Lisa Wilkinson and Waleed Aly have come to verbal blows during a passionate debate on The Project.
The hosts of Channel Ten’s news show were discussing a proposed law that will require priests to report confessions of child sex abuse from members of the church, when things got a little tense.
Lisa, 58, argued the changes were “a matter of urgency” for the many victims across Australia who have been failed in the past.
“For me it’s a no-brainer,” Lisa said. “There are children, many many generations of children who have suffered, for the government to not want to make these changes as a matter of urgency just makes no sense to me.”
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However her 39-year-old co-host took a different stance, insisting the proposal was a bit of a catch-22 for priests.
“Help me out here, because here’s the thing I don’t understand,” he asked. “How would introducing a law like this actually stop any of this happening?”
Lisa — a mum of three — didn’t back down, insisting no one is “above the law”.
However Waleed, who is very outspoken about his Muslim faith, tried to argue from the perspective of the religious clergy the law would affect.
“I’m not a Catholic. I have no interest in defending the confession or the institution of the confession or whatever, but breaking the seal of confession for them — not for me or you, but for them — is an excommunicable offence. It means eternal damnation for them,” he said.
The on-air spar continued for several minutes before Tommy Little stepped in to ease the tension.
Last month South Australia introduced similar laws that will see Catholic clergy fined $10,000 if they fail to report admissions of abuse made in the confessional.
It’s not the first time the pair have shared an awkward exchange on the show, with the former Today host ruffling Waleed’s feathers last for praising Pauline Hanson for her tenacity.
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