Daughter claims Australian ex-PM urged silence on alleged rape

The daughter of former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke, pictured at a Labor Party campaign launch in 2010, claims he urged her to remain silent about an alleged rape

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.

Rosslyn Dillon alleged she was raped three times by a late Labor member of parliament in the 1980s, The New Daily reported Saturday.

In a court affidavit, 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.

The allegations were reportedly made as part of her Aus$4 million ($2.73 million) claim to Hawke's estate, which she is disputing after receiving $750,000 in his will.

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.

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

Dillon's sister, Sue Pieters-Hawke, said the family had been aware of the allegations at the time and 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.

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.