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Lidia Thorpe Retracts Sexual Assault Claims Against Senator

Senator Lidia Thorpe has publicly withdrawn allegations she made in parliament accusing Senator David Van of sexual assault. 

The liberal politician denied the allegations after the claims were made on Wednesday afternoon. 

Van was speaking in relation to the Brittany Higgins rape allegations when Thorpe interjected with “you can talk” and “perpetrator”.

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When asked to stop by Senate deputy president Andrew McLachlan, Thorpe said she felt “uncomfortable when a perpetrator is speaking about violence”. 

When McLachlan asked Thorpe to withdraw her comments, she refused and reiterated her earlier comments. 

“I can’t because this person harassed me, sexually assaulted me and the prime minister had to remove him from his office,” she said. 

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“And to have him talking about this today is an absolute disgrace, on the whole party.”

Van denied the claims, describing them as “disgusting”. 

“I utterly reject that statement, that disgusting statement, outright. It is just a lie and I reject it,” he said.

Thorpe later withdrew her comments following a request from the deputy president. 

“In order to comply with the parliamentary standing orders, I withdraw those remarks. For the information of the Senate, I will make a statement on the matter tomorrow,” she said.

Van released a statement saying he has since involved his lawyers following the comments. 

“These outrageous and reprehensible comments were made by Senator Thorpe using parliamentary privilege in the most malicious and despicable way,” he said. 

“My lawyers have written to her already making my position clear in the strongest possible terms.”

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