Australian AG Porter denies rape accusation, won't resign

Australian attorney general denies rape allegation

Attorney-General Christian Porter breaks his silence to strongly deny historical rape allegation

Australia's attorney general on Wednesday outed himself as the unnamed cabinet minister accused of raping a 16-year-old girl, denying the decades-old allegation and trying to draw a line under a crisis that has consumed the country's conservative government.

"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 based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print", Mr Porter said.

'The things I have read did not happen.

"But I hope that you will also understand that because what is being alleged did not happen, I must say so publicly".

Asked by journalists, he said he did not think he had ever been alone with the woman and had had no contact with her since January 1988. A very hard decision.

"While I have followed the rules and stayed silent, I have been subject to the most wild, intense and unrestrained serious of accusations I can remember in modern Australian politics".

"In losing that person, your daughter, you have suffered a awful loss, and you did not deserve the frenzied politicisation of the circumstances of your daughter's death of the last week", he said. "I am absolutely sure there would be such a photo", he said.

"If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation".

Mr Porter, 50, said he retained Mr Morrison's support as attorney general.

Mr Porter, also Industrial Relations Minister, said he would not resign from his role as Attorney-General but would be stepping down for a short period to seek help for his mental health.

"For the many caring family and friends who have asked me that question over the course of the last week, "Are you OK?" I have got to say my. answer is I really don't know. "I do remember a formal dinner and going out dancing - sounds about right", he said.

"It was 33 years ago".

At the time, she was 16 years old.

The claims were circulated last week in an anonymous dossier circulated to police and political leaders including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Her family are believed to remain adamant they do not want her identified.

NSW Police opened Strike Force Wynderra to investigate the claims but for whatever reason the woman never submitted a formal statement about it.

There have been calls for an independent inquiry into the matter after NSW Police closed its investigation citing a lack of admissible evidence.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted it's a matter exclusively for police despite pressure to conduct a judicial inquiry.

In a statement, Coroner David Whittle said an investigation file regarding the woman's death had been delivered to him by police on Monday.

"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. The Prime Minister can not outsource his responsibility for composing his ministry to the police.

But South Australian Police are still assisting that state's Coroner with an investigation into the woman's death past year.

Mr Porter said the letter accused him of raping the girl at a high school debating tournament at Sydney University in 1988. "The prime minister is seeking to downplay and minimise the extraordinary nature of these allegations and the previous allegations of a rape down the hall from his parliamentary office", she said.

"Did I raise it?"

Morrison has announced two female government officials will lead reviews into the sexual assault complaints process and workplace culture in the parliament.

But Michael Bradley from Marque lawyers said he wouldn't have to disprove anything.

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