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Former Aussie PM's daughter claims he urged silence about her rape

Ms Rosslyn Dillon alleges her father Bob Hawke did not want controversy

SYDNEY: The daughter of former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke said he ordered her to keep quiet about her alleged rape by one of his political allies for fear it would damage his career, Australian media has reported.

Ms Rosslyn Dillon alleged she was raped three times by late Labor MP Bill Landeryou, The New Daily reported on Saturday.

Ms Dillon claimed the assaults occurred in 1982, when her father was preparing to make a challenge for the leadership of the Labor Party, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"During the time I was employed there I was often alone in (the MP's) office. At some time he started to touch me in a sexual way," she reportedly stated in the affidavit.

"He forced me to perform sexual acts."

In a court affidavit, Ms Dillon said her father - one of Australia's most popular prime ministers - told her not to go to the police to avoid controversy ahead of his challenge for the party leadership in 1982, AFP reported.

She alleged that he said: "You can't go to the police.

"You can't. I can't have any controversies right now.

"I am sorry but I am challenging for the leadership of the Labor Party."

Mr Hawke was unsuccessful in his 1982 attempt to become Labor leader. He took over the following year and was quickly elected prime minister, a position he held until 1991.

He died in May aged 89.

The allegations were reportedly made as part of Ms Dillon's A$4 million (S$3.7 million) claim to Mr Hawke's estate, which she is disputing after receiving A$750,000 in his will.

Mr Hawke had given each of four children the same amount, the rest of his estate went to his second wife Blanche d'Alpuget,

According to The New Daily, there are several inconsistencies in Ms Dillon's claims, including the timing of certain documented historical events.

Ms Dillon's older sister, Ms Sue Pieters-Hawke, said the family had been aware of the allegations at the time and Mr Hawke found them distressing.

"She did tell people at the time. I believe there was a supportive response but it didn't involve using the legal system," she told The New Daily.

Ms Dillon reportedly said she was "still haunted by the sexual assaults" and may have found closure if she had been able to go to the police.

'DISAGREE'

Ms Pieters-Hawke, said yesterday: 'I love and support my sister and disagree with this."

She said it would be "foolish" if the claims changed how Australians thought about their former prime minister.

The claims may be tested in court, she said, the Daily Mail reported.

Mr Hawke's stepson, artist Louis Pratt, said the family was surprised by what happened."

"We're all very surprised, obviously, because I know that Bob loved Rosslyn very much and I know what his character is.

"I just know he loved her very much," said Mr Pratt. - AFP

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