to the police," she said.
"I am not going to speculate on something I have only read about in the papers and is now before the courts."
The claims are damaging not only for the reputation of Mr Hawke, who died in May, but also for the ALP's image on women's rights.
Landeryou, who died in February, was a former ALP powerbroker and Victorian minister who remained lifelong friends with the Hawke family and backed Mr Hawke to become PM.
He is the father-in-law of Victorian senator Kimberley Kitching and father of Labor figure Andrew Landeryou, neither of whom returned requests for comment on Sunday.
The Daily Telegraph understands the Landeryou family were not aware of the accusation until recently.
Mr Hawke, Australia's longest-serving Labor PM, left his children, Ms Dillon, Sue Pieters-Hawke and Stephen Hawke $750,000 each in his will. He left the same amount to Ms d'Alpuget's son, Louis Pratt.
Ms Pieters-Hawke has supported her sister, telling The New Daily that the family was aware of the allegations of rape at the time and her father was distressed by them.
In her affidavit, Ms Dillon said she was "shocked and hurt" by her father's reaction.
"He asked me to let the matter go and I did so for him," she claims.