Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has apologised to a former political staffer who has alleged she was raped by a senior colleague in a minister's office in parliament.
"Brittany talked it being her dream job".
Ms Higgins, 26, spoke out in a TV interview on Monday that has prompted shock and outrage over her treatment.
Morrison on Tuesday apologized to the woman and promised an investigation.
The matter is now under a renewed police investigation.
"That should not have happened, and I do apologize".
But Mr Morrison was also drew criticism for saying he better comprehended the allegations after considering them as a father of two girls.
But instead of dropping her home, the man allegedly took her to Parliament House.
The woman told an online news publication and Channel 10 on Monday that she had been raped in the office of the current Defense Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019 by unnamed colleague who also worked for Morrison's ruling Liberal party.
Her boss, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, summoned her to a formal employment meeting about the incident in the same room the alleged rape occurred.
She told "The Project" she woke up to find her colleague on top of her "mid-rape", and when she repeatedly asked him to stop, he didn't.
She said the man left immediately afterwards. She said she was then asked to attend a meeting in the office where she alleges she had been assaulted.
"It felt like I became.it immediately became a political problem", she said.
Ms Higgins said she was told by Ms Reynolds that she would be supported if she pursued a police complaint, but she ultimately chose not to because she believed it would jeopardise her career.
Yesterday, the government's response to an alleged rape that was said to have taken place inside parliament house in 2019 came under intense fire from people across Australia, and now Today host Karl Stefanovic has added his voice to the outcry, slamming the alleged incident as "beyond belief".
Senator Reynolds told parliament on Monday she did not know the alleged incident happened inside her ministerial office at the time of the meeting.
The allegation has intensified pressure on Morrison after a series of allegations of improper behaviour towards woman within the Liberal party.
He said parliament's professional standards and culture would be reviewed, saying: "I hope Brittany's call is a wake-up call for all of us".
The prime minister has established two inquiries and also agreed to Labor's call for an independent review into workplace culture inside Parliament House. "I want to make sure any young woman working in this place is as safe as possible".
Morrison responded by doubling down that family helps inform how he deals with issues, and that he didn't get across Higgins' account until late last night.
Mr Morrison on Tuesday said his staff did not have records and did not recall communicating with her.
"I felt like a weird sort of a HR, ticking a box moment", she said.
This comment hasn't gone down well with many who questioned why the Prime Minister couldn't wrap his head around a woman's trauma without imagining it happened to someone close to him.
"It should not take a man having a daughter for him to treat women who've been assaulted with empathy and respect", wrote author Jamila Rizvi on Twitter.
Australia's parliament has been criticised for a "toxic" workplace culture that has allegedly spawned bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct against women.
Last year, a former Liberal Party staff member accused then-immigration minister Alan Tudge of improper behavior, which he denies.