Liberal Party leader Petter Dutton has taken immediate action in response to allegations of sexual harassment made against Senator David Van, removing him from the partyroom while an investigation takes place.
This decision comes as independent senator Lidia Thorpe continues to assert her extraordinary claims regarding inappropriate conduct within Parliament.
In a visibly shaken state, Senator Van addressed the allegations today in Parliament, adamantly denying any wrongdoing as claimed by Senator Thorpe.
An emotional Lidia Thorpe spoke before Parliament, declaring the building as "not a safe place." She recounted being "cornered" in a stairwell and facing "inappropriate propositions by powerful men."
Although she refrained from naming any specific MPs or senators during her speech, Senator Thorpe explained that under standing orders, she could not comment on their "character."
Her allegations, made under parliamentary privilege, included a retracted statement regarding the "sexual assault" by Senator David Van, which he vehemently rejected, deeming Thorpe's words as "disgusting."
One Nation senator Pauline Hanson accused Lidia Thorpe of shedding "crocodile tears" in response to her complaint about inappropriate behavior within Parliament.
Following Thorpe's tearful Senate speech, the heated exchange between Hanson and Thorpe culminated in an outburst from Thorpe, who told Hanson to "f--- off."
Thorpe today declared that "silence is violence" and expressed her decision not to involve the police but instead continue to speak out.
She acknowledged that her remarks about another senator had to be withdrawn due to Senate rules prohibiting discussions on character. However, she vowed to share her own experiences within Parliament.
Recalling her initial days as a new senator, Thorpe claimed that the parliamentary environment was far from safe for women.
Senator Thorpe claimed an incident occured where she was "cornered" by an unidentified man in a stairwell, an area lacking surveillance.
While acknowledging the varying definitions of sexual assault, Thorpe described her experiences as being followed aggressively, facing improper propositions, and enduring inappropriate touching.