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Christian Porter and the Clinton Defence

Bill Clinton, January, 1998 "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky."

What follows is not a judgement on Porter's guilt or innocence, but it is an attempt to work out how he landed here and why there needs to be an independent inquiry.

Working backwards from the press conference..

Porter invokes the Clinton defence:

Reporter: Is your defence here that you didn't sleep with the alleged victim or it was consensual?

Mr. Porter: I did not sleep with the victim. We didn't have anything of that nature happen between us.

The above is not a denial that anything happened.  

It is also interesting that he refers to the female as "the victim", not as "the accuser" or even as "the alleged victim" as the reporter did Remember that this guy is a gifted speaker and had plenty of time to prepare for such questions.

This exchange is astounding for from highest law official in the land - suggesting he would have the burden of proof in any inquiry. It is just not the case, and he fully knows it. 

Reporter: Would you like to see an independent inquiry as a chance to clear your name?

Mr. Porter: The Dyson Heydon matter was about workplace relations accusations, which were contemporaneous, required by health and safety laws. I don't know what it would achieve. Other people will be the judge of this. But, it would be the first time in Australian history that a public figure or anyone effectively is put on trial in circumstances where they would be required to disprove something that didn't happen 33 years ago. If that happened to me, all I could say is what I have said to you today, that it just didn't happen.

In fact, the Clinton comparison could be made in relation to a previous allegation against Porter for sexual misconduct:

Christian Porter avoids question over alleged staff relationship

The IA question echoed the question put to him by Parker: 

Did you, or have you ever had, an intimate relationship or intimate relations with a staffer?”

IA emailed the question to Mr. Porter’s office on Sunday 15 November after the 6PR interview had been featured on ABC’s Insiders and checked with the office the following day to ensure the question was being dealt with.

When a reply had not been received by Wednesday, a call was made to a media advisor who said:

The statement Christian put out last Monday is the statement he stands by.”

This was the statement of 10 November. It makes no mention at all of intimate relationships with staffers.

Mr. Porter, a man used to being careful with his choice of words, had told Parker in the interview that he had never breached that code of conduct — introduced by Malcolm Turnbull on 15 February 2018.

Now, for the second time, he has failed to answer the question regarding intimate relationships with staffers.,14536

Porter comes from a privileged background. His father, Charles "Chika" Porter was an elite athlete turned politician in Western Australia, and his grandfather had been a minister in the corrupt Bjelke-Petersen state government in Queensland.

Add in that he attended an elite private school, Hale Grammar in Perth, and we get the trifecta for the circumstance we now see: Wealth, Privilege and Entitlement morphing into political power and the potential for the abuse of such power. 

Porter has "form" and he has "form" for non-denial denial of such form. 

Porter may bemoan the fact that you can't be tried and sentenced just on an accusation. But it may be that  he needs to reflect on recent history. Look what happened to a whole family in the Blue Mountains - 6 months in jail without bail on the basis of accusations and zero other evidence - with the accusations and the whole case later found to be one of a religious cult using kids for revenge.  Those people went through hell, lost livelihoods, respect, friends, and suffered the most vile public humiliation imaginable. Porter should count himself lucky - even if he is innocent. 

An independent inquiry could indeed make a finding, regardless of what the government claims, by interviewing the small group of people at the event where this allegedly happened, following up any leads from that and the documents left by the deceased. They could also obtain phone and internet records that may be pertinent and finally, it may compel Porter to answer questions under oath - and to probe his Clintonesque non-answers.  

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