‘Totally false’: Porter hits back at ABC

 

Attorney-General Christian Porter has revealed he is considering his legal options over what he says are "defamatory" claims aired in last night's Four Corners program.

The separated father-of-two released a statement last night after the national broadcaster aired a program detailing what was described as a "toxic" culture in Canberra for women.

During the program, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed he had confronted Mr Porter about rumours he was seen drinking in a Canberra bar with a younger staffer - claims Mr Porter rejects.

On the claim that he was seen in a Canberra bar with a younger woman, Mr Porter said he was considering legal options and it was "false".

Mr Porter announced earlier this year that he was separating from his second wife and the mother of his two children.

"The other party subjected to these baseless claims directly rebutted the allegation to Four Corners, yet the program failed to report that,'' Mr Porter said.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young told Four Corners she had spoken to the staffer but Mr Porter said the woman rejected the claims as "totally false".

"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-1980s - asking for rumours and negative comments about me.

Attorney-General Christian Porter. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP
Attorney-General Christian Porter. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP


"The ABC's managing director (David Anderson) told a Senate Committee just today that all relevant information had been provided to Ministers who were the subject of tonight's program. That is not the case," he continued.

Mr Porter also accused former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull of falling out with him over the leadership coup in 2018.

"Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister often summoned ministers in frustration about the amount of detail leaking from his cabinet,'' he said.

"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 program, I will be considering legal options."

Malcolm Turnbull said he spoke to Mr Porter about an incident, but wasn’t aware of him doing anything untoward. Picture: Mick Tsikasvia/NCA NewsWire
Malcolm Turnbull said he spoke to Mr Porter about an incident, but wasn’t aware of him doing anything untoward. Picture: Mick Tsikasvia/NCA NewsWire

 

Rachelle Miller revealed her affair with an MP. Picture: Four Corners
Rachelle Miller revealed her affair with an MP. Picture: Four Corners


However, Mr Porter did apologise over some comments he had made at university.

According to Four Corners, he was a contributor to the law students' magazine, Briefs, where he's quoted as saying: "I'm going to smut my way through law school."

Mr Porter wrote of what he called the "chick teams", that they were "about as gratuitous and off-putting displays of female sensuality".

Writing about a debate on whether "lawyers are just well-dressed prostitutes", Mr Porter said his opponent's case had more holes than "Snow White's hymen".

"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,'' he said.

He also rejected claims about his work as a university lecturer several decades ago.

"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,'' he said.

In relation to criticism of him in the program from two former colleagues, he said he had not spoken to either of the women in decades.

One of the claims involved a Victorian barrister claiming he had once said he would not date women who weighed over 50kg but preferred them to have big "tits".

"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,'' he said.

Originally published as 'Totally false': Porter hits back at ABC


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