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PM breaks silence over Christian Porter denying rape allegation

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed Attorney-General Christian Porter to return to work after he identified himself as the cabinet minister facing historic rape allegations.

An emotional Mr Porter categorically denied allegations he raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988 on Wednesday, while refusing to stand down amid calls for an independent inquiry into the accusations.

Mr Morrison said on Thursday it was essential to stand by the rule of law and therefore it was vital to enact a "presumption of innocence" for those accused of crimes.

"It is something that every single citizen of this country depends upon — and that is the principle upon which I seek to support to ensure the good governance of our country," he said.

Scott Morrison said it was vital to stand by the rule of law. Source: ABC
Scott Morrison said it was vital to stand by the rule of law. Source: ABC

"And so, as traumatic as these events are, that principle must continue to guide us, and will certainly continue to guide me and my government as we deal with these very sensitive issues."

Mr Morrison backed Mr Porter's decision to take time off work after a "traumatic series of events". The Attorney-General said he will take a couple of weeks' medical leave.

"I'm looking forward to him returning to his duties once that period of leave is completed," he said.

No place for 'mob process' in Australia, Morrison says

Questioned if he believed Mr Porter's account on Wednesday, Mr Morrison said he based his judgement on the report of police.

"And they have made their conclusions."

NSW Police closed an investigation into the matter because of a lack of admissible evidence.

Mr Morrison said it was vital their decision was respected.

"There is not some other process. There is not the mob process. There is not the tribe-has-spoken process. That's not how we run the rule of law in Australia. 

"We run the rule of law based on police. On courts. On judicial systems. On rules of evidence. On presumption of innocence."

The alleged victim is believed to have died by suicide last year, however the SA coroner David Whittle has since asked the state's police to further investigate the death.

Mr Morrison sympathised with her friends and family, saying it "must be a harrowing time" for them.

"I don't want to do anything that would seek to add any further difficulty for them."

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier insisted the historical rape allegations are finished.

"The matter is at an end because the police have spoken," Mr Frydenberg told Sky News on Thursday.

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