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Statement from Attorney-General Christian Porter

Statement from Attorney-General Christian Porter

Monday, 9th November 2020

At the outset I apologise for material I wrote in a law school magazine 24 years ago. I obviously wouldn’t write that now and it is something I regret.

As a university lecturer I taught criminal law and evidence. By its very nature this involves dealing with confronting subject matter and images. To suggest I gratuitously focused on this required area of teaching is unfair.

I have not spoken in any substantial way to either Ms Foley or Ms Dyer for decades so I am surprised to hear them reflecting on my character so long after I knew them.

But 4 Corners depiction of interactions in the bar are categorically rejected. The other party subjected to these baseless claims directly rebutted the allegation to 4 Corners, yet the programme failed to report that. This fact usually would be expected to be included in a fair or balanced report. The claims made by Sarah Hanson Young were never put to me, my office or the other individual. They are rejected as totally false.

The journalist, Louise Milligan, never contacted me or my office, despite my awareness that for many months she has been directly contacting friends, former colleagues, former students – even old school friends from the mid 1980’s - asking for rumours and negative comment about me.

The ABC’s Managing Director told a Senate Committee just today that all relevant information had been provided to Ministers who were the subject of tonight’s programme – that is not the case. Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister often summoned Ministers in frustration about the amount of detail leaking from his Cabinet. I had one such meeting in early December 2017, where Malcolm put to me a rumour that I had leaked to journalist Sharri Markson about the Banking Royal Commission and towards the end of that meeting he queried whether there was any accuracy to what he described as another story he had heard, the answer was no to both of these things. Malcolm then promoted me to Attorney General less than two weeks later. In my time as AG I never had any complaint or any suggestion of any problem from Malcolm regarding the conduct of my duties as AG until the last week of his Prime Ministership when we had a significant disagreement over the Peter Dutton citizenship issue.

Given the defamatory nature of many of the claims made in tonight’s programme, I will be considering legal options.

Authorised by Christian Porter, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra