The former Attorney-General is facing a renewed push to establish a commission of inquiry over whether he is fit to remain a minister.
The former Attorney-General is facing a renewed push to establish a commission of inquiry over whether he is fit to remain a minister.

Porter faces fresh challenge

Former Attorney-General Christian Porter faces a fresh push to establish a commission of inquiry into whether he is a fit and proper person to remain a minister. has confirmed the Greens Senator Larissa Waters has circulated a notice in the Senate today signalling her intention to introduce legislation on the matter following allegations that Mr Porter raped a teenage schoolgirl when he was 17 at a debating conference in Sydney.

Mr Porter completely rejects the rape allegations as utterly baseless.

He has commenced defamation proceedings against the ABC over the original story - that did not name him - but revealed a senior cabinet minister was accused of a historical rape in the 1980s.

RELATED: Porter to block 'entire' ABC defence: court


Senator Waters will argue that the defamation case can no longer be regarded as a "de facto" test of the rape allegations because of Mr Porter's legal moves to strike out the ABC's defence or ensure it cannot be made public.

"I give notice that on the next day of sitting, I shall move that the following bill be introduced:

"A Bill for an Act to establish an inquiry into whether Christian Porter is a fit and proper person to be a Minister of State, and for related purposes,'' she says in the notice of motion.

The title of the legislation is: Ministerial Suitability Commission of Inquiry Bill 2021.

The Greens' Bill would establish a Commission of Inquiry in which a former judge would be appointed to hold hearings, summons witnesses, examine evidence, make a determination on the balance of probabilities as to whether the allegations have any merit, and make recommendations about whether Porter is a fit and proper person to hold any Ministerial position.

Those recommendations could be tabled in parliament, subject to usual protections. Witnesses can also seek to have their evidence heard in camera and not published.

The Greens argue these are serious allegations against Christian Porter that remain largely uninvestigated. Mr Porter is not being investigated by NSW Police who have announced their intention not to pursue the matter previously, and he has never been charged with any offence.

The Greens party will also argue that the ABC defamation case is not a proxy for an independent investigation, particularly if Mr Porter continues to seek to keep the ABC defence from the public.

Mr Porter stood aside as Attorney-General this year and ultimately mutually agreed to switch portfolios following concerns over a conflict of interest if he continued in the role.

RELATED: Mystery over Porter's court case funding


Further developments are expected in the Porter v ABC defamation case on Friday when the Federal Court holds hearings in Sydney.

Mr Porter's legal team are expected to shortly file submissions in support of an application to strike out currently redacted information contained from the ABC's defence.

Separately, lawyers for Jo Dyer, a friend of the woman who accused Christian Porter of rape, has also launched legal action to force one of Porter's barristers Sue Chrysanthou SC to drop out of the case on conflict of interest grounds.

Ms Dyer has asked the federal court to remove Ms Chrysanthou from the case on the grounds that she had dealings with her over a related defamation matter regarding a story by another journalist and that she may have disclosed confidential information to her.

In a statement, Mr Porter's lawyer Rebekah Giles said the timing of the legal action was concerning.

Defence barrister Sue Chrysanthou. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Rae
Defence barrister Sue Chrysanthou. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Rae

"It has been widely known for two months that Sue has been acting as my counsel in this well publicised matter - yet the action has come shortly before court appearances on significant issues in the proceedings and over eight weeks after they were commenced," he said in a statement released by his lawyers.

"I am therefore concerned about the timing of this application."

Mr Porter, who strenuously denies that he raped the teenager in 1988, said he had a right to choose his own barrister.

"Ms Chrysanthou is one of this country's pre-eminent defamation advocates," he said in the statement.

"It is a critically important right for any citizen in legal proceedings to choose his or her own counsel."

But lawyers acting for Ms Dyer rejected this claim on Thursday pointing out that they had been in correspondence with Mr Porter's legal team for weeks.

"On 15 March 2021, Jo Dyer was made aware that Sue Chrysanthou SC had accepted a brief from Christian Porter to represent him in his defamation proceedings against the ABC. On the same day (15 March) through her solicitors Marque Lawyers, Ms Dyer expressed her objection to Ms Chrysanthou acting for Mr Porter, on the basis of an alleged conflict of interest,'' the statement says.

"Her solicitors have been in continuous correspondence with Ms Chrysanthou's solicitors since that date, attempting in good faith to resolve this dispute without the need for court proceedings. Those attempts having failed, Ms Dyer commenced proceedings against Ms Chrysanthou in the Federal Court on 10 May.

"Any suggestion that Ms Dyer has not acted in a timely manner or not in good faith is false. Ms Dyer will not be making any further public comment on the matter."

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 

Originally published as Porter faces fresh challenge

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