Christian Porter sues ABC for publishing claim he raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988 – using the same lawyers who sued minister for calling Brittany Higgins a ‘lying cow’
Attorney-general Christian Porter is suing the ABC for publishing an article online accusing him of raping a debating teammate in 1988.
Mr Porter categorically denied the allegation in an emotional press conference two weeks ago.
His legal team commenced defamation action at the Federal Court on Monday, reported The Australian.
Attorney-general Christian Porter is suing the ABC for publishing an article online accusing him of raping a debating teammate in 1988
The attorney-general, who is on mental health leave, is also suing the broadcaster over a November show called Inside The Canberra Bubble which aired allegations that he was sexist.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the ABC for comment.
Mr Porter has employed Company Giles, the same law firm that represented alleged parliament house rape victim Brittany Higgins.
Ms Higgins sued defence minister Linda Reynolds for calling her a ‘lying cow’ in earshot of colleagues in her office last month.
In a statement, lawyer Rebekah Giles accused the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan of conducting a ‘trial by media.’
‘The ABC and Ms Milligan having published these allegations have damaged the reputation of the Attorney-General,’ she said.
‘Over the last few weeks, the Attorney-General has been subjected to trial by media without regard to the presumption of innocence or the rules of evidence and without any proper disclosure of the material said to support the untrue allegations,’ Ms Giles added.
‘The trial by media should now end with the commencement of these proceedings.’
The ABC’s article on 26 February accused a cabinet minister of a historical rape but did not name Mr Porter, who publicly outed himself the following week.
It comes as more than 80,000 people have signed a petition calling for Mr Porter to be suspended as attorney-general over the rape allegations he has denied.
The prime minister remains under sustained pressure as he continues to insist police have dealt with the historical allegations and no further action is required.
Mr Porter has taken indefinite mental health leave but Scott Morrison is adamant he will be welcomed back into cabinet.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham rejected suggestions the government was out of touch with community expectations.
‘I think Australians do expect that proper legal processes should be followed in relation to addressing such allegations,’ he told ABC radio.
‘Those legal processes have been deployed by the NSW Police as they’ve outlined. Of course, there are also legal processes in relation to the tragic death (of the woman involved) and those processes remain under way in South Australia, and we should let them run their course.’
Mr Porter’s former wife was among thousands of West Australians to march across Perth on Sunday in protest against gender discrimination and violence.
Thousands more are marching on Parliament House in Canberra on Monday.
Other rallies are taking place in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.