Christian Porter sues ABC for defamation

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read

Attorney-General Christian Porter has launched defamation action against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan.

Mr Porter is suing the public broadcaster for publishing "false accusations" against him in an online story that claimed he was the subject of historical rape allegations.

The legal action is also aimed at a report aired in November that alleged he was a misogynist and sexist.

His lawyers have accused the ABC of running a "trial by media" and Milligan of acting with malice, damaging Mr Porter's reputation.

"If the ABC and Ms Milligan wish to argue the truth of the allegations, they can do so in these proceedings," lawyer Rebekah Giles said in a statement on Monday.

Attorney-General Christian Porter is suing the ABC for publishing
Attorney-General Christian Porter is suing the ABC for publishing "false accusations" against him. Source: AAP

"Under the Defamation Act it is open for the ABC and Ms Milligan to plead truth in their defence to this action and prove the allegations to the lower civil standard."

More than 80,000 people have signed a petition calling for Mr Porter to be suspended as Attorney-General over the historical rape allegations he has strenuously denied.

The prime minister remains under sustained pressure as he continues to insist police have dealt with the historical allegations and no further action is required.

Mr Porter has taken mental health leave but Scott Morrison is adamant he will be welcomed back into cabinet. It was reported on Monday he will return to work on March 31.

Legal processes should be followed, government says

Finance minister Simon Birmingham rejected suggestions the government was out of touch with community expectations.

"I think Australians do expect that proper legal processes should be followed in relation to addressing such allegations," he told ABC radio.

"Those legal processes have been deployed by the NSW Police as they've outlined. Of course, there are also legal processes in relation to the tragic death (of the woman involved) and those processes remain under way in South Australia, and we should let them run their course."

Mr Porter claimed the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan had defamed him. Source: AAP
Mr Porter claimed the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan had defamed him. Source: AAP

Mr Porter's former wife was among thousands of West Australians to march across Perth on Sunday in protest against gender discrimination and violence.

Thousands more are marching on Parliament House in Canberra on Monday.

Other rallies are taking place in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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