Australian Senator Quits Liberal Party After Allegations of Misconduct

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The office of the Senator in Sydney said that a senator of Australia's main Opposition Liberal Party, who was accused by several female politicians of sexual misconduct, has resigned but will remain in Parliament.

The allegations against Liberal Party senator David Van are a result of a 2021 investigation into the culture in Australia's Parliament House, which found that one third of those working there experienced sexual harassment.

Van, who denied the allegations, sent a message to President of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party stating that he will resign from the party immediately.

Van stated in correspondence that was seen by Reuters, and confirmed by a spokeswoman for the senator: "I can't remain a part of a political party which tramples on the very premise upon which our justice system rests."

Van will remain in the parliament as an Independent Senator, said the spokesperson.

Peter Dutton, the Liberal Party leader, asked Van on Friday to resign, after independent senator Lidia Thorpe claimed, under parliamentary privileges, that she had been sexually assaulted during her previous term in parliament. Van denied this claim immediately.

Amanda Stoker, a former Liberal Senator, said that Van had inappropriately touched her in 2020 at a party by squeezing the bottom of her twice.

Dutton, speaking to the media Friday without providing details, said that a third complaint has been made against Senator Van.

Van was shocked and "utterly shattered", this week, when he heard of the vilification of his good name.

The controversy follows the Liberal-led Government of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison being rocked by a high-profile case involving a former government advisor accused of sexually abusing a colleague at the Parliament House in 2019.