Prime Minister Scott Morrison has back Federal Attorney General, Christian Porter after he emphatically denied historical rape allegations leveled against him.
An emotional Mr Porter on Wednesday identified himself as the cabinet minister accused of sexually assaulting a woman he knew 33 years ago.
“It just didn’t happen,” he told reporters.
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The woman went to NSW Police last year but withdrew her complaint before taking her own life in June. NSW Police have since confirmed it closed an investigation into the matter because of a lack of admissible evidence.
Mr Porter confirmed that he will not be standing down from his role as Australia’s top law officer, arguing if he did, the rule of law would be worthless.
The Prime Minister agreed with his assessment.
“In this country, there is a lot at stake,” Scott Morrison said at a press conference on Thursday.
“The rule of law is essential for liberal democracies and we weaken it at our great peril.
“It can be hard to understand just how important that principle is in how we deal with these, the most sensitive and the most traumatic and the most personal of issues.
“But we must reflect on that principle because it is that principle that undergirds our democracy itself. The presumption of innocence.
“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 also sent a message of support to the family of the woman at the centre of the allegations, who took her own life last year.
“For the family of the woman at the centre of these issues .. my heart can only break for anyone who has lost a child,” Mr Morrison said.
“This must be a harrowing time for her friends and for her family and I don’t want to do anything that would seek to add any further difficulty for them.”
There have been calls for an independent inquiry into the matter but the Prime Minister has indicated that is unlikely to happen.
“Police have dealt with this matter and given us their understanding of these issues and their status and, as has been the case on other occasions, that’s where the rule of law completes its process,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Morrison said he had spoken to Mr Porter following his emotional press conference yesterday and said he was keen to return to his job after taking a short break to deal with his mental health.
“I’m pleased that he’s taking some time to get support to deal with what has obviously been a very traumatic series of events, as you’d appreciate,” he said.
“He’s getting that support, as well as the support of his colleagues, as he takes that time.
“I’m looking forward to him returning to his duties once that period of leave is completed.”
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