Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Melbourne's Lord Mayor
Sexual harassment allegations levelled against Melbourne's lord mayor are "very serious" and need to be thoroughly investigated, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was accused over the weekend of sexual harassment, indecent assault and misconduct, but he is vowing to clear his name.
Mr Doyle called the claims "abhorrent" and announced he would step down from the role while they are investigated.
Mr Andrews says he will await the findings of the external investigation before commenting.
"These are very serious claims," he told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.
"Appropriately, the council through its CEO Ben Rimmer has put a process in place.
"It's very important for everybody involved, given the seriousness of these issues, for that process to be a quick a one and a thorough process."
The investigation comes after City of Melbourne councillor Tessa Sullivan quit on Friday citing sexual assault.
In statement issued by the council Ms Sullivan resigned "after herself and other women had experienced repeated sexual harassment which had made their workplace intolerable."
Mr Doyle welcomed the investigation and says he will co-operate fully to clear his name.
"(I) find the allegations detailed to me by media outlets 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 in a statement.
Mr Rimmer said serious allegations, included sexual harassment, indecent assault and misconduct, were levelled against the mayor.
"Considering my obligations to ensure a safe workplace, I have commissioned an independent external investigation of these matters by Ian Freckleton QC," Mr Rimmer said.
Another councillor, Jackie Watts, said everyone was in a difficult position but it was important the council functioned professionally.
"We are all shocked and of course Tessa is feeling it greatly," she told 3AW on Monday.
Mr Doyle, 64, was elected Lord Mayor in November 2008 and is Melbourne's longest-serving mayor.
Ms Sullivan was elected to council in November 2016.