Queensland: MP says she was drugged and sexually assaulted

Brittany Lauga
Brittany Lauga says she needs time to heal [X]
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Police in Australia have launched an investigation following a complaint by Queensland MP Brittany Lauga that she was drugged and sexually assaulted.

The assistant minister for health said she was attacked on a night out in her constituency of Yeppoon.

"This could have happened to anyone and tragically, it does happen to many of us," she said.

The incident follows protests that have taken place in response to recent violence against women.

Ms Lauga, 37, went to a police station and then to hospital on 28 April.

"Tests at the hospital confirmed the presence of drugs in my body which I did not take," she said in a statement posted on social media, adding the substance had impacted her "significantly".

Queensland Police Service (QPS) confirmed officers were investigating a sexual assault complaint regarding an incident in Yeppoon on Sunday.

Ms Lauga was reportedly contacted by other women who said they were drugged on the same evening.

"It's not OK. We should be able to enjoy socialising in our town without the risk of being drugged or assaulted," she said, adding that she needed time to "physically and emotionally heal".

Police said no additional reports in the same area have been made, but are asking anyone with information or who has experienced something similar to contact them.

"The QPS takes all reports of drink spiking seriously and investigates reports of drink spiking on a case-by-case basis, and often in conjunction with other offences such as sexual assault," they said.

Ms Lauga has been in parliament for nearly a decade and was first elected to the seat of Keppel in 2015.

Queensland Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon called the allegations "shocking" and "horrifying", Australian media reported.

"Brittany is a colleague, she is a friend, she is a young woman in the Queensland parliament and these are really shocking things to read," Ms Scanlon said.

"It is unacceptable that women are disproportionately the victims of domestic, family and sexual violence. Our government is going to continue to do everything we can to protect women and stop violence from occurring."

Melbourne protest 28 April
Large numbers of people demonstrated in Melbourne [Getty Images]

Australia has witnessed a spate of high-profile gender-based violence in recent weeks.

In April, an attacker stabbed six people to death in a Sydney shopping centre. Five of the victims were women, and the New South Wales police commissioner told Australia's ABC News that it was "obvious" he focused on harming women.

A wave of rallies took place in response to the killings, with demonstrators calling for gender-based violence to be declared a national emergency and stricter laws put in place to stop it.

A woman has been killed on average every four days in the country so far this year.

If you have been affected by sexual abuse or violence, help and support is available at the BBC Action Line.