Bill Shorten opens up about rape allegations

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten Photo: Angela Wylie
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten Photo: Angela Wylie

Labor leader Bill Shorten has broken his silence after being cleared by the Victorian Police of damaging rape allegations dating back to the 1980s.

In a move designed to put the issue behind him, Mr Shorten said the investigation had been concluded and "there is absolutely no basis to the claims".

Mr Shorten avoided directly naming what the allegations against him were.

"I freely answered all the questions that the police asked of me. Now the police investigation is concluded, I can make this statement. The easy option would be to say nothing, but that is not who I am," he said.

"This has been deeply distressing for my family. I'm thankful for the love and support of Chloe and the support of my staff and parliamentary colleagues."

"Others who are aware of the investigation have acted with the utmost integrity by leaving the police to do their job." 

The investigation began in October last year after a complaint was made to police.

The woman who brought the allegation, who is now a nurse, said the incident took place at a Young Labor camp near Geelong back in 1986.

Explaining his decision to go public, Mr Shorten said he would not go into the details of the allegation, "except to say that the allegation was untrue and abhorrent. The allegation was made by someone that I knew briefly at that time." 

"The police have now concluded the investigation. The decision speaks for itself. It is over. I have no intention of making any further comment," he said.

"In all fairness, I am entitled to draw a line on this."

Mr Shorten said he learned about the allegation late last year and that it dates back to when he was 19. The claim had been made on social media, he said, after he had been elected Opposition Leader.

Bill Shorten's statement:

Late last year I learned that a claim had been made about me, going back to when I was 19. It was made on social media when I was elected Opposition Leader.

I will not go into the details, except to say that the allegation was untrue and abhorrent. The allegation was made by someone that I knew briefly at that time. There is absolutely no basis to the claim.

The claim has now been thoroughly and vigorously investigated by the police as is entirely proper. I fully cooperated to clear my name and that is what I've done.

I freely answered all the questions that the police asked of me. Now the police investigation is concluded, I can make this statement.

The easy option would be to say nothing, but that is not who I am. I want to address this myself directly.

This has been deeply distressing for my family. I'm thankful for the love and support of Chloe and the support of my staff and parliamentary colleagues.

Others who are aware of the investigation have acted with the utmost integrity by leaving the police to do their job. 

The police have now concluded the investigation. The decision speaks for itself. It is over. I have no intention of making any further comment. I'm happy to take questions.