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Attorney-General Christian Porter denies historic rape allegation

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Christian Porter, who currently serves simultaneously as the Attorney-General of Australia, the Minister for Industrial Relations and Leader of the House has been revealed as the cabinet minister at the centre of the historic rape allegation.

Porter has denied the allegation.

The Attorney-General of Australia is the First Law Officer of the Crown in right of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Chief Law Officer of the Commonwealth of Australia. The AG is the minister responsible for national and public security. They function as a legal adviser to Cabinet, and are at the helm of the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Porter will not be stepping down and strongly denies any wrongdoing, saying multiple times "it simply did not happen."

Porter says he has been subject to a 'trial by media,' saying that if he were to step down from his position, it would set a precedent for all Australians. He says he had no knowledge of the allegations until he read them in the media.

He says "no-one put anything in any detail to me seeking a response. None of the senior politicians or ex-politicians that have known about these allegations and rumours put them to me."

Porter read his statement through tears this afternoon in a media conference held in Perth. He says he is 'not ashamed' to say he will be seeking 'professional help' and suggests his mental health as been affected.

He states that it was difficult following the rules, but he did so by saying nothing publicly while the NSW Police investigation was underway.

Porter stated:

"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, their job, their life’s work based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print. If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation. Every child we raise can have their lives destroyed by online reporting of accusations alone.

Before politics, I was a Crown Prosecutor. I worked in and believed in our justice system and I still do. As a prosecutor for years, I helped victims. I prosecuted in trial and at sentence the most serious sexual assaults against women and children... I always did so, trying to respect the rights of the people who were refused, but I always gave everything that I had to doing right by the victim in the often traumatic process of the justice system. I have given the bulk of my adult working life to public service and the law. I have given absolutely everything I had in the tank over the last year to our government, which has been desperately trying to help the country out of the worst crisis in its modern history."

In November of last year, Four Corners aired an episode, ‘Inside the Canberra Bubble’ which reported systemic cultural issues in parliament. One woman who came forward was Christian Porter’s former classmate and colleague, Kathleen Foley.

Foley studied at the University of Western Australia alongside Porter and later worked as a government solicitor while Porter was a crown prosecutor.

Foley was critical of Porter’s treatment of women in the episode. “For all of that time I’ve known him to be someone who was, in my opinion, based on what I saw, deeply sexist and actually misogynist in his treatment of women, in the way he spoke about women,” she told the ABC.

Porter categorically denied these claims.

Today, Porter stated that he first became aware of rumours surrounding the historical allegation in November of 2020.

In the same episode former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Christian Porter's conduct with young women as unacceptable.

He stated, "I had a meeting with Porter in my office and I told him that I had had reports of him being out in public, having had too much to drink and in the company with young women.”