Karl Stefanovic fires up over 'sick' parliament rape claim

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Yesterday, the government's response to an alleged rape that was said to have taken place inside parliament house in 2019 came under intense fire from people across Australia, and now Today host Karl Stefanovic has added his voice to the outcry, slamming the alleged incident as 'beyond belief'.

In an interview with federal senator Matt Canavan on Today this morning, the host didn't mince his words, unleashing a furious set of challenges to the former cabinet minister.

Today show Karl Stefanovic rape case parliament
Karl Stefanovic let it rip when discussing the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins inside parliament house. Photo: Nine

Called into question was Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' response to the alleged incident, which was said to have taken place inside her office.

On Monday, former-Liberal party staffer Brittany Higgins claimed she was raped by a colleague inside Parliament House, inside the ministerial office of Linda Reynold's, in March 2019.

Australia's Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds rape claim in office
The alleged rape reportedly took place inside the office of Australia's Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds. Photo: AP

Reflecting on the incident, Karl said it made him 'sick to his stomach' that an incident could be alleged to have taken place inside the Australian parliament, and not followed up with officials.

"it makes me sick to the stomach that this has happened," Karl said.

He argued that the fact that CCTV footage hasn't been released, that cleaners were allegedly called in the next day, and that security guards allegedly let the man in, lead him to conclude 'there's no question this has been covered up.'

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"I mean, Linda Reynolds, I can't fathom how her position is tenable" he put to the minister. "It's untenable."

Canavan hit back at Karl's claims the matter was mismanaged, defending the Defence Minister's actions.

Karl Stefanovic  Matt Canavan  Today Show rape claim victims
Karl put some furious comments to senator Matt Canavan on today. Photo: Nine

"Karl, I'm not going to repeat the words you said, but obviously when an incident like this is reported, there has to be a proper investigation and that has to be handled by authorities, police and others in an HR environment," he responded.

"I don't believe there's any evidence that Minister Reynolds did not seek to follow this matter up."

The senator said he believed the minister had only acted with 'good faith' in the matter

Canavan claimed Brittany was encouraged by the minister to take the matter up with police, and argued that without the intimate details it was impossible to make a judgement on what paths of recourse were or were not taken.

It comes after Scott Morrison was also criticised for his response to the incident after he told reporters a conversation with his wife Jenny, and imagining the victim as one of his daughters was what made him realise the impacts of the alleged crime.

Brittany Higgins alleges she was raped inside parliament house

Brittany Higgins rape claim interview on The Project
Brittany Higgins says she was raped while working as a liberal party staffer in parliament house in 2019. Photo: Ten

The news came to light on Monday that Brittany Higgins alleged she had been raped in parliament house while working as a staffer for the Liberal party.

Her boss, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, allegedly summoned her to a formal employment meeting about the incident in the same room the alleged rape occurred.

Senator Reynolds told parliament on Monday she did not know the alleged incident happened inside her ministerial office at the time of the meeting.

However, Ms Higgins says "there's no way" Senator Reynolds did not know where the alleged rape occurred.

"She knew it was in her office," she told Network 10's The Project on Monday night.

"I just thought it was unfathomable that they would put me in that space again.

"I felt like I was reliving it every second of being in that room."

Ms Higgins said Senator Reynolds was "nice" and "apologetic", but the meeting quickly turned to whether she would report the incident to police.

"I felt like a weird sort of a HR, ticking a box moment," she said.

"It felt like I immediately became sort of like a political problem... it wasn't a staffing problem, it wasn't an HR problem, wasn't a human problem."

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