PM breaks silence over Christian Porter denying rape allegation

James Marshall
Марта 4, 2021

The rape allegation has raised questions about Prime Minister Scott Morrison's leadership at a moment when the government's majority has been cut to a single seat after a Liberal party MP defected last month.

An emotional Mr Porter fronted the nation on Wednesday to confirm he was the unnamed cabinet minister that sexual assault allegations were levelled against.

She went to police past year but withdrew the complaint before taking her own life in June.

'The matter is at an end because the police have spoken, ' Mr Frydenberg told Sky News on Thursday.

We adhere to the rule of law.

The attorney-general told reporters he would not resign, saying this would set a standard in how allegations were dealt with in politics.

"Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened".

A former crown prosecutor, Mr Porter entered parliament in 2013 and became attorney general in 2017. "You can not have unresolved allegations surrounding the most senior law office of the land".

The alleged victim reported her complaint to New South Wales Police past year but did not make a formal statement. The investigation was suspended after she died last June, aged 49.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters has accused Mr Morrison of trying to sweep the allegations "under the carpet" by not pursuing an independent inquiry.

"This was particularly evidence having regard to information contained in recent media reports". She had been one of his teammates, he added.

"The reality is unless there is some form of investigation, some form of process that gives Australians confidence in the first law officer, these questions will continue", she said.

'Christian Porter has emphatically denied the events and he's entitled to the presumption of innocence, ' Mr Frydenberg said.

"If I stand down from my position as attorney general because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career. based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print", he said.

Will the allegation be investigated?

NSW Police on Tuesday closed their investigation into the rape allegation put to them in February a year ago by the woman at the centre of the complaint, a Adelaide woman who took her own life.

Sexual assault cases typically can not proceed to prosecution in Australia without an alleged victim's testimony.

But Labor Senator Penny Wong insists an independent inquiry is needed to review the allegations and whether Mr Porter should be stood aside from his role.

The lawyer who represented the woman at the centre of the allegations has also called for an independent inquiry.

Christian Porter, 50, said on Wednesday the alleged incident with a woman he met at a debating event when she was a teenager never happened.

Mr Morrison said he was glad Mr Porter was taking two weeks off for the sake of his mental health.

There are many reasons why this allegation has been so explosive and potentially damaging for Scott Morrison's government.

"Christian Porter is entitled to the presumption of innocence and the rule of law needs to apply here".

Critics have seized on Morrison's statement that he did not know about the alleged rape until Higgins made a public statement last month even though several members of his staff were aware of the alleged incident a year ago.

"It is a matter for the Prime Minister". Given it seemed inevitable that police would close their case, the government is facing calls to launch its own investigation. Would a retired judge oversee it?

Legally, this is a bit of uncharted territory: would it be a private investigation? Would it involve a parliamentary committee?

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