Melbourne Lord Mayor stands down following sexual harassment, assault allegations

By The Mandarin

December 17, 2017

City of Melbourne chief executive Ben Rimmer has ordered an investigation into serious allegations — “including sexual harassment, indecent assault and misconduct” — against the Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.

Cr Doyle was informed of the complaints on Sunday and immediately announced he would stand down while the external investigation takes place.

It comes after Councillor Tessa Sullivan resigned from the council on Friday, effective immediately. The council issued a statement on behalf of Cr Sullivan revealing she was resigning over sexual harassment:

“Ms Sullivan stated that she had resigned after herself and other women had experienced repeated sexual harassment which had made their workplace intolerable.”

In a separate statement on Sunday, Rimmer revealed Ian Freckleton QC would be conducting the external investigation, but he did not reveal the extend of the allegations beyond “including sexual harassment, indecent assault and misconduct”, nor who or how many complainants had come forward.

“Pending the outcome of this investigation, I will determine what further action, if any, is required and available to me.

“The investigation will be conducted in accordance with natural justice principles.

“These allegations are very serious, and if proven would be inconsistent with the values of the city and the organisation. Therefore it is very important that these matters are thoroughly investigated.”


Doyle told local media on Sunday he will fight to clear his name and finds the allegations “thoroughly abhorrent, not only as Lord Mayor but as a father of young women, a husband, a brother and as the head of an office made up entirely of women.”

He said his decision to stand down during the investigation “must not be interpreted as any concession or admission.”

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