Labor renews call for Porter investigation

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Labor has again sought to have former attorney-general Christian Porter investigated for potential contempt of parliament for accepting anonymous legal donations.

Manager of opposition business Tony Burke wants freshly minted House of Representatives speaker Andrew Wallace to consider a new motion for Mr Porter to be referred to the privileges committee.

"This is not a case of an MP making an honest mistake. This is not a case of carelessness. This is a deliberate and calculated attempt to evade the entire purpose of the register (of interests)," Mr Burke said on Tuesday.

Mr Porter in September updated his register of interests, disclosing anonymous donors paid part of his legal fees for defamation action against the ABC.

Government MPs last month voted down Labor's initial attempt for Mr Porter to be investigated by the committee over the donations.

This was despite then-House speaker Tony Smith being satisfied there was a prima facie case to investigate the West Australian MP for Pearce.

"My role was simply to say 'you must debate this and you must, as a House, make a determination'," Mr Smith told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"If I had a direct referral power, you wouldn't need to go through all of that procedure."

When asked if he would have referred Mr Porter to the privileges committee, Mr Smith replied: "Sure."

Mr Porter ended up settling his defamation against against the ABC after revealing himself as the cabinet minister at the centre of its story about a historical rape allegation.

He was demoted from attorney-general to industry minister and quit cabinet altogether rather than reveal who helped fund the case.

Mr Wallace will consider Labor's latest referral attempt and before announcing his decision.

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