COVER UP! The dark past of disgraced Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle in “The Valley of the Dolls”

EXCLUSIVE: Having recently resigned as lord mayor of Melbourne following a number of sexual harassment claims, it can now be revealed that Liberal Party heavyweight Robert Doyle once got a teenage girl to sign a confidentiality agreement after she was sexually harassed by another sleazy politician who made crude remarks to her in person and over the phone.

A former MP in the Victorian Parliament has made the startling revelations while speaking exclusively to True Crime News Weekly, and has provided intimate details of the allegedly sleazy practices of Mr Doyle during his time as leader of the state government’s opposition a decade ago.


According to our source, physical and sexual intimidation of young females was a fact of life during Mr Doyle’s time as Victorian Liberal supremo.

It’s said that numerous ‘attractive’ young women were regularly having to be replaced as assistants – so much so that the corridor leading to the Mr Doyle’s leader’s office was referred to as ‘The Valley of the Dolls‘; a none too subtle reference to the 1967 sexploitation movie of the same name.

“To make matters worse,” the former MP said, “the term, ‘Valley of the Dolls’ was initially coined by Lorraine Elliott, a sitting MP at the time, who with her husband, Liberal kingmaker John Elliott was a close personal friend of Doyle. There was no level of sympathy for the sisterhood, there. Lorraine thought it was a great joke.”

The former MP has asked True Crime News Weekly to withhold their identity, largely due to the undoubted influence still wielded by Doyle’s friends and allies in political circles, the media and beyond.

Our source went on: “I know for a fact that female’s complaints – and there were many – were simply not acted upon. In contrast to his cuddly public image, Doyle could be very aggressive in private, ruling over his staff with a ruthless and callous style. Many of the young women were actually afraid of him”.

As well as unwelcome touching and boorish commentary focusing on the women’s personal appearance and assumed proclivities, details have also emerged of Mr Doyle’s self-serving response to a public record accusation of sexual intimidation by a member of Doyle’s parliamentary team, current MP Richard Dalla Riva.

Mr Dalla Riva, a former police officer who has announced his intention to step down as a MP later this year, was, in 2006, accused of acting inappropriately toward a young female after a Liberal Party event but no disciplinary action was taken, entirely as a result of a ruthless and duplicitous cover up personally orchestrated and facilitated by the then leader.

Mr Dalla Riva made crude remarks to the young woman while at party fundraiser, and then later sent bizarre and desperate text messages to her by phone.

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According to the former MP, it  was Mr Doyle, perhaps fearing that the subsequent backlash might gather him in its wake, who personally took it upon himself to deal with the misconduct allegation by organising secret mediation sessions and then having the victim and her family sign a confidentiality agreement.

The actions ensured there was no immediate censure or consequence for the beleaguered, preying Mr Dalla Riva.

This situation was only resolved following Mr Doyle’s ousting as Liberal leader almost a year later, when he was replaced as party leader by subsequent premier Ted Baillieu who, seemingly shocked by Mr Doyle’s deceitful handling of the matter, immediately demanded that Mr Dalla Riva resign from the Shadow Cabinet as well as offer a public apology for comments made to the young female after the party fundraiser and then later, in a number of suggestive text messages.

Mr Doyle of course, has recently been forced to step down from his post as Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, a position he assumed in 2008, after numerous allegations of alleged sexual misconduct emerged, matters which are currently being investigated by Victoria Police.

In light of this investigation however, it seems tellingly significant that such behaviour was endemic in Mr Doyle’s past history and, as such, must surely be regarded as entirely relevant in the current context.

The wide-ranging police investigation, said to be delving as far back as the erstwhile Lord Mayor’s tenure as a school teacher at the prestigious Geelong Grammar in the late 1970s and early 80s, may also have to consider our source’s claim regarding Mr Doyle’s sustained behaviour whilst state Liberal leader.

According to the former MP, every Friday during Mr Doyle’s reign, a table was reserved at top Melbourne restaurant, Becco, where, as the fine wine flowed – apparently at the taxpayers expense – he ‘received’ a number of businessmen, politicians and officials, including senior police figures, all the while accompanied by a bevy of attractive young females, often into a late, drunken and rambunctious Melbourne evening.

According to our source, this was Mr Doyle’s true centre of operations, with deals, plans and accords discussed and developed amidst an atmosphere of macho posturing, with the females in situ being treated like chattels, generally to their obvious – to all but the main players – extreme discomfort and chagrin.

Complaints about the unsavoury behaviour of the males at Becco, including touching, leering and much worse – female objections and protestations being apparently numerous – were never acted upon, due it appears to a fearful ‘conspiracy of silence’, with potential complainants continually reminded that their ambitions and subsequent careers would suffer immeasurably if any such grievances were ever made on an official basis.

60’s sexploitation flick ‘Valley of the Dolls’

“Doyle and his chief of staff Ron Wilson acted like alpha males as far as these young women were concerned,” said the former MP who was once close to Mr Doyle’s office said.

“Many of the females were potential high flyers and they were made aware in no uncertain terms that any resistance to harassment and intimidation could result in their careers being permanently stalled.”

Mr Doyle has of course declared he’ll fight the current allegations ‘tooth and nail’, in order to defend his ‘reputation’ but surely these revelations can only add fuel to the flames of alleged sexual behaviour more akin to cavemen than elected officials charged to represent the community and, more importantly, paid from the public purse.

“I’d like the public to know that these were not isolated incidents,” the former MP stated.

“Sexual harassment and intimidatory conduct was commonplace and it provides clear evidence of a unacceptable pattern of behaviour which must be addressed and seen as relevant to the current inquiry.”

Mr Doyle, whose ego was said to be so engorged, he’d turn up “for the opening of a fridge door” may not be quite as willing to make his next high-profile appearance, which, at some time in the very near future, may well take place in a court of law.

True Crime News Weekly sent the fallen political leader a series of questions through his PR team at Newgate Communications this week, including on whether the former politician thought it was a wise move to gag a teenage victim of alleged ongoing sexual harassment.

It turns out though that Mr Doyle is too unwell to answer any questions.

“Our client, Robert Doyle, remains hospitalised and we are therefore not able to provide any comment on the matters raised,” a PR spokesperson from Newgate said.

We, and no doubt many of the young females said to have been humiliated and exploited by Mr Doyle and his cohort, now await developments with interest.


About Gary Johnston 53 Articles
Gary Johnston is an author, academic and former parole officer with decades of experience in the criminal justice system. He is True Crime News Weekly's Deputy Editor and Melbourne correspondent. His book 'No Previous Conviction' was published in May 2017 and is available on Amazon.

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