• Kristin Perissinotto

Christian Porter cannot become Morrison's scapegoat

The news that Christian Porter resigned from Cabinet over the weekend has been met with shock, suspicion, and anger. Shock that a male Liberal politician will seemingly pay some consequences, suspicion about who the anonymous donors were and how the conversation between Porter and the PM might have gone, and anger that the Minister only tendered his resignation to avoid disclosing his donors.

The mainstream media details this as the moment Porter's Prime Ministerial aspirations fell to pieces around him, a notion that was met with collective disgust from much of the Australian public. Is this really Porter's downfall? Was it not allegations of rape? Was it not character witnesses painting the picture of a man with very little regard and respect for women? Was it not his complete lack of sensitivity when responding to these matters? Apparently it was none of those. No, Christian Porter chose to fall on his own sword rather than be stabbed in the back by anothers'. He refused to disclose the donors to his legal case, claiming to be valiantly protecting them from what he calls the 'Twitter mob.'

But let's put Porter aside for just a moment. Behind the posturing and attempted reputation maintenance was the one and only Scott Morrison. Morrison has a lot to answer for when it comes to Porter's case. He went to many lengths to protect the Minister from reputational damage. He allowed Porter to keep his standing, take a substantial amount of leave, and all but refused to address the allegations at all, giving off the air that it wasn't his business to comment on. While Porter is the accused and should carry the responsibility of that, Morrison, as Porter's effective boss and highest-ranking politician in the country, has something to answer for.

Due to Porter's resignation, the investigation into his donors would not be completed, Morrison told the media on Sunday. Theories have been circulating about what might come next, with some guessing that the Prime Minister would announce the scrapping of the $90 billion nuclear submarine deal to 'distract' from Porter's announcement. But there is a big positive for the Liberal party and the PM himself wrapped up in the resignation. Porter could be the PM's scapegoat, and an opportunity for the Liberal top dogs to throw the blame on the former Minister and come away with clean hands.

Porter's (obnoxiously long) statement told the public in no uncertain terms that he will be contesting his seat next election, and intends to keep representing the people of Pearce, his electorate in WA. He has already nominated for party pre-selection, and if successful, he will stay endorsed as the Liberal member in the upcoming federal election. What comes next will ultimately be up to the Prime Minister and the powers that be in the Liberal party. And while I wholeheartedly believe Porter is not suitable for federal parliament and will be happy whether his demise comes from being kicked from the party or losing the election, it won't be enough.

Porter is an example of the culture in Canberra and in our nation as a whole. An upper-class, untouchable, white man who will not be held accountable for his actions. While he has not been charged with the alleged historical rape, we can confidently and unequivocally say that his actions regarding the blind Trust are unethical - why else would he have resigned? And the Prime Minister should have taken real and meaningful action. Porter should not continue to be endorsed by the Liberal party. He should not have a seat on the backbench nor front. He should not be in high office. And the Prime Minister should see to that.