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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Berejiklian in ‘no doubt’ Coalition will lose Upper Hunter after Michael Johnsen’s resignation


Gladys Berejiklian says it would take “more than a miracle” for her government to win a by-election brought on by the resignation of an MP facing rape and sexting allegations.

NSW Nationals MP Michael Johnsen resigned from parliament on Wednesday despite denying an allegation he raped a sex worker.

The move has prompted a by-election in Upper Hunter, held by Mr Johnsen since 2015, and plunged the government into a minority.

The NSW Premier said she had “no doubt” the Coalition would lose the seat, which it held by 5 per cent.

RELATED: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reacts to rape accusation against Nationals MP

She said the history of by-elections in the state suggested a double-digit swing against sitting governments.

“It would take more than a miracle for us to keep the seat,” she said on Thursday.

“I have very little confidence we will retain the seat, but that is not to say we won’t put a strong case.

“We will put our best foot forward, but the maths are against us.”

Nationals leader John Barilaro banished Mr Johnsen to the crossbench on Tuesday, demanding the MP resign from parliament over “disgusting behaviour”.

That was prompted by revelations Mr Johnsen had sent lewd messages to a sex worker from NSW parliament, including an offer for her to visit him at the building.

Mr Johnsen has admitted sending the messages during question time in 2019 but has denied raping the same woman in the Blue Mountains that year.

He outed himself as the MP at the centre of an investigation by NSW Police after Labor MP Trish Doyle raised the allegation under parliamentary privilege.

Mr Johnsen said he had willingly co-operated with police and was confident an investigation would clear his name.

Ms Berejiklian said on Wednesday she was “very relieved” to hear of his resignation, describing it as a “good outcome”.



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NSW Nationals MP Michael Johnsen messaged sex worker during question time


A NSW MP accused of raping a sex worker in the Blue Mountains exchanged lewd text messages with the woman during Question Time and invited her to Parliament House for sex in his office, according to a new report.

The ABC has obtained a string of text messages between Upper Hunter Nationals MP Michael Johnsen and the unnamed sex worker, which show he offered to pay her $1000 to come to parliament and sent her a video of himself performing a lewd act.

The broadcaster has matched time-stamps of the messages in 2019 with parliamentary footage, in which Mr Johnsen can be seen sitting in the Lower House chamber texting on his mobile phone.

“I’m in QT and f*** I’m horny and want you so bad — need you,” he wrote in a September 26, 2019 message as he was in parliament for the passing of the NSW Reproductive Health Bill.

“I want you and can’t wait to f*** you over and over again.”

The pair exchanged a number of explicit texts and images.

At 3.53pm he sent her a video, apparently of himself masturbating in a toilet while holding a tablet displaying an image of the woman in his hand.

NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro has called on Mr Johnsen to resign immediately.

“There is currently a police investigation underway which we must let proceed without prejudice,” Mr Barilaro said in a statement.

“In light of this investigation, last week Michael Johnsen was removed from the Nationals and Coalition Party Rooms and suspended from the National Party. Following reports this morning I contacted Mr Johnsen to express the view that his position as a Member of Parliament is untenable.”

He continued, “This is disgusting behaviour and will never be acceptable, nor should it be, and I’m calling for Mr Johnsen to resign from Parliament immediately. It is now up to Mr Johnsen to reconsider his position as an independent Member of Parliament.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian also said she is “absolutely disgusted” by the reports.

Earlier this month, Mr Johnsen outed himself as the man accused of raping a sex worker, hours after Labor MP Trish Doyle used parliamentary privilege to make the allegation against an unnamed MP.

He has not been charged by police.

RELATED: Gladys Berejiklian reacts to rape accusation

Mr Johnsen said he was “devastated” by the allegations and was “confident any investigation will conclude that I am an innocent party”.

“I have voluntarily spoken with NSW Police and I have and will continue to fully co-operate with their inquiries,” he said in a statement, announcing “without admission” that he was stepping aside from his Parliamentary Secretary role and taking leave “effective immediately for a short duration”.

In her remarks on the floor of Parliament, the Blue Mountains MP said she had been contacted by the woman 18 months ago reporting she had been raped after responding to an ad on a classifieds site.

The alleged rape occurred at a remote lookout in the Blue Mountains on September 15, 2019.

Ms Doyle said the woman had “been clear with her client from the outset about what she was willing to do with him, and what she was unwilling to do”, and that “she tells me that she made herself clear that she was not willing to have penetrative sex with him”.

“However, towards the end, the man moved around behind her and assaulted her in a way she had not consented to,” she said.

Mr Johnsen vehemently denies the allegation.

The woman was at first reluctant to report the matter to police but did so in September last year.

Shortly after Mr Johnsen outed himself, NSW Police confirmed an investigation was underway into “allegations of sexual violence against a woman in the Blue Mountains in September 2019”.

The matter was reported to the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad in September 2020 “and has been under investigation since”.

“As the inquiries are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide any further details,” police said.

‘I’m in politics. I’m an MP’

The woman told the ABC she first contacted Mr Johnsen in August 2019 after he placed an ad on a classifieds site offering “cash for bbbj”, an acronym for “bare-back b*****b”, or fellatio without a condom.

Mr Johnsen sent the woman a photo of himself and wrote, “I’m in politics. I’m an MP … I’m also divorced and unattached so don’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing. I still try to keep it all on the lowdown though X.”

The woman said at first she thought “it was somebody trying to set him up” because she hadn’t asked for photos and “didn’t really care for his personal information”.

On September 9, 2019, Mr Johnsen invited her to attend NSW Parliament the next day, and sent her a link to a budget estimates session.

“I have budget estimates scheduled between 9.30-12.30 tomorrow,” he wrote.

“My PH office could be fun … come to the Jubilee Room and wait for me there. If you wanted to, I’d be happy to shout you lunch here at PH when I’m done and dessert, well we know how that could be (wink emoji).”

She replied, “Haha, that could be fun!”

The woman cancelled the meeting because she had injured herself.

After their September 15 meeting at the Yellow Rock lookout, Mr Johnsen invited the woman to his Potts Point apartment.

She declined but agreed to meet him for paid, consensual oral sex in the Blue Mountains on September 23.

The next day, she texted him a topless photo of herself. He replied, “Hmmm … not fair. I’m sitting in the chamber with a hard on now! Xxx”

The pair met for the last time on September 26, 2019 at the heritage-listed Lennox Bridge in Glenbrook, where they had paid, consensual sexual intercourse, the woman told the ABC.

She claims he only made partial payment for their third meeting and stopped responding to her text messages.

She complained about his conduct to her local MP, Trish Doyle, on October 24, 2019.

She told the ABC she didn’t report the Yellow Rock incident to police because she did not think they would take her seriously.

“I don’t trust the police,” she said.

“What’s the point when I was answering an ad from (the classifieds) – a prostitute complaining about having sex? I don’t think it’s going to be very high on their agenda.”



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Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds lose Attorney-General in major Cabinet reshuffle


Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds have been stripped of their portfolios, with Prime Minster Scott Morrison announcing a cabinet reshuffle after several weeks of chaos.

Mr Porter will lose the Attorney-General post and Ms Reynolds has been dumped from the Defence Ministry.

Mr Porter announced he was going on mental health leave at a press conference on March 3, in which he vehemently denied a historical claim that he raped a 16-year-old girl.

He has been under pressure to resign after he revealed himself as the minister at the centre of the rape allegation.

Mr Porter has never been charged and police confirmed there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed with an investigation, labelling the matter “closed”.

His decision to launch defamation proceedings against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan saw calls for him to be removed from his position intensify, over conflict of interest concerns.

Meanwhile, Senator Reynolds has been on leave since February after being admitted to hospital to receive treatment for a pre-existing heart condition.

She has faced intense criticism over her handling of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape in Parliament House — first reported by news.com.au in February this year.

The former Liberal Party staffer has alleged she was raped at Parliament House in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office by a colleague.

Police are investigating the incident and a political inquiry was suspended on Monday over concerns it could interfere with the criminal probe.

The Morrison government has been under renewed pressure since the publication last week of “disgusting” images and videos of male senior government staff performing sex acts in Parliament House.

A shambolic press conference by Scott Morrison the next day, in which he falsely claimed News Corp Australia – publisher of news.com.au – was subject to its own harassment investigation, saw criticism intensify.

On top of that, the saga surrounding Queensland MP Andrew Laming has added fuel to the fire, with him now saying he won’t contest the next election.

More to come …



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World’s media reacts to uprising in Australia


Australian women and the allies who marched with them during a “furious reckoning” about sexism and rape culture on Monday have made headlines around the world.

Tens of thousands joined March For Justice rallies in cities around the country and outside Parliament House in Canberra demanding cultural change.

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who claimed she was raped inside a parliamentary office and sexual assault survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame delivered powerful speeches in Canberra and Hobart respectively.

It was a significant moment in Australian history that did not go unnoticed by the world’s media. Time Magazine, the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Irish Times and Al Jazeera each dedicated significant coverage to the events.

Time Magazine’s headline read:‘We’ve Had Enough.’ Furious Australian Women Force a Reckoning on Sexism After a Rape Allegation in the Government.

The publication’s story touched on how deeply ingrained the culture of sexism and sexual harassment has become.

“Furious women across Australia are now opening up with their own experiences of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” it read. “And it’s begun conversations about inherent discrimination and mistreatment of women — both within the halls of Australian government, and across the wider society.”

Al Jazeera made note of the historic rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter and the allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Craig Kelly’s political advisor, Frank Zumbo.

“Allegations have been laid by six women against a senior parliamentary aide Frank Zumbo, drawing attention to what many critics say is a toxic culture of masculinity within the nation’s federal parliament,” Al Jazeera wrote.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to refuse to hold an independent inquiry into the allegations against Porter, and on Monday also refused to meet protesters on the parliament’s lawn in Canberra.”

The New York Times made mention of the longstanding issues Australia has failed to address.

“Wearing black and holding signs reading; enough is enough’, thousands took to the streets across Australia on Monday to protest violence and discrimination against women, as a reckoning in the country’s halls of power sparked by multiple accusations of rape continued to grow,” the Times wrote.

“The marches in at least 40 cities represented an outpouring of anger from women about a problem that has gone unaddressed for too long, said the organisers, who estimated that 110,000 people attended the demonstrations nationwide.

“With the next national election potentially coming as early as August, experts say it is something that the conservative government, which has come under stinging criticism for the way it has handled the accusations, ignores at its own peril.

The Washington Post celebrated those who took to the streets with messages denouncing the ongoing poor treatment of women.

“(Protesters) carried placards decrying misogyny, victim-blaming, abuse and rape,” the newspaper wrote.

“In Melbourne, a banner listed 900 women who have lost their lives at the hands of men since 2008. The rallies follow a wave of allegations of sexual assault, abuse and misconduct in some of the highest offices of Australian politics.

“They come amid a growing global movement demanding officials do more to protect women and to hold perpetrators of harassment and assaults accountable.

“The reckoning over assault allegations has reached the highest ranks of government. On Monday, the country’s top law official filed a defamation suit against the state broadcaster over an article that reported a letter had been sent to the prime minister containing a historic rape allegation.”

The BBC wrote that Monday’s rallies “could be the biggest uprising of women that Australia’s seen. And the Irish Times wrote that “public anger over the government’s handling of the alleged incidents mirrors the sentiment on display at protests in London over the weekend following the killing of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home at night-time”.

“Mr Morrison said Australia had made big strides toward gender equality over the years, though he acknowledged the job was ‘far from done’ and he shared the concerns of the protesters.

However, he raised some hackles by expressing pride in the right to peaceful protest when he said ‘Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not in this country.’”



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Christian Porter to return this month, details of his defamation suit against Louise Milligan & ABC emerge


Christian Porter has accused ABC journalist Louise Milligan of engaging in a campaign to oust him as Attorney-General, according documents outlining his defamation suit.

Details of Mr Porter’s defamation proceedings against the ABC and Milligan, over a February article outlining details of an historical rape allegation, have emerged in his statement of claims.

The article revealed a “senior cabinet minister”, since revealed to be Mr Porter, had been accused of raping a 16-year-old in Sydney in 1988, which he categorically denied.

His office has announced he will return to work on March 31, after taking a period of mental health leave.

Mr Porter said an article published by Milligan on February 26, revealing the Prime Minister had received a document outlining the allegations, was part of a “campaign” to oust him from his role.

RELATED: Joyce breaks ranks, calls for independent Porter probe

NSW Police could not investigate the matter after the alleged victim took her own life last year, a day after telling them she no longer wanted to pursue it.

“The ABC and Milligan knew that the allegations could never be proved in any criminal or civil proceeding and despite that published the article to harm Porter and to ensure that he was publicly condemned and disgraced in the absence of any finding against him,” the complaint alleged.

An ABC spokesman confirmed the broadcaster would defend the action.

Under defamation laws, the broadcaster has available to it a number of potential defences, including truth, in which it would have to prove the allegation was true on the balance of probabilities.

Mr Porter said he would be prepared to testify under oath.

Four Corners aired an episode in November 2020 in which it accused Mr Porter of inappropriate sexual conduct. The 2020 broadcast did not include the rape allegation.

Mr Porter’s complaint said that by publishing the February article, which referred only to a “senior cabinet member”, Milligan and the ABC confected a scenario in which he would be “obliged” to out himself.

Mr Porter was widely named on social media, and the complaint claimed he was easily identifiable as one of just three male cabinet ministers of a similar age to the alleged victim.

After the Attorney-General outed himself, Four Corners aired a follow-up program outlining the allegation in detail.

“The ABC and Milligan were frustrated that they were unable to broadcast the allegations in the November Four Corners as they intended (because they were indefensible) and thus disingenuously published the article without naming Porter, in order to give effect to their intention to harm,” the complaint said.

It also accused Milligan of failing to disclose her “close friendship” with friends of the alleged victim.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has consistently refused to launch an independent inquiry into the allegation, claiming it would undermine the rule of law.

But Labor leader Anthony Albanese demanded he do so during a fiery parliamentary question time on Monday.

It comes after James Hooke, a former boyfriend of the alleged victim, revealed he had had what he considered “relevant discussions” with her about the alleged incident since mid-1988.

“These are all issues that require examination. The idea, as the Prime Minister has said, that we can just move on, that what has been happening over recent days and weeks can be unseen and unheard, is just not fair dinkum,” Mr Albanese said.

Mr Hooke said he also had “clear recollections of relevant discussions I had with Christian Porter” from 1992 to the mid-1990s.

Mr Porter claimed he had only been aware of a “whispering campaign … over the last few months”.



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Christian Porter accuser’s family begs media not to identify daughter


The family of the Adelaide woman who accused Attorney-General Christian Porter of a historical rape has pleaded with the media not to identify their “beloved” daughter amid fresh claims she told a friend and a counsellor of her alleged ordeal years ago.

The champion debater’s family has revealed they understand that friends and family wanted to say her name, but asked that the media refrain from identifying her or using her image.

“The family appreciates that those who knew their beloved daughter will refer to her by name in private,’’ the family said.

“However, in relation to media organisations they request that their deceased daughter not be referred to by name and that there be no images or recordings published from which she might reasonably be identified.

“The media attention over this last week has intensified the grief that they are already enduring.

“They again request that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”

The plea for privacy came amid explosive new claims on the ABC’s Four Corners that the woman first told a counsellor about the allegations years ago.

The woman’s ex-husband has also told news.com.au that he has postcards confirming she travelled to Perth in 1994, the same date she claims she caught up with Mr Porter.

The Attorney-General has claimed he knew her for the “briefest” of periods in 1988, but the woman claimed they were in contact over 1986 to 1988 in debating circles and met in Perth in 1994. Mr Porter’s spokesperson has stated it is “not impossible” that the 1994 meeting occurred but he does not recall this.

Four Corners revealed on Monday that the woman first sought help from the counsellor in about 2013 and saw her six times.

The counsellor told Four Corners the woman spoke of a boy called Christian who she had been debating with. The account is at odds with claims raised in Crikey that her allegations are recently “recovered memories” — a theory her friends reject.

The counsellor said the woman was “extremely articulate”, “not delusional”, and volunteered the allegation of her own volition — blowing open the idea, which was reported over the weekend, that she somehow “recovered” her memory of the attack by visiting a controversial Sydney psychologist.

“She told me she had always remembered it,” the counsellor said.

RELATED: PM backs inquest into alleged Porter rape

RELATED: Two major questions in Porter claims

The woman made a report to the police in 2019, however she withdrew her complaint just 24 hours before dying by suicide in Adelaide in June 2020 citing mental health concerns. NSW Police have since confirmed that the case is closed.

Amid pressure for an independent inquiry into the allegation, the NSW police force’s commissioner Mick Fuller said today that the case would have struggled to get to court.

“It is not impossible but almost impossible to proceed with a matter like this without the (alleged) victim,” Mr Fuller told 2GB radio.

“The matter itself, even with the (alleged) victim, probably would’ve struggled to get before a court. These are challenging matters, particularly when they’re historic.”

Mr Porter last week addressed the media to strenuously deny all allegations against him, saying “it just didn’t happen”.

“I was 17 years old and the other person was 16. We were both selected, with two others, on the Australian Schools Debating Team and we went to Sydney University for an international competition. It was a long time ago and I’d always remembered it as a happy time,” Mr Porter told reporters last week.

“But I can say categorically that what has been put in various forms and allegations simply did not happen.”

The psychiatric history of the Adelaide woman, including previous suicide attempts, and two factual errors in her statement have prompted speculation that she may have used repressed memory theory to access her trauma.

The South Australian Coroner is yet to decide whether to conduct a formal inquiry into the woman’s death.

During last night’s Four Corners, reporter Louise Milligan revealed that the ABC was aware of the rape allegation when they put to air last year’s report “Inside the Canberra Bubble” but were unable to report the claims for legal reasons.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had revealed in the original documentary that he had questioned Mr Porter about his conduct in Canberra bars.

“I had a meeting with Porter in my office and I told him that I had had reports of him being out in public, having had too much to drink, and in the company with young women,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

RELATED: Photo of alleged teen victim with minister

“And he didn’t argue with that. And I just said, ‘Look, this is unacceptable conduct for a Cabinet Minister, and it exposes you to the risk of compromise.’”

Mr Porter, who is now a single man and is separated from his second wife, has vehemently denied reports that he kissed a Liberal staffer in a bar in the night in question.

However, he has conceded he regretted some of the things he wrote in university law journals that were raised by the original Four Corners report, including his “joke” that female lawyers were “well-dressed prostitutes” and that a debating opponent’s case had “more holes than Snow White’s hymen.”

Regardless of those remarks, Mr Porter said the allegations of rape were completely untrue and utterly devastating.

“If I stand down from my position as Attorney-General because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life’s work, then any person in Australia their job, their life’s work, based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print. My guess is that if I were to resign and that set a new standard, well, there wouldn’t be much need for an Attorney-General anyway, because there would be no rule of law left to protect in this country.”

One of the members of the debating team, Matthew Deeble, told Four Corners that he remembers the woman going out after dinner but that he didn’t know what happened after that.

“I attended the dinner, but I was leaving to go back to Melbourne reasonably early the next day, and so I attended the dinner and then headed back to the dormitory rooms where we were billeted during the event, and (the woman) and others continued on out that night. where we were billeted during the event, and Kate and others continued on out that night,’’ he said.



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Coronial inquest into accuser’s death the only way forward


Australia’s justice system has failed the Attorney-General Christian Porter, his accuser and their families.

This is through no fault of the Attorney-General. It is also not the fault of the woman’s family.

It is a consequence of the untimely death of the 49-year-old complainant.

Some suggest that the best response is to establish a quasi judicial parliamentary inquiry to consider the rape allegation denied by Mr Porter, to air the grievances of all sides.

But critics are right to observe that this would set a bad precedent.

In what jurisdiction around the world has a Parliament established a parallel justice system to make findings about a criminal matter with a dead chief witness for the prosecution?

How would this work? What would be the evidentiary tests? What would be the consequences? What other criminal allegations would Parliament start prosecuting next?

Would it only be for politicians and allegations previously made by dead people? Or does it represent a new US-style confirmation hearing into the current and future Attorney-Generals?

There is an alternative. The answer is a coronial inquest into the death of Mr Porter’s accuser. This is an option her family supports.

Let’s consider what makes this case so unique and perhaps impossible to resolve.

RELATED: Family of woman who accused Christian Porter of rape support inquiry

Firstly, the complainant is dead. As a result, the NSW police say there’s not enough admissible evidence to launch an investigation, let alone a prosecution.

Earlier this week, the NSW police declared “case closed”.

Some journalists have rushed to suggest that as a result Mr Porter has been “cleared” but sadly and entirely unfairly for Mr Porter, this is not what has occurred.

Since there was never any police investigation – the Attorney-General has never been interviewed police – there was never anything to be cleared of.

Is this what journalists think constitutes police procedure these days?

The coppers don’t even ask you if you’ve done it but if the alleged victim dies it’s “case closed” and you’re “cleared” on the 6pm news?

If so, we have bigger problems in Australian journalism and basic reading comprehension than we realised.

Of course, the police are entirely within their rights not to proceed.

They explained the reasons why on Thursday including the fact that the distressed woman rang them in June to withdraw her complaint, cut her hair to replicate the Louise Brooks style bob she had in 1988 and died by suicide in her backyard.

With her dead, the NSW police understandably don’t think there’s any chance of laying charges, let alone getting them to court.

RELATED: NSW Police reveal Porter accuser asked to drop complaint before taking her own life

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was also entirely correct not to show the Attorney-General the anonymous letter outlining the woman’s claims in an unsworn affidavit she prepared with her lawyer Michael Bradley.

It would be entirely improper to show the accused person the witness statement of the complainant before he is interviewed by police

What that also means of course is that Mr Porter has never been asked to provide a sworn statement on the matter or give evidence in a witness box.

He should be given that opportunity.

Given his reputation has been sullied and he has been denied the chance to properly clear his name as a result of the unique circumstances of this case he should be afforded that opportunity.

Mr Porter should be called to give evidence at an SA coronial inquest, not in front of what has been described as a “baying pack” of journalists in Perth, who peppered him with questions before he walked out on Wednesday.

The Attorney-General has complained he has been subjected to trial by the media. It’s time to let the coronial system do its job.

The SA coroner should call an inquest into the death of his accuser.

This should probe not only the decision to release her from a Melbourne psychiatric institution to “quarantine” at home for two weeks after a bout of PTSD before her suicide but the circumstances of her decision to ring police to suspend the investigation just days before her death.

The Attorney-General deserves the right to clear his name, in the witness box, in sworn evidence.

Given he has already explained that “nothing happened” on the night in question, this is an opportunity to restore his reputation and good name.

Comparisons have also been made with Bill Shorten who was investigated by Victoria Police for an alleged rape that was said to have occurred when he was a teenager. Months later Victoria Police announced there was no prospect of a conviction and no charges would be laid. Mr Shorten then identified himself as the target of the “untrue, abhorrent” allegations.

But the comparison is flawed. Mr Shorten was the subject of a 10 month police investigation, submitted voluntarily to a police interview. He never invoked his right to silence. Many alleged witnesses were interviewed.

That cannot happen in this case, because the accuser is dead. Mr Porter has never been interviewed by police.



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Who is the defence minister of Australia and what does she do, family and army details


Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has found herself in hot water yet again today, after she was accused of calling alleged rape survivor Brittany Higgins a “lying cow”.

The shocking allegations will pile on the pressure for the Defence Minister to resign.

She defended the remarks by explaining that the revelation by news.com.au that the ex-staffer was allegedly raped on her office couch was “a stressful time in the office”.

Senator Reynolds said she was not questioning Brittany Higgins’ account of the alleged assault but was commenting on “news reports regarding surrounding circumstances that I felt had been misrepresented”.

RELATED: Linda Reynolds calls Brittany Higgins a ‘lying cow’

RELATED: Linda Reynolds breaks down in the Senate

WHO IS LINDA REYNOLDS?

Born in Perth in 1965, Senator Reynolds was raised in the West Australian capital on “strong Christian values”, before her father’s job with Phillips took the family to Indonesia when she was a child.

Senator Reynolds and her family learnt to speak Indonesian before they returned to Western Australia when she was a teenager.

She graduated from high school in the early 1980s, enlisting in the Australian Army Reserves in 1984, when she was 19.

Senator Reynolds has been a member of the Liberal Party since 1987 and spent decades working behind the scenes before her election to the Senate.

In her first speech to the Senate, after being elected in 2014, Senator Reynolds spoke about being in politics during the Bali bombing and 9/11.

“I experienced the best and the worst of humanity. My resilience was tested throughout this time, and to the day I die I will never forget what I saw, what I heard and what I smelt,” she said.

“It was at the Bali hospital, where Australians were lying in the morgue, that I came to truly understand that those who desire to destroy democracy, do not respect our national compassion. Instead, they ruthlessly exploit it.

“I now know compassion has to be balanced by strength and by decisiveness.”

Senator Reynolds also spoke about the advancement of women and how she hoped to fight for equality.

“No modern institution can expect to meet the future needs of Australia if it does not fully realise and equally utilise the talents of both men and women,” she said in her Senate speech.

“Over two years ago, I was a member of the Chief of Army‘s advisory committee on gender diversity. I admired the leadership and honesty it took to identify and start addressing previously unrecognised unconscious bias and barriers to women advancing in the military.

“These biases and barriers are now obvious to me in politics and in many other professions.

“I strongly believe that now is the time to evolve and mature our national approach and narrative on gender. I will be a very active participant in this important change process.”

Senator Reynolds was described as a “rising star” in 2019, with former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop telling The Australian she was passionate about women’s issues.

“She’s extremely disciplined and a strategic thinker,’’ Ms Bishop told the publication in 2019.

“She cares passionately about causes. She’s been a champion for women. We’ve worked together trying to get more women into the Liberal Party.’’

Former Justice Minister Chris Ellison, who Senator Reynolds was working for during the Bali bombings tragedy, praised her as a brilliant chief of staff.

“Linda has been a strategic political thinker since I’ve known her,’’ he told The Australian.

“Combine that with her military experience and I think that gives you someone who is very well equipped to be a Defence Minister.’’

WHERE DOES SHE LIVE?

Senator Reynolds splits her time between Perth, where her husband and family live, and Canberra, when parliament is sitting.

In her first speech to the Senate in 2014, Senator Reynolds described herself as a proud West Australian.

“I am both a passionate Western Australian and a proud Australian – two different, but not inconsistent identities,” she said.

She also often takes to social media to praise West Australians and promote the state.

WHO IS SHE MARRIED TO?

Senator Reynolds is married to Robert Reid, the former Australian Medical Association communications director.

Mr Reid has been a strong support for the Defence Minister over the years, with Senator Reynolds thanking her husband in her first speech to the Senate.

Mr Reid was most recently vying for a career in politics last year, when he put his name forward for Liberal pre-selection for the West Australian seat of Bateman in December last year.

The Liberal party went on to choose City of Melville councillor and Tangney Liberal division president Matthew Woodall.

The married couple found themselves in hot water last year after archived financial records, obtained by Daily MailAustralia, revealed the couple had spent big on a number of trips in 2015, including Senator Reynolds attending a ball hosted by her husband’s place of work.

The records showed she charged taxpayers $363.43 to fly from Canberra to Brisbane in May 2015 and another $695.56 to return to Canberra two days later.

On those days, Senator Reynolds also claimed the cost of Comcar transport to and from the airport in both those cities, adding up to $209 and racked up a $1268 bill in Brisbane.

A spokeswoman for Senator Reynolds said the AMA had “officially invited” her to its May 2015 national conference “both in her capacity as a Senator for Western Australia, and as a member of both Senate Community Affairs committees”.

Two months later, in July 2015, Senator Reynolds charged taxpayers another $4242 to travel from her electoral office in Perth up to Broome, in the state’s north.

WHAT IS HER BACKGROUND, EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATION?

Before being elected to the Senate in 2014, Senator Reynolds built an illustrious career in the Australian Army.

Enlisting in the Australian Army Reserve in 1984, at the age of 19, Senator Reynolds worked her way up through the ranks.

She served as an officer cadet, regional logistics officer, training development officer, military instructor at the Army Command and Staff College, commanding officer of the 5th Combat Service Support Battalion, director of the Active Standby Staff Group, project director at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, strategy development director of Raytheon Australia, director of the Accountability Model Implementation Project, and director of the Army Strategic Reform Program.

She was adjutant general of the Army Reserve from 2012 to 2013 and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2011 Australia Day Honours for “outstanding achievement as the Director of Army Strategic Reform Program co-ordination”.

She attained the rank of brigadier in 2012, becoming the first woman in the Australian Army Reserve to be promoted to a star rank.

Admitting she enlisted in the army reserves after “not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life”, Senator Reynolds said she found her calling.

“I had found my first great passion in life. I am a very proud reservist, and 30 years of service has shaped me in innumerable ways,” she said.

“I would not change a day of it – even the toughest ones, when I arrived home, dirty, exhausted and tested beyond what I thought I could endure.”


WHAT IS HER ROLE AS DEFENCE MINISTER?

Senator Reynolds has served as Defence Minister for less than two years, after she was given the coveted role by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Her portfolio responsibilities include:

  • Oversight of all aspects of the Defence portfolio
  • Defence Budget
  • Defence Reform and Enterprise Management
  • Strategic Policy
  • International Policy and Engagement
  • Intelligence
  • Australian Signals Directorate
  • ADF Operations
  • Defence Planning Guidance
  • The Integrated Investment Program
  • Force Structure Review
  • Development of capability requirements
  • Capability/cost trade off during capability lifecycle
  • People, Equipment and Readiness Force Posture, including USFPI and ASMTI
  • Science and Technology policy and support to capability and operations
  • Defence Security and Vetting Policy
  • Estate and Infrastructure Policy
  • Defence Information and Communication Technology

She has been on leave for a week after her cardiologist insisted she go straight to hospital, instead of facing reporters at the National Press Club last week.



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