Aussie cabinet minister at centre of rape allegation identifies himself

03 Mars, 2021, 13:45 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • By Canadian Press	
	 		Australian AG Porter denies rape accusation won’t resign

Australia's attorney-general has denied an allegation that he raped a woman 33 years ago in a case that has unleashed a political firestorm over the treatment of women in politics and plunged the government further into crisis.

"Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened", Mr Porter told journalists on Wednesday.

'The things I have read did not happen. "We didn't have anything of that nature happen between us", Porter said.

Porter said the reported rape allegation did not warrant him standing down from his job.

Brittany Higgins, 26, said she was treated like a "political problem" when she reported the 2019 incident, which occurred just a month before national elections. A very hard decision.

"While I have followed the rules and stayed silent, I have been subject to the most wild, intense and unrestrained serious of accusations I can remember in modern Australian politics".

The attorney-general said the woman's parents did not deserve the "frenzied politicisation" over the past few days.

Mr Wittle said the investigation is ongoing and once it is complete he will decide whether to hold an inquest.

"I remember the person as an intelligent, bright, happy person", he added.

"If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation", he added. Every child we raise can have their lives destroyed by online reporting of accusations alone.

He said the "key issue" was whether Mr Porter could continue to be Attorney-General.

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The defence minister took medical leave in the wake of the crisis.

Mr Porter, also Industrial Relations Minister, said he would not resign from his role as Attorney-General but would be stepping down for a short period to seek help for his mental health.

"All of my life I have just pushed through, but for the many caring family and friends who have asked me that question over the course of the last week, "Are you OK?" I have got to say my honest answer is I really don't know", he said. In an unsworn statement she claimed the incident happened in 1988 after a night of drinking and dancing in Kings Cross. She was 49-years-old.

Porter was forced to come forward after senior lawmakers last week received details of allegations that in 1988 Porter raped a then 16-year-old girl who committed suicide last year before making a formal complaint to police. Her family are believed to remain adamant they do not want her identified.

NSW Police opened Strike Force Wynderra to investigate the claims but for whatever reason the woman never submitted a formal statement about it.

NSW Police closed its investigation into the historical allegations on Tuesday because there was not enough "admissible evidence" to proceed.

Porter knew the woman as debaters in their teenage years.

But it's also the secrecy and opaqueness by which the prime minister and members of his cabinet have chosen to deal with the whole matter. "He owes it to his colleagues and the country".

On Monday, Morrison said he first heard about an anonymous letter to him detailing the claims last week and spoke to the minister and the AFP commissioner that same night. Yes, I did. And he vigorously and completely denied the allegations.

Morrison has announced two female government officials will lead reviews into the sexual assault complaints process and workplace culture in the parliament.

But Michael Bradley from Marque lawyers said he wouldn't have to disprove anything.



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