Scott Morrison believes the culture within Parliament House has to change as he and his government remain under scrutiny over the handling of an alleged rape assault of a former Liberal staffer.
The shocking allegations raised by Brittany Higgins that emerged a week ago, and by a second staffer since, look set to again overshadow debate as parliament sits for another week.
"I think the culture needs to change and it needs to continually improve," the prime minister told reporters on Sunday, after being one of the first recipients of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination jab.
"But I've got to say, if any workplace thinks that this is just confined to the parliament, they're kidding themselves."
But he is sticking to his version of events, that he knew nothing about the sexual assault, that was alleged to have taken place two years ago, until last Monday and 48 hours after his own staff were quizzed on the matter.
He said he made his views known to his staff for keeping him in the dark "very candidly" last Monday.
But Labor's Tanya Plibersek believes Ms Higgins has been let down by the prime minister and that the full story over who knew what at the time is being withheld.
Ms Plibersek, a former deputy Labor leader, said two cabinet ministers knew the events surrounding the sexual assault two years ago, as did senior staff, but somehow Prime Minister Scott Morrison didn't know.
Asked on Sky News' Sunday Agenda program whether she thought the prime minister was lying, Ms Plibersek said: "I don't think we have the full truth of this story, that's for sure."
She said Ms Higgins was formidably courageous in coming forward after she was left to choose between seeking justice and keeping her job.
"They have really let her down," Ms Plibersek said.
"No one should be made to fell like that ... it's appalling."
On Saturday Mr Morrison said he was "very upset" by reports a second woman was sexually assaulted by the same man who allegedly abused Ms Higgins.
"These events truly do sicken me. They do sicken me, as they should anyone," he said.
Ms Higgins is proceeding with a formal complaint to federal police over the alleged rape in early 2019 inside the office of now-Defence Minister Linda Reynolds.
Despite questions about Senator Reynolds' handling of the complaint, the prime minister said she has his confidence to remain in Cabinet.
The second woman was allegedly assaulted by the same man - a former government adviser - in late 2020.
The woman argues that if the government had adequately dealt with the incident involving Ms Higgins in 2019, she would not have become a victim.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, a frequent visitor to Parliament House, said it is a place that breeds a culture of disrespect.
"... of getting somebody, as opposed to getting something done, of bullying," she told Sky News.
"That culture is a cancer that gives rise to these very serious events that happen in this place, that frankly wouldn't be tolerated in a good workplace and shouldn't be."