Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the issue of historical rape allegations against Christian Porter is closed. He based his position on the ‘rule of law’ following the decision of the NSW police to close the case for there being insufficient admissible evidence which would have led to no consequence.
Mr Morrison took this position despite mounting calls inside and outside Parliament for an independent inquiry.
“I’m looking forward to him returning to his duties once that period of leave is completed,” the Prime Minister said, speaking to the media in Tomago in NSW Hunter region, his first public statement since Attorney General Christian Porter outed himself as the accused attacker yesterday.
“My judgment is based on the report of the police … They are the competent and authorised authorities to make the judgments about any such allegations. They have made their conclusions and, as people have said in similar occasions in the past, that’s where the matter rests.”
“I have to make my decisions based on the process followed by the police. There is no other alternative for a prime minister than the rule of law,” Mr Morrison said.
“There’s not another process. There is the rule of law.”
“When that process runs its course, as the NSW Police has said it has, then the government must rely on the rule of law.”
Mr Morrison added Christian Porter was “looking forward to coming back and to resuming his duties”.
“We have a lot to do, and we are doing it,” he said.
Christian Porter had vehemently denied the allegations he raped the woman in Sydney in 1988, saying it “did not happen”.
The woman took her own life last year and is no more.
Following Christian Porter’s strenuous denials and NSW Police closing their investigation due to insufficient evidence, his cabinet colleague Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also said on television “the matter is at an end”.
Despite the PM flatly rejecting any further investigation into the rape claims, saying “the rule of law” meant further processes were inappropriate, the Labor, the Greens and crossbench MPs have continued to call for a further independent or judicial review.
According to The New Daily, Michael Bradley of Marque Lawyers – who acted for the woman who has accused Mr Porter of rape – and himself asked for an enquiry has admitted he was not aware of any earlier precedents.
In a tweet Marque Lawyers calling for an inquiry, say that the current “trial by media” was “the worst possible outcome”.
What we are now witnessing is the trial by media which Christian Porter yesterday – rightly – said is the worst possible outcome. It could have been avoided if the PM had instituted an inquiry to address and resolve the matter. It's not too late to take that step.
— marquelawyers (@marquelawyers) March 3, 2021
But Labor is pressing ahead with its demand for further, independent inquiry. Both the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and his leader in the Senate Penny Wong had demanded “a proper investigation”.
“There has to be some form of inquiry or other process to give people the assurance that Mr Porter is a fit and proper person to be in the Cabinet. What sort of form that takes is a matter for the PM and he should take that responsibility,” Labor senator Penny Wong had said on Radio National on Thursday morning, perhaps hoping the Prime Minister would be inclined to take the matter further.