A Liberal senator and a Labor MP clashed on ABC’s Q&A on Thursday night over a question around the historical rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter.
On Wednesday, Porter revealed himself as the minister at the centre of a rape claim involving a 16-year-old girl in Sydney in 1988.
He has never been charged and police confirmed there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed with an investigation and labelled the matter “closed”.
The question was asked by an audience member and immediately caused tension on the panel.
The question that was asked was whether the panel thought Prime Minister Scott Morrison should launch an independent inquiry into the allegations against Mr Porter.
Queensland National Party Senator Susan McDonald threw her support behind Mr Porter, saying she felt “deeply” for the woman and her family but that the justice system must be adhered to.
“We do have a system of justice in this country. We do have a police service that is well resourced and the most capable of understanding whether or not evidence needs to go to trial. And they have closed the matter,” Senator McDonald said.
“I don’t think that this is an easy subject but we can’t have a situation where allegations equate to guilt. And I think that the minister has made a full statement and I think that we need to some justice in the law and the rules of the land, because otherwise, you know, do we back a kangaroo court and a court of public opinion?”
Western Australia Labor MP Anne Aly cut in, asking: “What about justice for the victim?”
“We keep talking about justice for the accused. What about justice for the victim?” she said, to a round of cheering from the audience.
— QandA (@QandA) March 4, 2021
“I am infuriated by this because I’m sick and tired of the lip service that we hear in parliament about hearing victims’ voice, about listening to women, about respect for women, and right now is a moment.”
Aly also said it was time for the Prime Minister to show leadership and launch an independent inquiry.
“What did he do? He came out and he said, ‘Well, I have asked him if he did it and he said no, and that’s enough for me.’ And then suddenly you’ve got all of these men invoking justice, justice, justice,” she said.
“That inquiry will either exonerate Christian Porter and prove his innocence, as he is — as he is saying, that he is innocent, or it will prove otherwise. Either way, this is a serious, serious allegation. It needs to be treated seriously,” she said.
This article originally appeared on Over60.