The family of Christian Porter’s now-dead accuser have thrown their support behind ‘any inquiry’ which sheds light on the circumstances surrounding their loved one’s suicide.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the family said they are suffering ‘considerable grief’ arising from the death of the Adelaide woman – who took her own life last year just one day after calling off her plan to issue a formal statement to police.
‘They (the family) are supportive of any inquiry which would potentially shed light on the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s passing,’ the spokeswoman said.
It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared to rule out an independent inquiry into Attorney-General Christian Porter, who has vehemently denied the claims that he raped the woman when she was 16 and he was 17, in 1988.
Speaking at a battery factory in the New South Wales Hunter Valley on Thursday, Mr Morrison said the events were ‘harrowing’ and expressed sympathy for the woman’s family.
Scott Morrison (pictured today) has delivered an emotional message to the family of Christian Porter’s accuser who took her own life last year
‘And for the family of the woman at the centre of these issues, as the Attorney-General commenced his remarks yesterday, my heart can only break for anyone who has lost a child… and the issues surrounding that and the way that this matter is now being addressed in the public domain.
‘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,’ he said.
But the prime minister said the police was the only appropriate body to investigate such serious claims.
And NSW Police have announced detectives closed their investigation into the matter due to ‘insufficient evidence’.
‘There is no other alternative for a Prime Minister than the rule of law. There’s not another process,’ he said.
Asked if he believed Mr Porter’s denial, Mr Morrison said: ‘Look, my judgement is based on the report of the police.
‘They are the competent and authorised authorities to make the judgements about any such allegations. And they have made their conclusions.’
Referring to discredited rape allegations against former Labor leader Bill Shorten in 2014, he added: ‘As people have said in similar occasions in the past – that’s where the matter rests.’
In an impassioned defence of Australia’s legal system, Mr Morrison said: ‘The rule of law is essential for liberal democracies. And we weaken it at our great peril.
‘It can be hard at times. And I understand, particularly under these circumstances, 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 underpins our democracy itself. The presumption of innocence. The investigation of allegations involving criminal activity by competent and authorised bodies – that is, the police.’
Tearful: Christian Porter has outed himself as the cabinet minister accused of rape to categorically deny the accusation and has insist he will not stand down
‘That is our rule of law. 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,’ Mr Morrison said.
The prime minister said there was ‘no suggestion’ of the attorney general resigning and that he’s looking forward to getting back to work after mental health leave.
In an extraordinary press briefing in Perth on Wednesday, a shattered and tearful Mr Porter said he had been subjected to a trial by media and has asked the Prime Minister to take some time off as a result of the accusation.
The 50-year-old former public prosecutor confirmed he attended a debating competition at Sydney University with his accuser when he was 17 and she was 16, but categorically denied ever sleeping with the woman who has since taken her own life.
‘The things that have been claimed to happen did not happen,’ he said through tears in the emotional conference.
‘I did not sleep with the [alleged] victim. We didn’t have anything of that nature happen between us,’ he added.
By unveiling himself, Mr Porter ended six days of speculation over the accused’s identity after the woman’s allegation was published in the media without naming the cabinet minister.
Mr Porter admitted that he can’t remember every single detail of the night in question but insisted that he would not have forgotten having sex with someone.
‘The things I have read did not happen. And to suggest that they could be forgotten is ridiculous, they just never happened,’ he said.
The woman, who struggled with her mental health for years, told police about her allegation in February last year but took her own life in June. Detectives closed their investigation on Tuesday due to a lack of evidence.
The accuser’s allegation became public last week after Prime Minster Scott Morrison received a letter from a mystery sender which included a statement the woman had prepared for her lawyers in 2019.
Journalists frantically asked questions following the minister’s statement