Sunday 20th of June 2021

it never happened...


Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on the Cabinet Minister at the centre of a historical rape allegation to "front up" in order to clear the reputational cloud now hanging over his colleagues.


His comments come amid growing calls for an independent inquiry into the matter and as confusion reigns about whether a police investigation or coronial inquest into the subsequent death of the woman involved will go ahead.

The story about the toxic culture in Parliament House and the way women are treated in politics has morphed into one that is even more tragic, and which now also poses an existential threat to the Morrison government.

It involves an alleged, most brutal rape of a 16-year-old girl three decades ago – and her death by suicide last year.

The allegation is against a federal Cabinet Minister, and dealing with the allegation is made all the more difficult because neither party has been named.


Sexual assault support services:


Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy received a letter from the woman in late 2019, seeking their advice about what she should do about the alleged assault in 1988.

"It's a pretty harrowing account," Mr Turnbull told 7.30.

"But given that she had already engaged a lawyer, who had experience in the area, and was dealing with the New South Wales Police because the alleged offence occurred in NSW, we just confirmed that was the right course of action for her to take. And we didn't hear any more from her after that. Our response to her confirmed that she was doing the right thing.

"When I learned about six months later that she'd taken her own life, I contacted the South Australian Police Commissioner and forwarded to him her email to us and our response.

"I assumed there would be a coronial inquest."

Questions over what the PM should do

In forwarding the letter, Mr Turnbull was doing what Scott Morrison last week urged all parliamentarians to do if they became aware of criminal allegations.

But there are further questions about what a Prime Minister should do in these circumstances if the allegation involves one of his own ministers.

Mr Turnbull says one of those questions would be whether the PM would require the Minister who is the subject of the allegation to step down, pending an investigation.

"I think the answer is probably yes, but I've got a proviso to that, that sometimes, when an investigation is underway, the police would not want the person being investigated to know that it's underway," Mr Turnbull told 7.30.


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it did not happen because he said so...

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says a Cabinet Minister named in an anonymous letter alleging the rape of a woman in the 1980s "absolutely rejects" the allegation.

Key points:

  • The PM dismissed calls for the Minister to be stood aside while the allegation is investigated
  • The woman who made the allegation took her own life last year
  • The PM and Treasurer both say the matter is one for the police

The letter, sent to several members of Parliament including Mr Morrison, alleges the woman was raped in 1988 by a man who is now a minister in the federal government.

Mr Morrison says he became aware of the allegation on Wednesday evening last week and spoke to both the Minister and the Australian Federal Police Commissioner about it that night.

"The police have had this matter referred to them," he said.

"The individual involved here has vigorously rejected these allegations.

"And so it's a matter for the police, and in my discussions with the Commissioner there were nothing immediate that he considered that was necessary for me to take any action on."

Mr Morrison dismissed calls for the Minister to be stood aside while the allegation was investigated.

"I think it's appropriate for the matter to be dealt with [by] the federal police and the federal police to advise me of the nature of this, which they're doing," he said.

"And at this stage, the Commissioner has raised no issue with me — and the Department [of Prime Minister and Cabinet] secretary was present for that call as well — that would cause me to take action under the ministerial code. That's where we are right now."

New South Wales Police suspended their investigation after the woman took her own life last year.


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will porter drop the collaery case?

The first law officer of the land must be beyond reproach



by  | Mar 2, 2021 | Pearls and Irritations - MW



In the words of investigative journalist Michelle Fahy: “Federal attorney general Christian Porter is the first law officer of the land. The role  is a uniquely powerful position, one that is supposed to sit, unblemished and above the reach of vested interests. Yet as federal attorney general Porter has demonstrated a disturbing acquiescence to powerful corporate interests.”

Another theme that symbolises Porter’s time as Attorney General, writes Crikey, is that “there’s one rule for Porter and his colleagues, and another for everyone else”.

Prosecution of Bernard Collaery and his client Witness K

The federal government and particularly Christian Porter have been unrelenting in their prosecution of Bernard Collaery and his client Witness K for having the temerity of exposing the Coalition Government’s illegal behaviour in bugging the offices of the East Timorese Cabinet.

In early February, as Crikey reported, Porter and his bureaucrats tried to prevent Bret Walker SC from participating in the case by initially refusing to provide him with permission to join the case under national security provisions, and refusing to agree to moving the hearing dates.

Porter was also accused of interfering in the court proceedings by screening documents held by Woodside Petroleum. Independent senator Rex Patrick used Senate question time recently to ask why Porter demanded the federal government have “first access” to documents held by Woodside before they were provided to Collaery.

Porter has also ensured parts of the trial have to remain secret by issuing a national security certificate to keep certain material classified.

These are just a few snippets. For more detail, read:

Witness K and Bernard Collaery: An Unjust Prosecution Gets Even Worse

Breaking the law

Since taking the top legal job in Australia in 2017, Porter was in breach of Commonwealth legislation for three years by neglecting to table crucial reports documenting his use of secretive national security orders. This failure was only rectified after being revealed on the ABC’s Q&A by Nick Xenophon. Porter blamed it on an “administrative oversight”.

Attorney General Christian Porter breaches law over three years, claims it was a mistake

Thales – Porter defies 100 years of best practice

As Michelle Fahy reported for Michael West Media:

“Porter defied 100 years of best practice to prevent the nation’s auditor general from making public key sections of his report that was critical of a $1.3 billion arms deal between the federal government and multinational weapons maker Thales. Porter’s move sent ripples of alarm through the parliament, the public service, academia, and the wider community. ‘Gagged: a brazen attack on Parliament and the public interest,’ was the Canberra Times headline on a column by the ANU’s Emeritus Professor at the Crawford school of public policy, Richard Mulgan.”

Thales objected to key sections of the auditor’s report which found that Australia could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars had it gone to the United States to buy the fleet of light protected army vehicles, instead of buying 1,100 of Thales’ locally built Hawkeis. Christian Porter acquiesced to Thales and suppressed the key sections.

Dark side: Christian Porter’s night life intensifies deep concerns over political integrity

 The toothless Federal Integrity Commission

As Stephen Charles, the widely respected board member of the Centre for Public Integrity and former Victorian Supreme Court judge, noted:

“Christian Porter’s proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission is designed to protect politicians and public servants from investigation and exposure.”

Charles also notes that Porter’s attitude had “a stench of hypocrisy”. And that’s because unlike the public sector division, the law enforcement division retains the power to conduct public hearings, which shows Porter:

“is quite content for those employed in, or dealing with, the 11 law enforcement agencies, up to their highest levels, to be investigated in public, and (on his reasoning) to have their lives and reputations destroyed”.

Porter’s integrity commission is designed to trick the public into thinking the Coalition is serious about tackling corruption

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal

As reported by Crikey, Christian Porter appointed former Liberal Party senator Karen Synon to the $496,560 a year position as Deputy President and Division Head of the Social Services and Child Support Division, despite her not meeting the requirement in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act that she be an “enrolled legal practitioner” of a state Supreme Court for at least five years — a minimum qualification for even a lower-rung member of the AAT.

As Crikey further noted, the interview panel — which included at least one retired senior judge — did not interview her, let alone recommend her, for the role. Synon also has no experience in social services and child support law. Porter refused to comment when asked, merely saying that all appointments are made “on merit”.

 Excusing illegal conduct/above the law

The Federal Court found that then Immigration Minister Alan Tudge engaged in criminal conduct by detaining an asylum-seeker for five days in defiance of an order by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. In response Porter said: “The Minister clearly rejects [the court’s] conclusions.” Because the Immigration Minister was implementing Government policy, in Porter’s view, policy trumps the criminal law and trumps the orders of courts or tribunals.

Christian Porter has shown himself unfit to be federal Attorney–General


Christian Porter was the minister responsible for introducing Robodebt, the illegal automated debt recovery scheme Robodebt. In December 2016, as Minister for Social Services, Porter publicly announced the scheme’s implementation. While he finally conceded in May 2020 that the scheme was illegal he refused to apologise. As we are reminded by Asher Wolf in the article “Robodebt was an algorithmic weapon of calculated political cruelty“, never forget that the government publicly leaked personal details about freelance journalist Andie Fox after she published her personal account of Robodebt. The incident was “chilling, both to activism and speech”.

Power unto himself

As Crikey reported, last year Porter gave himself the power to decide if and when a journalist would be prosecuted for reporting government secrets. While the directive was described as a “safeguard”, it allows Porter — a politician — to authorise prosecutions of journalists in situations where they may have been critical of his own government.


About Pearls & Irritations

Pearls & Irritations is a platform for discussing public policy, both domestic and foreign, anchored in Australia. It holds good policy development to be the foundation of good politics, respecting ideas, including contrarian ones, and value the free exchange of ideas as the means to help Australia flourish. Pearls & Irritation aims to provide a platform for this exchange of ideas from a broadly left-liberal perspective, with emphasis on peace and justice.

It is not dogmatic, but does have a point of view.


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I wonder what he will talk about?...

talk about


oh, christian porter was the subject of the allegations...

So to recap:


He denied he did what the girl said in her allegations of rape.



He won't stand down as Australian Attorney General



he will take a short break for medical reason... (mental state)


So, the only thing we are left to discover is who did rape the young girl 33 years ago — or did she imagine the whole thing?


This will be studied in our next posting...

question for the minister...

You deny the allegations against you, and this is fair enough, but did you have consensual sex with the young woman?


See also: