CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual harassment.

Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle has resigned, several weeks after two councillors formally accused him of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The 64-year-old made the announcement last night from hospital, where he is reportedly receiving treatment for serious health issues.

His lawyer Nick Ruskin said the lord mayor “has been through a period which he feels has lacked any semblance of natural justice, where the burden of proof does not rest with proving guilt, but rather with proving innocence.

“He continues to strenuously deny the allegations made against him.”

Ruskin said the strain of the accusations had severely impacted his client’s health, and that “he will need an immediate period of hospitalisation to begin his recovery.”

In December, councillor Tessa Sullivan alleged Doyle had groped her breast and made inappropriate comments regarding oral sex.

Councillor Cathy Oke also alleged Doyle had attempted to kiss her. Oke also accused Doyle of touching her thigh under a table, and stated another councillor witnessed the incident.

A third woman had accused Doyle of touching her thigh during an awards dinner in 2016.

Doyle had been on leave as the council undertook an investigation into the councillors’ allegations.

The delivery of a report on those allegations to the council was delayed so Doyle could issue a full response.

A by-election will be conducted to address the now-vacant post.


This article discusses sexual assault & harassment. If you would like to talk to a counsellor about rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, give the people over at 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732.

Source: ABC
Image: Robert Prezioso / Getty