Australia Scott Morrison dismisses calls for inquiry into historical rape allegation denied by Attorney-General Christian Porter
Former PM Malcolm Turnbull says Minister involved in historical rape allegation should 'front up' amid calls for independent inquiry
The historical rape allegation against a Cabinet Minister is posing an existential threat to the Morrison government — and former PM Malcolm Turnbull says the man at the centre of it all should come forward.His comments come amid growing calls for an independent inquiry into the matter and as confusion reigns about whether a police investigation or coronial inquest into the subsequent death of the woman involved will go ahead.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed calls for an inquiry into a historical rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter.
At a press conference yesterday Mr Porter "categorically" denied the allegation and said he would not be standing down from Cabinet.
The woman contacted police in 2019 but took her own life last year.
Christian Porter identifies himself as the unnamed Cabinet minister and strenuously denies historical rape allegation
The Attorney-General fronts the media in Perth to strenuously deny the allegation, declaring that: "Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened".Christian Porter has identified himself as the Cabinet minister who is facing a historical rape allegation.
On Tuesday, New South Wales Police said there was "insufficient admissible evidence" to investigate,.
The opposition has called for an inquiry into the allegation to go ahead, but has said it would be up to Mr Morrison to decide how, and what form it takes.
"I don't agree with that because I don't agree with the precedent or the prima facie case for there being such a process," the Prime Minister said.
"Because that would say the rule of law and our police are not competent to deal with these issues.
"This is not the mob process.
"There is not the 'tribe-has-spoken' process.
"That's not how we run the rule of law in Australia."
Mr Morrison said as PM he had "no alternative" but to follow the rule of law.
Yesterday, Mr Porter said Mr Morrison had given him his "full backing".
‘A disturbing day for women and the legal community’
Whether the allegations are true or not, can Christian Porter continue as Australia's attorney-general?In the legal profession, a person’s character means everything. The question now is whether Christian Porter is a fit and proper person to be Australia’s attorney-general, the highest law officer in the land.
"I can say categorically that what has been put in various forms in allegations, simply did not happen," he said.
"Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened."
Porter has support of his colleagues, PM says
Mr Morrison said he was glad Mr Porter was taking two weeks off for the sake of his mental health.
"I spoke to [Mr Porter] yesterday and I'm pleased that he's taking some time to get support to deal with what has obviously been a very traumatic series of events, as you'd appreciate," he said.
"He's getting that support, as well as the support of his colleagues, as he takes that time.
"I'm looking forward to him returning to his duties once that period of leave is completed."
"The police are the only body that are authorised to deal with such serious criminal matters," he said.
"Yesterday you saw an emphatic denial from Christian Porter … in the glare of the nation's media and the glare of the Australian public.
‘Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened’
A tearful Porter confirmed he would not be standing down as attorney-general over historic rape allegations. What he'll do next is a different question.Today, hours after Australian of the Year Grace Tame spoke with compassion and power about overcoming the trauma of sexual assault, Attorney-General Christian Porter finally shed light on the worst-kept secret in politics — that he was the government minister at the centre of a historic rape allegation that has sent shockwaves through the country.
"He's entitled to the presumption of innocence, as any citizen in this country is entitled.
"He has the Prime Minister's support and he has my support."
Cabinet colleague Peter Dutton praised Mr Porter for fronting the media yesterday, telling Nine Radio "he held up as best he could".
"He is a first class act and he demonstrated that yesterday," Mr Dutton said.
"The way he handled himself yesterday was quite remarkable and a great credit to the strength of his character."
Labor continues call for inquiry
Earlier on Thursday, Labor's Penny Wong said she agreed with Mr Porter that "trial by media" was not the way the matter should be scrutinised.
"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.
"It is a matter for the Prime Minister. He is responsible for the membership of the Cabinet and he is responsible for all of us, for ensuring Australians that everyone in that Cabinet is a fit and proper person for the office they hold."
Senator Wong repeated Labor's call for an independent inquiry but said how or what form any inquiry should take would be a question for the Prime Minister.
"My only point is that in the absence of some inquiry, some investigation that enables greater assurance [in the Attorney-General], what you see today will continue," she said.
"These are unprecedented circumstances."
SA Police has been given extra assistance from the coroner to continue its investigation into the woman's death.
A statement from state coroner David Whittle said: "Whilst SAPOL has provided information to me, I determined that the investigation is incomplete."
"This was particularly evident having regard to information contained in recent media reports.
"The investigation is continuing and once that investigation has been completed to my satisfaction, I shall determine whether to hold an inquest."
Former solicitor-general says PM should seek legal advice on Christian Porter rape allegation .
Eminent lawyer Justin Gleeson urges the Prime Minister to enlist the Solicitor-General in assessing whether Christian Porter is a fit and proper person to remain Attorney-General. © Provided by ABC NEWS Attorney-General Christian Porter has taken leave amid controversy about a historical rape allegation. (ABC News: Hugh Sando) Mr Gleeson, who was solicitor-general between 2013 and 2016, said Scott Morrison should have read the 31-page dossier sent to him anonymously by the friends of a woman who claims Mr Porter raped her 33 years ago.Mr Porter strenuously denies the allegation.