Attorney-General Christian Porter has identified himself as the Cabinet minister at the centre of an historical rape allegation and strongly denied the claims.
“I can say what has been put forward in allegations, simply did not happen,” Mr Porter said at a media conference in Perth this afternoon.
Mr Porter said he will not be standing down as attorney-general in the wake of the historical allegation.
He will instead be taking a short period of leave to improve his mental health.
Mr Porter said standing down would set a precedent for anyone in Australia who has accusations presented to them.
“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,” Mr Porter said.
“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.”
The allegation dates back to 1988 when the woman was 16 and before Mr Porter entered politics.
A document outlining the woman’s claims was circulated to several politicians, including the office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Police said in a statement it had sought legal advice about the case which determined there was “insufficient admissible evidence to proceed”.
The woman who made the allegation first went to police in Adelaide in November 2019 and the matter was referred to NSW Police in February last year.
The woman took her own life in June.
Mr Porter said he had not had contact with the complainant involved in the allegations since they last spoke in 1988.
He said he had never seen the statement from the complainant which detailed the allegations.
“No-one has provided it to me. I have never been asked on it before. It was a long time ago,” Mr Porter said.
“But I can just say to you that the things that are written and said to have happened, wherever they have said to have happened, that is first time they have been put to me … they just didn’t happen.”
Mr Porter opened his media conference by addressing the parents of the woman who made the allegation.
“You did not deserve the frenzied circumstances of this past week,” Mr Porter said.
“I hope you can understand that.”
Earlier today, the woman’s family released a statement requesting privacy.
“The family of the deceased do not wish to make any comment in relation to this matter as they continue to experience considerable grief arising from this loss,” a statement released through lawyer Shona Hoskins read.
“They request that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”
More to come.
Source: 9News | World News