On the one-year anniversary of the suicide of Christian Porter’s accuser the Greens have called on the government, One Nation and Senator Jacqui Lambie to do the right thing and support the first reading of a bill to create a Commission of Inquiry into Minister Porter’s ministerial fitness.
Lines attributable to Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters:
“Today is a sad reminder of why we must have an independent inquiry into the allegations against former Attorney-General Christian Porter.
“Minister Porter’s accuser, Kate, sadly took her own life a year ago today. Before her death she made serious allegations against Minister Porter, allegations that are unable to be appropriately tested through the courts.
“It is untenable for serious questions to be hanging over the head of anyone sitting in Cabinet, without an avenue for resolution.
That is why, over the past fortnight, the Greens have attempted to create a robust, independent mechanism to look into Minister Porter's suitability to hold a ministerial position.
“Our commission would allow issues surrounding allegations of Minister Porter's behaviour and any implications for compliance with the ministerial standards to be considered at arm's length from politicians by a former judge who has expertise in managing evidence, the presumption of innocence, conflicts of interest and confidentiality.
“We voted for Senator Lambie’s proposal yesterday to send the issue of Minister Porter’s possible breaches of the Ministerial Standards to a Senate Committee to investigate, however, this question is better addressed at arms length from politicians, by an independent commissioner who is an ex-judge, as the Greens commission of inquiry bill proposes.
“In any case, Senator Lambie’s proposal was still blocked by the government and One Nation, who have also voted against my moves all fortnight to progress my bill and send it to inquiry.
“But I’m trying again today, because women don’t want this issue to be dropped. Perhaps today, one year on from Kate’s tragic suicide, the Government or One Nation will rethink their position and support this bill – or better yet, the Prime Minister actually order his own inquiry into Minister Porter’s fitness to remain in Cabinet.
“I particularly call on the Nationals to consider supporting this bill, given new leader Barnaby Joyce has previously called for an independent inquiry into the allegations against Porter.
“Ironic, considering that with Barnaby’s return to Cabinet that makes two Ministers with unresolved sexual misconduct allegations, despite parliament and the nation being in a reckoning about the treatment of women.
“On a day when thousands of women will be lighting a candle for Kate, supporting this bill is the right thing to do.”