Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter Launches Defamation Action Against ABC

Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter has launched defamation proceedings against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and investigative journalist Louise Milligan in federal court alleging”false”  made against him in an online article.

According to Porter’s lawyers who confirmed the defamation action on March 15, the article made “false” allegations against Porter “in relation to a person who he met when he was a teenager.”

Milligan reported that a letter had been sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison that contained a historical rape allegation against a serving Cabinet minister.

The article did not name Porter, but Attorney Rebekah Giles argued in a statement that it “made allegations against a senior cabinet minister and the attorney general was easily identifiable to many Australians as the subject of the allegations.”

Giles also said that Porter had been the subject of a “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.”

Giles also said that Porter “will exercise the opportunity to give evidence denying these false allegations on oath.”

“The trial by media should now end with the commencement of these proceedings,” Giles further stated.

“I can say categorically that what has been put in various forms and allegations simply did not happen,” Porter said at a news conference last March 3, identifying himself as the cabinet minister being referenced in the letter. Porter has gone on a mental health leave since then.

An ABC Spokesperson said that the ABC would defend the action.

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