Christian Porter resigns from the frontbench after using an anonymous cash donation to pay his legal bills for defamation case against the ABC
Christian Porter has resigned from cabinet over revelations he accepted money from a blind trust to pay for his lawsuit against the ABC.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed Mr Porter stood down as Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and would return to the backbench.
The former attorney general tendered his resignation on Sunday afternoon because he couldn’t give enough information about who the anonymous donor was to avoid perceptions of a conflict of interest.
The Prime Minister said their discussions were about upholding standards as he thanked Mr Porter for his services as minister.
‘In relation to Minister Porter over the course of the last few days, and in the discussions that we have had, the inability for him to be able to practically provide further information because of the nature of those arrangements, if we were able to do that, that would allow the Minister to conclusively rule out a perceived conflict, and as a result of him acknowledging that, he has this afternoon taken the appropriate course of action to uphold those standards by tendering his resignation as a minister this afternoon, and I have accepted his resignation,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘His actions have been about upholding the standards.’
‘Our discussions today about upholding the standards. We believe they are incredibly important, and it is not just about actual conflicts, it’s about the standards for ministers to have an obligation to avoid any perception of conflicts of interest that is ultimately what has led the Minister to make that decision this afternoon.
Mr Porter sued the national broadcaster over a story that revealed a senior cabinet minister was accused of raping a teenage girl.
Mr Porter outed himself as the minister days later in February and vehemently denied the allegations that dated back to 1988 when he was 17.
The woman in 2019 came forward to police and accused Mr Porter of raping her when she was 16.
However, she chose not to go forward with the case and took her own life days after informing police of her decision.
The case was closed in March 2021 when police found there was not enough evidence to proceed.
Mr Porter then sued the ABC for defamation, arguing it was easy to identify him as the minister involved.