Attorney-General Christian Porter denies historical rape allegations

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·4-min read

Attorney-General Christian Porter has revealed he is the cabinet minister accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in 1988.

Addressing reporters on Wednesday, Mr Porter vehemently denied the allegations and will not step down from his position.

His alleged victim reportedly went to police last year but decided to withdraw the complaint before taking her own life in June.

"The things that have claimed to have happened did not happen," he told reporters.

"The only thing that I am ever going to be able to say is the truth – and that is that nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened.

"I did not sleep with the victim. We didn't have anything of that nature happen between us."

Christian Porter addresses historical rape allegations. Source: ABC
Christian Porter addresses historical rape allegations. Source: ABC

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.

"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.

Mr Porter, a former crown prosecutor, said if he was to resign there would be no need for an attorney-general because there would be "no rule of law left to protect in this country".

Attorney-General struggles to recall details

The Attorney-General added no accusations from 33 years ago when he was 17 years old had been put to him before allegations were published in the media.

“It simply did not happen,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Porter said he could not recall specific details about whether he and the alleged victim were ever alone together, but said, "Look, I just don't think so".

"I've never been in the person's room or anything," he said.

When asked about a photo of himself and the alleged victim at a formal dinner, he said it was likely such a dinner took place.

"We were a group of people who were going out debating during the day, going out to functions and things at night. I am absolutely sure there would be such a photo," he said.

In regards to a statement the alleged victim made about them going out dancing after a dinner, Mr Porter said that too was likely.

"It was 33 years ago. I remember two evenings that week. One was a night at one of the colleges with bowls of prawns which sticks in my mind. I do remember a formal dinner and going out dancing – sounds about right," he said.

When asked why the accusations had been levelled against him, he said he did not know the answer to that question.

He added he had not had any contact with the alleged victim since 1988 and remembered it as a "happy time".

"It was 33 years ago, I remember the person as an intelligent, bright, happy person," he said.

Christian Porter's message for family of alleged victim

Mr Porter had a message for the alleged victim's family, saying he only knew their daughter during the briefest of periods during debating competitions.

"In losing that person, your daughter, you have suffered a terrible loss, and you did not deserve the frenzied politicisation of the circumstances of your daughter's death of the last week," he said.

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

Christian Porter speaks to media over rape allegations.
Christian Porter became visibly emotional during the press conference. Source: ABC

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted it's a matter solely for police despite pressure to conduct a judicial inquiry.

The government has been under intense scrutiny for more than two weeks after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was among those who have called for Mr Porter to come forward.

With AAP

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