"When a country's parliament fails its own people, how can it be trusted and point fingers at others?"
That's the damning question asked by Chinese state-run media on Thursday as it once again went on the offensive amid a torrid period for Sino-Australian relations.
Plagued by sexual abuse allegations last year, Parliament House was the main target of the opinion piece that appeared on the Global Times, a Beijing mouthpiece and renowned critic of Australia.
Highlighting Brittany Higgins' story and the "nightmare" aftermath she endured in the wake of her sexual abuse allegations, commentator Xin Ping suggested Parliament House was rife with misconduct, citing the parliamentary workplaces review carried out by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
"For any young women coming to the Parliament House with aspirations of working for the public, is there anything more disgusting than being bullied or sexually abused by an MP who minutes ago preached on stage about democracy and human rights?" Xin asked.
"Unfortunately, the answer is YES.
"That building has become a safe house for criminals and lechers, as few have ever been held accountable for their misconduct, and many more were often rewarded for their behaviour, according to the same report.
"It has been an open secret that devils are walking in daylight while the victims' cries are muffled."
It comes days after former Australian of the Year and sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame produced a glaring stare for Prime Minister Scott Morrison – widely believed to be the result of Mr Morrison's handling of women's issues.
Australia's human rights stance branded 'darkly ironic'
Beijing has long accused Australia of not having a leg to stand on when it comes to pointing the finger over a range of issues.
Australia has taken a vocal stance on Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, issues that have become mired in human rights accusations. Such a position has enraged China, which refutes Canberra's involvement in what it believes to be "internal matters".
"It's darkly ironic that a human rights abuser talks about human rights on stage, especially when the scandal occurs in the heart of the Australian political structure that has a track record of slaughtering Indigenous people, shooting children in Afghanistan, and torturing migrants in offshore detention centres," Xin said.
Tensions between the two countries boiled over towards the end of 2021 with Defence Minister Peter Dutton's ramped up commentary on the threat China poses to the region.
Mr Dutton repeatedly warned the chance of military conflict with China involving Australia had increased significantly, prompting China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian to label him "delusional".
And while recent weeks have been particularly quiet for the damaged relationship's standards, China on Monday reacted angrily to suggestion Beijing was responsible for the takeover of Mr Morrison's WeChat account.
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