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‘Thrives on secrecy’: Government slammed for blocking inquiry into Christian Porter’s ministerial fitness

The federal government has been accused of thriving on secrecy after blocking the introduction of a bill to establish an inquiry into Christian Porter’s fitness to remain a cabinet minister.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters sought to set up a commission of inquiry into whether the former attorney-general is “a fit and proper person to be a minister of state” while he faces a historical rape allegation he strenuously denies.

But the bill was never introduced, with the government stepping in to stop it from being debated on Wednesday evening.

Senator Waters was furious about the “outrageous” move, which was also backed by One Nation and independent Jacqui Lambie.

“This is a government that thrives on secrecy. We all knew this, but this is a new low,” she told the Senate.

“To stop a senator from introducing a bill for a measure of transparency that goes to the functioning of this democracy is an absolute outrage. It is an outrage to process and democracy – but more so it is an outrage to survivors of sexual assault everywhere.”

 

Calls for an independent inquiry into the allegations surrounding Mr Porter have so far gone unheeded.

The woman behind the allegations took her own life last year and though she put down her claims in writing, she did not make a formal statement to police. 

NSW Police have chosen not to pursue a case against Mr Porter, saying the allegations did not provide enough admissible evidence to proceed. 

The West Australian MP, who is now science and technology minister, earlier this month ended defamation action against the ABC over the allegations.

“People will call for an inquiry or they won’t call for an inquiry [but] the things that were alleged to have happened just didn’t happen,” he told reporters at the time.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously rejected the prospect of an independent inquiry, describing Mr Porter as an “innocent man under our law”. 

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au

Readers seeking support with mental health can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. More information is available at Beyondblue.org.au. Embrace Multicultural Mental Health supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

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