The Attorney General must stand down and there must be an independent inquiry into the rape allegations, otherwise there will be a chilling effect on survivors speaking out, said the Greens today following the revelation of the identity of the cabinet minister.
“Today’s press conference by Christian Porter denying the rape allegations will have been extremely distressing to sexual assault survivors everywhere,” said Larissa Waters, Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson on women.
“After the powerful speech by Grace Tame encouraging survivors to speak out, the subtext of the Attorney-General’s denials and of the Prime Minister’s dismissal of the allegations earlier this week, is that the government doesn’t believe women.
“Mr Porter’s statement is a message to all survivors of sexual assault and rape that this government does not believe them. It will have a chilling effect on survivors and will almost certainly dissuade others from coming forward.
“Women don’t need any more discouragement from reporting sexual assault and rape, already they face disbelief from the justice system and this is why so few rapes are reported and even fewer rapists are convicted.
“The Prime Minister said two years ago that he believed victims – but actions speak louder than words. The Prime Minister exonerated Mr Porter after a brief chat, but didn’t even read the 30 page dossier of allegations from the woman.
“These are serious allegations made in circumstances in which a police investigation is no longer possible. Rather than simply dismissing the claims on the basis of Mr Porter’s assurance, the Prime Minister should initiate an inquiry to satisfy himself as to whether Mr Porter is suitable to hold a position in his Cabinet.
“Mr Porter must stand aside for the duration of an independent inquiry into these allegations. It is untenable for him to remain in the role and untenable for the Prime Minister not to order an independent inquiry.
“The Greens support calls from the alleged victim’s lawyer, family and friends for a Heydon-style independent investigation. Parliament should be setting the standard for good behaviour, not using flimsy arguments about precedent setting and ancient history to protect the boys club.”