It is true that in law Christian Porter has no case to answer. To be brutally honest, it is now non-existent.
The criminal case against Porter is not weak. It is now non-existent. The complainant has not made a police statement, cannot be interviewed as she has died, the alleged offender has denied the allegation; there is no forensic evidence, no witnesses, no crime scene and no CCTV.
Having no case to answer, and as a consequence, is what Scott Morrison will use as his defence of the man.
He will say that there is nothing of substance to put to him. All of this is correct and irrefutable, but even in Scott Morrison’s saying there was no need for an inquiry, public opinion for one remains full of anger.
Morrison was well supported by The Australian, who in last Saturday’s online edition led Porter’s defence with no less than five headline articles on its front page.
“Rape stalemate threat to PM’s agenda”
“Unreconcilable teenage memories”
” ‘Get Porter’ a media disgrace”
“Grotesque political saga ignores principles of justice”
“The pile-on over Christian Porter will prove to be the defining test of Scott Morrison”
(All of these articles are paywalled).
In contrast, a first-blush view suggests the following media outlets support an enquiry into Christian Porter’s fitness to remain as Attorney General:
The week that will never go away, The AIMN
As do The Greens, Labor and the Crossbench.
This obtuse statement can adequately sum up public opinion:
I don’t judge people, but I do form my own opinions, of course.
Anyone who cares to watch “Inside the Canberra Bubble” might also conclude that Porter’s long history of predatory behaviours, adultery, lying, manipulation and political treachery makes it reasonably straightforward that an inquiry is necessary.
Those like me who argue for an inquiry are not seeking to have Porter institutionalised. We just seek greater clarity of what happened when Porter was 17, what has happened since, and is he suitable to serve as Attorney General.
Are we to believe, as he repeatedly said at his press conference, that “it just didn’t happen” or are we to imagine that it did.
Writing for The Monthly, Rachael Withers puts it this way:
“But just imagine for a second that it is true. Just imagine that for a second. The flip side of Porter’s statement applies also to the people who believe him wholeheartedly, because this is what so many in the Coalition and the media seem unwilling to do. Imagine if a teenage Porter once forced a drunk 16-year-old into oral sex, kicked and choked her, and then anally raped her when she passed out, leaving her bleeding and ashamed. What would it mean if such a man was allowed to remain attorney-general of this country, without so much as an inquiry?”
Life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceive it to be.
How do we find the truth when Rossleigh makes this point and many others in this article for The AIMN:
“So let’s deal entirely in hypotheticals here, but let’s keep them non-party specific so that we can establish the general rule and then look at whether or not there should ever be an exception. Let’s give Christian Porter his time off and accept his statements at face value and believe him when he says that he has never been made aware of any of the allegations at any time and he strenuously denies them even if he has never been made aware of what they were except by Scott Morrison who hadn’t read them either but somehow knew that Christian Porter was the person to ask about the allegations of which neither of them had the specifics.”
Canberra is where the Australian government should be working with its total concentration on what is best for the country.
Instead, it seems we have a cesspit of politicians whose focus is entirely on themselves and their egregious conduct, who with little attention paid to governing the country, are presently squirming like maggots desperately trying to disclaim responsibility.
The dishonesty and the muddiness of the political mind is commonplace, and we’ve become used to it, but the abuse and the molestation of women is not normal.
But it seems the males who swagger the corridors of our parliament house think it is normal, with a nod and a wink, and now how frantically they are trying to make the fact of it go away.
The circumstances around Porter’s behaviour towards women more generally is questionable.
And these are the bastards we’ve elected to run our country. Their posturing is sickening!
Unfortunately for Porter, his reputation precedes his declaration of innocence, and Morrison is reaping what he has been sowing for years. He shows no inclination to reprimand anyone, be it Kelly, Christiansen, Reynolds or Porter.
Incidentally, Reynolds has announced she will take another month of leave.
Mr Morrison, if you want leadership perhaps you can heed the words of Joe Biden:
“I’m not joking when I say this: if you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, and, or buts.”
That is leadership.
What about the women of the future, those desirous of a career in politics no matter what rung of the ladder?
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins will lead an investigation into the workplace culture at Parliament House and responses to sexual harassment and assault. As opposed to her last, this one will take in broader aspects of the sexual goings-on in Australia’s parliament.
Fifty recommendations arose from her last report delivered only last November, a few of which have been implemented.
Back to the Porter scandal, the Prime Minister said he would also “welcome” a coronial inquiry in South Australia if the coroner opted for one.
But sexual conduct is only a part of the cultural behaviour of those who frequent the halls of parliament. Will this inquiry include the culture of suppressing freedom of information, telling the truth, transparency, business ethics, open corruption and religious interference?
Culture is a complicated, fluid thing, a learned and shared behaviour. Sex is only part of it.
“Ditch the Witch,” “JuLiar… Bob Brown’s Bitch” Were thrown at Julia Gillard by Abbott supporters and never reprimanded for them.
Respect for women is also a moral, cultural act.
Reminiscent of his “I don’t hold the hose, mate” response to the bushfire catastrophe Scott Morrison gives us,, and “I am not the police a force,” when a 16-year-old is raped.
As reported by Laura Tingle on The ABC live blog.
“Porter argued on Wednesday that “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 nothing more than an accusation that appears in print”.
“I am not standing down or aside.”
Yet people’s lives are destroyed by allegations all the time, often about something that “simply did not happen”, like the RoboDebt scheme over which Porter and a number of other ministers, including the Prime Minister, presided over for several years, including a period in which they had received advice that it was unlawful but said nothing.”
When the NSW Police announced this week that they would not be proceeding with any investigation, they also may have caused a tragedy for those like me who would have liked the allegation against Porter investigated.
But also, for the man himself who will always remain labelled an “alleged rapist.”
Both Porter and Reynolds should resign to save the government more wind that they usually do on matters that require significant amounts of spin.
My thought for the day
Some men epitomise white male privilege, which would suggest that the Australian people need to take more care when electing their leaders.
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