Australian MP accused of rape launches defamation case as hundreds of thousands march for justice

Attorney-General Christian Porter has launched a defamation case against the ABC over the reporting of rape allegations. 

It came half an hour before hundreds of thousands of Australians protested across the country in a march for justice. 

The Me Too movement has moved down under. Mums, sisters, daughters, dads and sons all part of a collective call across Australia on Monday, from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra - with a message for the country's most powerful. 

Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Violet Sheridan sharing that message at the march: "Women need to be safe in this great big house."  

At the heart of the call - Canberra's two rape allegations. 

It was revealed two weeks ago that Porter was the cabinet minister involved in one of the historical rape allegations.

In a tearful televised statement Porter denied the allegations; "I can say categorically what has been put in various forms did not happen."

The rape allegation stretches back to 1988 when Christian Porter appeared on a national debating team. Porter says he and a woman socialised in a group - that was it.

The Attorney-General choosing on Monday to launch a defamation lawsuit against the ABC, citing ' false allegations made against him and a person he met when he was a teenager" 

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who alleges she was raped in parliament by a male staffer in 2019, made an emotional speech at the march. 

"I was raped inside parliament house by a colleague." 

Speaking to a crowd of thousands - on the steps of parliament - Higgins says her political idols knew what happened there two years ago but refused to do anything about it.

"I wasn't a person who had gone through a life-changing, traumatic event. I was a political problem," she said in her speech.

And the political leader with the most influence, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, was nowhere to be seen 

With Morrison refusing to attend, his Deputy Michael McCormack was delivered the message instead. 

Janine Hendy, organiser of the march telling him; "the women of Australia want some action. We're drawing a line in the sand right here right now."

One of those women -  the ex-wife of Christian Porter at a rally in Perth. 

The march drew crowds all over Australia. 

Labour MP's and staff walked out of parliament house to join marchers in Canberra.

And even in smaller towns like Talbot, population 442 in Victoria, a decent-sized crowd turned out to support the cause.

So while Morrison might not have wanted to go out and meet protesters... he won't be able to ignore the movement gaining momentum around the country.