Why NSW Police never interviewed Christian Porter

NSW Police have revealed why they never interviewed former Attorney-General Christian Porter over a 1988 rape allegation and confirmed the alleged victim tried to deliver a statement via Skype during the coronavirus lockdowns.

Outlining new information about how the case was handled, police have confirmed the woman who accused Mr Porter of rape asked to deliver her witness statement via Skype during the COVID-19 pandemic – a request the NSW Police resisted and her friends and family were never interviewed after her death.

The woman ultimately decided to withdraw her complaint after COVID delayed the meeting with detectives and died by suicide at home just 24 hours later.

Mr Porter strenuously denies the allegations that relate to a 1988 debating conference in Sydney. He has launched defamation action against the ABC over the reporting of an anonymous letter sent to the Prime Minister setting out allegations against a member of Cabinet.

He subsequently self-identified himself as the target of the allegations.

RELATED: NSW Police never got letter outlining allegations

It was the woman’s decision to withdraw the complaint that resulted in police not interviewing Mr Porter after her death, according to NSW Police.

“It is current standard practice that once a signed victim statement has been obtained from a victim and further corroborative enquiries are made, the formal allegation can and should be put to the person of interest as per procedural fairness principles for investigators,” NSW Police said.

“On June 23, 2020 the (alleged) victim clearly communicated to investigators that she no longer felt able to proceed with the report. The NSWPF did not have a signed statement from the (alleged) victim, hence no formal allegation to put to the person of interest. In keeping with the (alleged) victim’s wishes no further investigation took place and the person of interest was not interviewed.”

NSW Police established Strike Force Wyndarra in February 2020 after receiving information from Mr Porter’s accuser.

Detectives from Strike Force Wyndarra were due to travel to Adelaide to take the woman’s formal statement in March 2020 but their trip was postponed after the COVID-19 outbreak.

RELATED: Accuser’s family begs media not to identify daughter

On Wednesday June 24, 2020, the woman’s body was located at a home at Adelaide by South Australia Police. She had committed suicide just hours after telling police she did not want to proceed with a formal complaint.

In answers to questions on notice, NSW Police confirmed the complainant did ask to provide a formal statement over the telephone or via video.

“Yes. On April 1, 2020, the (alleged) victim requested that she commence her statement by way of Skype,” the response states.

“Investigators consulted with the (alleged) victim on April 2, 2020 by way of teleconference. Options were presented to the (alleged) victim in relation to obtaining her statement. A joint decision by all parties was made not to conduct the interview remotely. There were a number of reasons which led to this decision. The (alleged) victim was understanding and supportive of this decision.”

NSW Police also confirmed they made six telephone calls to the woman which were not answered.

RELATED: Porter, Reynolds moved in Cabinet reshuffle

The alleged victim also made two telephone calls to investigators which were not answered. On both occasions the woman’s missed calls were returned within seven minutes and five hours and 26 minutes respectively.

NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge said the responses from NSW Police demanded further explanation.

“These answers raise yet more questions about the response of the NSW Police,” he said.

“When you speak to experienced investigators who have dealt with historical allegations they will tell you it’s not perfect but sometimes it’s the only option to take a statement by phone or video link.

“What is very distressing here is that this was an option that was requested by the complainant and open to police but for whatever reason was taken off the table.”

The answers provided also detail the Australian Federal Police decision to brief the NSW Police on the letter outlining the allegations rather than send it to investigators in full.

The letter requested urgent action be taken by the Prime Minister to investigate the 1988 alleged rape.

RELATED: Details of Porter’s ABC defamation suit

It urged the Prime Minister to set up an independent parliamentary investigation into the matter, similar to that commissioned by the High Court into allegations against former Justice, Dyson Heydon.

“When news of [the complainant’s alleged] rape becomes widely known to the public (as it most likely will), legitimate questions will be asked as to who knew what, when they knew and what they did,” the letter states.

“This is occurring today in relation to Brittany Higgins. The loss of respect for our political institutions will be exacerbated.

“There will be considerable damage to community perceptions of justice … and the parliament when this story becomes public if it is simultaneously revealed that senior people (like yourselves) were aware of the accusation but had done nothing.

“Failing to take parliamentary action because the NSW Police cannot take criminal action would seem like wilful blindness.”

The South Australia Coroner is yet to determine whether to conduct a public inquest into the woman’s death.

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The point that could confuse goals of March 4 Justice

The forces of progress are always at their best when they reach down and try to lift people up. They are immediately corrupted when they reach up and try to tear people down.

Consider the great seismic movements of enlightenment and emancipation throughout history: The campaign by William Wilberforce to abolish slavery. The campaign by Australian workers for an eight-hour day. The campaign by Martin Luther King for black civil rights. The campaign by Mahatma Gandhi to liberate India.

All of them saw suffering on a mass scale and devoted themselves to alleviating it. All of them ultimately prevailed.

This is the polar opposite of the ideologically driven and hate-fuelled power grabs of zealots like Lenin, Robespierre or Mao who saw progress only through the prism of an enemy to be destroyed and replaced with dictatorship and death.

We are seeing today this story play out on a much more intimate scale in Australia – the tension between those of goodwill who are genuinely seeking change for the greatest number, and political opportunists attempting to use the suffering of others as an ideological weapon.

I wrote some time ago about the profound danger of activists linking the criminal case against Cardinal George Pell too closely to the broader issue of institutional child sex abuse.

The focus should always have been on justice and restitution for all the victims involved rather than the crucifixion of an ideological foe.

Instead the opposite was the case. It was clear that in the eyes of many activists the purpose and indeed crowning glory of the royal commission was Pell’s conviction.

As it turned out Pell was unanimously and emphatically acquitted by the full bench of the High Court.

Pell’s conviction and subsequent acquittal made international headlines and were accompanied by deafening howls. Meanwhile various religious and other institutions were attempting to worm their way out of the government’s compensation scheme with almost no attention or scrutiny.

Today there is a similar focus on the treatment of women in politics, especially vulnerable female staffers, at the hands of more powerful men.

Yet this debate has now been thoroughly confused by historic rape allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter, which he strenuously denies and is now taking defamation action over.

RELATED: PM asks Porter to relinquish duties

There is now the inescapable coupling in the public mind of widespread complaints about assault and harassment by women in politics with the specific allegations against Porter. Once more activists have hung their cause on the tearing down of an individual rather than the elevation of the many.

It is also possible that by pursuing Porter they have set in train a series of events in which an inquiry, civil court case or coronial inquest will vindicate him. What would that do for the believability of other women coming forward?

And then there is the disingenuous hand-wringing and grandstanding on all sides of politics both inside the parliament and out.

Women marched in their thousands against violence – as well they should – yet when offered an opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister to help address the problem the rally’s organisers refused, resorting instead to a public game of brinkmanship in which they demanded he instead come out to face them.

And then there is the courageous speech of Liberal MP Nicolle Flint, who choked on tears as she recounted the disgraceful targeting of her by the activist group GetUp during the 2019 election campaign.

RELATED: Brittany Higgins signs forceful letter to PM

This resulted in the most horrendous abuse, defacement, online harassment and physical stalking, all of which is on the public record. It has now driven her, an all-too-rare conservative female MP, from office.

A GetUp spokeswoman this week said the group didn’t condone or encourage the abuse of Flint but of course it doesn’t have to. It merely gives its rabid activist base the target and the means of targeting them and then releases the hounds.

Tellingly, the spokeswoman also said the group condemned the abuse of Flint while at the same time saying that her claim GetUp fuelled it was false and a “smear campaign”. Really? Whatever happened to “believe all women”?

To his great credit, Labor leader Anthony Albanese has now unequivocally stood by Flint and her condemnation of GetUp, noting that his own seat had been targeted by it and other activist groups and that his female staff had been intimidated during an occupation of his electorate office.

Hopefully this is the final severing of Labor’s ties with such nasty hit squads. It is worth noting that despite their ferocious campaign, Flint won her seat and the more active GetUp

has become, the more elections Labor has lost.

Indeed, the most successful Labor era in Australian history was the great age of consensus under the Hawke and Keating governments, yet now it seems the loudest voices on the left are those of condemnation and confrontation – and they wonder why they’ve won majority government only once in the past quarter century.

Just imagine what might have been accomplished had the leaders of Monday’s march sat down with the Prime Minister to outline their goals and a pathway to reaching them.

Instead the following day was consumed by pointless outrage about the PM’s utterly banal remarks about the freedom to protest. A priceless opportunity for progress was lost.

The left is at its best when it seeks to build and raise up, not attack and tear down.

Maybe it is time for champions of change to focus more on who they are for than who they are against.

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Malaysia government appeals ruling on Christians using ‘Allah’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government on Monday (Mar 15) appealed a court’s decision to overturn a decades-old official ban and allow Christians in the Muslim-majority country to use “Allah” to refer to God.

The word has long been divisive in multi-ethnic Malaysia, with Christians complaining that attempts to stop them using it highlight the growing influence of conservative Islam.

But some Muslims accuse the sizeable Christian minority of overstepping boundaries, and the subject has fuelled religious tensions and sparked violence over the years.

READ: Malaysia high court rules that Christians may use the word ‘Allah’ in religious publications

Last week the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that Christians can use “Allah” in publications, siding with a member of the minority and striking down a ban that dated back to 1986.

A judge ruled the ban was unconstitutional, as Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

But the government lodged a challenge at the court of appeal saying it was “not satisfied” with the ruling, according to documents seen by AFP.

Authorities have long argued that allowing non-Muslims to use “Allah” could be confusing, and entice Muslims to convert.

The case began 13 years ago when officials seized religious materials in the local Malay language from a Christian at Kuala Lumpur airport that contained the word “Allah”.

The woman – Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a member of a Malaysian indigenous group – then launched a legal challenge against the ban on Christians using the term.

Malaysia has largely avoided overt religious conflict in recent decades, but tensions have been growing.

In 2014 a church was hit with petrol bombs, while Islamic authorities have seized Bibles containing the word “Allah”.

Less than 10 per cent of Malaysia’s 32 million people are estimated to be Christians, coming from mostly ethnic Chinese, Indian or indigenous backgrounds, while 60 per cent are ethnically Malay Muslims.

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Anti-lockdown protester David Weisinger interrupts to challenge Victorian law

An anti-lockdown protester interrupted his own lawyer during a court hearing to declare he wanted to challenge the validity of Victoria’s public health act.

David Weisinger is one of three anti-lockdown protesters who launched civil action against the state’s top health bosses chief health officer Brett Sutton and deputy public health commander Finn Romanes.

Police allege Mr Weisinger helped organise a protest outside Queen Victoria Market in September last year when clashes broke out between protesters and officers. He has been charged with incitement and is on bail.

His lawyer Serene Teffaha was about to address the court when the anti-lockdown protester interrupted.

“I understand that you’re representing me … I just want to say one thing to the court,” Mr Weisinger said.

But Justice Richard Niall said since he had a lawyer he normally didn’t get to address the court but allowed him to speak.

The anti-lockdown protester said he wanted to challenge the validity of the “impugned” Public Health and Wellbeing Act.

“If I need to be removed from being represented, I’ll do that,” Mr Weisinger said.

He asked the judge about whether this challenge was in the jurisdiction of the court.

“I don’t propose to answer that question for this reason. You are represented by a solicitor at this moment,” Justice Niall said.

The judge told Mr Weisinger if he wanted to challenge the validity of the legislation he would need to file separate paperwork and it was not appropriate to deal with it at the same time as the current case.

The protester sighed as the judge explained this.

His lawyer Ms Teffaha said she had to speak to her clients about their position following the High Court case involving Clive Palmer against Western Australia.

Mr Weisinger, Tony Pecora and Kerry Cotterill are arguing the state’s stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus lockdown burdened individuals’ freedom of political communication.

All three were charged for breaching restrictions to attend protests, according to court documents.

Ms Cotterill was handed an infringement notice while carrying a sign “displaying a political message”, an amended originating motion shows.

“She was otherwise complying with the public health directions; she was walking on her own in public, within five kilometres of her ordinary place of residence and was wearing a face mask,” according to the court document.

Mr Pecora was charged with incitement from the use of “his social media to organise protest activities”. His home at Middle Park was raided and he was granted bail but was barred from using social media.

The case will return to the Supreme Court in late April.

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Malaysia high court rules that Christians may use the word ‘Allah’ in religious publications

KUALA LUMPUR: In a landmark ruling, Malaysia’s high court said on Wednesday (Mar 10) that Christians are allowed to use the word “Allah” in religious publications for educational purposes. 

Three other words: Baitullah (the Arabic word for God’s house), Kaabah (the building at the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which is the direction of prayer for Muslims around the world) and solat (pray) can also be used in religious publications, according to Bernama.

In delivering her judgement, Court of Appeal Judge Nor Bee Ariffin said that a 1986 directive by the home ministry to ban the use of the four words by Christians was an “illegality” and “irrationality”.

“It is no dispute it (the material) was for her personal religious edification,” the judge was quoted as saying by the Star, referring to an incident in 2008 when customs officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport seized eight CDs from Ms Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a Malaysian Christian from Sarawak.

The CDs were entitled “Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah (Way Of Life In The Kingdom Of God)”, “Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah (Living Righteously In The Kingdom Of God)” and “Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah (True Worship In The Kingdom of God)”.

READ: Malaysia court allows rights groups to challenge Myanmar deportations

The judge also noted that Christian communities in Sabah and Sarawak have been using “Allah” for generations in the practice of their faith.

“The fact that they have been using it for 400 years cannot be ignored,” she was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insight.

Following the seizure, Ms Jill Ireland filed for judicial review against the home minister and the Malaysian government. She also sought official recognition of her constitutional rights to practise her religion and non-discrimination under the relevant articles of the country’s Constitution.

The High Court ruled in 2014 that the home ministry was wrong to seize the CDs and ordered them to be returned to Ms Jill Ireland.

In 2015, the Court of Appeal sent the two constitutional issues back to the High Court to be heard. The case was heard by the High Court in 2017 but the announcement of the decision was deferred several times until Wednesday. 

This was because the parties were said to be discussing possible resolutions outside the court, as well as delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, who acted for the home ministry and the government, confirmed to Bernama that the four words – Allah, Baitullah, Kaabah and solat can be used by Christians for their religious publications.

“However, publications that contain the four words must carry a disclaimer that (they are) intended for Christians only as well as a cross symbol,” he said.

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MP High Court Issues Notice to Union Ministry, Oil Companies for ‘Overcharging’ Ethanol Blended Petrol

The principal bench of Madhya Pradesh high court on Wednesday issued notices to the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and public sector oil companies while responding to a PIL seeking a reduction in fuel prices, with the petitioner claiming that consumers have to pay high levies for mixing of ethanol in petrol and diesel.

The petitioner Manish Sharma, coordinator of a Jabalpur-based NGO Nagrik Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch told News18.com over the phone that oil companies blend 6 to 7 per cent of ethanol in petrol and diesel per litre under the National Policy on Biofuels. So while the tax on ethanol was 5 to 7 per cent, the levy charged from consumers is as high as 25 to 35 per cent per litre of petrol and diesel, which means the buyer ends up paying Rs 4 to Rs 5 extra as tax, he said.

Customers could have ended up paying millions and billions of extra charges in the last ten years claimed Sharma who has moved a PIL be filed in HC through his counsel Sushant Ranjan Shrivastava on Wednesday.

Sharma claimed that he had drawn information on the matter through RTI and wrote to oil companies on tax anomalies but could not get any satisfactory response from these public sector undertakings which prompted him to move the HC in the wider public interest.

The petitioner claimed that biofuel blended in fuel should attract a GST of 5 per cent while the Centre and state together subject this to a levy of around 51 per cent.

The petitioner has pleaded with the high court to issue necessary oil companies’ orders to stop overcharging from the citizens on biofuel supply. Issuing notices to Petroleum and Natural Gas and Oil Companies’ union ministry, the HC shall hear the matter after six weeks.

Petrol and diesel prices have skyrocketed in the country in last few days as petrol is inching closer to Rs 100 a litre mark in most cities in MP while diesel is selling at around Rs 90 per litre. The rates of regular petrol had last month crossed the Rs 100-mark at a few places in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which levy the highest value-added tax (VAT) on the fuel in the country.

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Cabinet minister accused of rape allegation should not step down: Matt Canavan

The cabinet minister set to make a public statement about historical rape allegations should not step down from his position, Nationals senator Matt Canavan says.

NSW Police on Tuesday revealed there was “insufficient admissible evidence” to proceed with an investigation into the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in 1988 – before the man entered politics.

This is because the woman did not complete her formal police statement before taking her life in Adelaide last year.

The development prompted revelations that the accused cabinet minister would out himself and address the allegations on Wednesday.

Speaking on Today, Nationals backbencher Matt Canavan was asked if the cabinet minister at the centre of the allegations should continue in his role.

“I don’t see any reason why not,” Senator Canavan said.

“To this date what we have seen are allegations, serious allegations.

“But if the mere allegation or making of an allegation would cause someone to be removed from office, that obviously sets a very dangerous precedent.”

Senator Canavan said claims of this nature should be investigated, but the presumption of innocence should be cherished.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week rejected calls for an independent inquiry, saying the claims were a matter for the police and the minister had denied the allegations.

But the dead woman’s lawyer, Michael Bradley, told Sunrise that although the criminal process was done, a cloud still hung over the integrity of the cabinet minister accused of the “grave crime”.

“It is now a matter for the minister in question and the Prime Minister,” Mr Bradley said.

“My view is it would be appropriate for the minister to step down and an inquiry to be held, and then we wait and see what that results in.”

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has also backed calls for an independent investigation, led by former High Court judges.

He said this would prevent allegations from being “weaponised by third parties” for a political attack.

“There should be a process that takes it away from trial by politicians because some of that has political purposes and nothing really much to do with empathy for the victim,” he told 2GB.

Mr Joyce also blasted former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who on Tuesday cast doubt over the woman’s cause of death.

“You’re not really helping the person,” Mr Joyce said.

“You’re also an article of a public recrimination of a person that you might have thought was an ally and then he later on found out was a political enemy, and therefore you have an axe to grind.”

Opposition government accountability spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said Labor would wait until the cabinet minister made a statement about the shocking allegations before pushing for an independent inquiry.

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Friends of Cabinet Minister rape accuser urge Scott Morrison to launch inquiry

Friends of the woman who made a historic rape allegation against a current federal minister have paid tribute to their “warm” and “compelling” friend.

The unnamed woman took her own life in June last year, after grappling with reporting the alleged sexual assault to police.

She had reported the alleged assault to police in February 2020 and NSW Police detectives were due to travel to Adelaide last year to take her statement but they struggled to get into South Australia due to coronavirus border restrictions.

The woman alleges she was raped in Sydney in 1988 when she was 16 years old.

The man accused of the rape is currently a federal minister.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday said the Minister “vigorously” denies the allegations.

In light of the allegations hitting the media, the woman’s friends have painted a picture of her brilliance to ABC’s Four Corners.

Wine writer Nick Ryan told the program his friend was one of the most intelligent people he’d ever met.

“(Many of our friends) have gone on to fairly prominent and successful careers around the place, in politics or media or banking and various things … but (she) was always the best of them,” Mr Ryan said.

“Take me back to 1988 … to place a bet on which horse in this race is really going to go and succeed — my money would have been on (her).”

RELATED: Scott Morrison has spoken to Minister accused of rape

RELATED: Penny Wong says she met woman who accused Minister of rape

Jeremy Samuel, a Liberal candidate who has stood for pre-selection twice, and an entrepreneur, said his friend was “wonderful” but the alleged rape sent her life “off the rails”.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that we’re dealing with a really wonderful and special person, whose life went off the rails, and that’s extremely sad,” he said.

Mr Samuel, who has connections with the Liberal Part, called on the prime minister to launch an independent investigation into the alleged 1988 incident.

“I strongly urge the Prime Minister to commission an independent investigation into the allegations about the minister made by my late friend,” he said.

Mr Samuel is one of many friends who read the woman’s statement and repeatedly discussed the allegation with her, before she died.

Jo Dyer, another friend who is now a literary festival director, told Four Cornersher friend was “a star”.

Ms Dyer, who grew up with the woman in Adelaide and had known her since they were 15, said she was regarded as someone who would go far.

“She had such charisma and we all imagined that her life would be one of skyrocketing success, of achievement,” Ms Dyer said.

“(In our circle), there were many stars shining in the firmament, but (she) really shone the brightest, or certainly one of the brightest.

“She was a star, really.

“She was a girl with sharp intelligence, rigorous intellect, she was warm, she had a compelling eloquence.”

Ms Dyer said she the alleged rape had been “debilitating” to the woman.

“(It) really seemed completely consuming and completely debilitating to her,” she said.

“She was consumed with a trauma which she told me, deeply and consistently, was as a result of an assault that had (allegedly) occurred, early in 1988, and her life at that point was really devoted to exploring how she could get some kind of … peace from that.”

NSW Police formed Strike Force Wyndarra to investigate the allegation last year but officers struggled as coronavirus broke out across Australia.

Another of the woman’s friends, a not-for-profit executive, has offered to make a statement to NSW Police to assist the investigation.

The friend, Matthew Deeble, has revealed he was with the woman on the night the alleged rape occurred.

“She knew what she was going to be putting herself through by coming forward, with nothing to gain as a result of doing this,” Mr Deeble said.

“She was on a path to give her statement to the NSW Police, who were going to travel to South Australia to be with her and take that statement and move the matter forward.

“COVID restrictions stopped that occurring. And I know she was under enormous stress and distress because of those delays.”

Mr Deeble said the woman’s struggle was “heartbreaking” as he watched his friend withdraw her complaint before taking her own life in June.

“It’s not about politics, it’s about humanity,” Mr Deeble said.

South Australia Police are preparing a report for the state’s coroner.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Labor Senator Penny Wong, the politicians who received the letter with the allegations, have referred it to the Australian Federal Police.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who also received the letter, has referred the matter to the AFP.

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Malcolm Turnbull slams Scott Morrison, urges minister to “out himself”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has raised concerns over the death of the woman who accused a serving Liberal of a historical rape, revealing he has “questions in my own mind” over how she died.

Demanding the minister “out himself” in respect for his colleagues and the country, Mr Turnbull said it was untenable for the man to remain in the ministry.

Despite the woman having made previous attempts on her own life in the years leading up to the suicide, Mr Turnbull admits it’s “counterintuitive” but is now calling for a full coronial inquiry and police investigation.

“All I know is that she is dead. It certainly has been reported in the media as a suicide. I have a question mark in my own mind about the timing of it because it seems counter intuitive,’’ he said.

“There is an allegation of a rape, a horrific rape,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

“The complainant woman alleged that the man, who is now a cabinet minister, brutally raped her in 1988. She went to the NSW Police with a lawyer.

“And then, in 2020, just as she was about to sign the final witness statement … she takes her own life. She does so in the week that Dyson Heydon’s conduct is exposed in a report done by the High Court.

“Now it’s said that she suicided. Did she?”

Scott Morrison on Monday revealed the Liberal minister accused of rape, who has not been identified, “vigorously” denies the allegations and categorically refutes that he ever raped the Adelaide woman when she was a 16-year-old teenager.

RELATED: PM: Minister ‘absolutely’ denies teen rape

Mr Turnbull told ABC’s Radio National that there needed to be an investigation and the minister needed to “reveal himself.”

“He should out himself and he should provide a comprehensive statement,’’ he said.

“He should describe when he knew the woman, how he knew the woman, what dealings he had with the woman after the event. We need to know what he knew about the complaint and when he knew about it.

“Frankly, it’s not good enough for the Prime Minister to say “Oh, it’s a matter for police” The Prime Minister cannot outsource his responsibility for composing his ministry to the police.”

“He should require the minister to speak up. He owes it to his colleagues and the country.”

Mr Turnbull said the matter needed to be brought to a head before Parliament

“It is impossible for him to function in that cabinet,’’ he said.

“I mean are we seriously going to have a question time where the opposition asks every single minister whether they are the minister in the complaint,’’ he said.

“It’s not tenable. This minister has to have the courage … to out himself.”

RELATED: Bombshell teen rape letter rocks Canberra

Mr Turnbull made no suggestion of who might be involved in her death if it wasn’t suicide but is calling for police and the coroner to examine the matter. The complainant wrote to Mr Turnbull about the rape claims in 2019 and he urged her to go to police.

Legal sources in South Australia have told news.com.au that a coronial inquiry cannot be conducted into the woman’s death in Adelaide until police had completed their own investigations.

RELATED: Why police won’t get justice in alleged rape

While there is no active investigation into her rape claims – it was paused by her just days before her suicide – the AFP, SA Police and NSW Police are going through the material provided by her and friends who were with her on the night of the alleged rape to ensure all the documentation goes to the correct authorities.

NSW Police have told news.com.au that although rare, it is possible to conduct a rape investigation when the victim is dead. It would be done on a “case-by-case” basis and the prospects of anyone being charged, let alone convicted, is regarded as slim.

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Malcolm Turnbull slams Scott Morrison’s handling of minister rape allegation

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has taken a swipe at Scott Morrison’s handling of a historic rape allegation involving one of his cabinet ministers.

Mr Turnbull has also urged the minister in question to show “courage” and out themselves and release a public statement about the allegations.

The push comes after an anonymous letter detailing claims of an alleged rape in 1988, involving a now-cabinet minister, surfaced last week.

Mr Morrison on Monday rejected calls for an independent inquiry and the minister involved to stand down, adding the accused had rejected the allegations so it was “a matter for the police”.

But Mr Turnbull said the Prime Minister could not “outsource his responsibility” for the makeup of his ministry to the police and it was now “impossible” for the minister to function in the cabinet.

“Frankly, it’s not good enough for the Prime Minister to say, ‘Oh, it’s a matter for the police’,” Mr Turnbull told ABC RN.

“If the minister had vigorously denied the claims to the Prime Minister, he should also deny them to the public.

“The fact is he owes it to his colleagues and the country to step out step forward and say ‘I’m the person referred to’ and then set out all the details.”

Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy in 2019 received a letter detailing the “very grave” alleged rape from the woman who died last year.

He said two issues needed to be addressed; her death and the rape allegations, which he added could be investigated despite the former.

“She went to the NSW Police with a lawyer. And then in 2020, just as she was about to sign the final witness statement, she takes her own life,” Mr Turnbull said.

“She does so in the week (former judge) Dyson Heydon’s conduct is exposed in a report done by the High Court.

“You think those would be circumstances in which she would be encouraged, in the prospect of a complaint being taken seriously.

“We don’t know for sure that she took her own life. We know for sure that she’s dead, and there needs to be an inquest.”

Mr Turnbull said if the allegations had presented themselves while he was prime minister, he would have spoken to the police to ascertain whether the minister knew about the complaint and any investigation.

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