Morrison, Porter and endemic lying

By March 3, 2021Australian Politics, Media

During his press conference held in response to the rape allegations, Attorney General Christian Porter said “I am personally struggling to wrap my head around….why I have never been contacted by anyone…. No journalist has ever put the allegations to me”. This quote was put out as a tweet by Laura Jayes of Murdoch’s Sky News Australia1. It immediately drew ripostes from legendary journalist Margo Kingston (of NoFibs), who said “calls not returned so they couldn’t be put. Bad mover by Porter”2. Kangaroo Court of Australia, which was the first source I saw which named Porter on March 2, also responded “Alleged rapist Christian Porter caught lying at press conference. He said no journalist put rape allegations to him requesting a response. Email in this article sent on the 1/3/21 asking for a response to rape allegations”3,4. Kate McClymont replied; “So did the SMH [Sydney Morning Herald] – as recently as yesterday [March 2]5. 3AW shock jock, Neil Mitchell, also replied “We tried. Left messages with staff. Calls not returned”5.

Porter also claimed that the Four Corners television journalists didn’t contact him prior to screening ‘Inside the Canberra Bubble’ which was telecast late last year. He reportedly said: “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”. However, he later retracted that statement and conceded that the Four Corners team did contact his office on multiple occasions.7  Will his statement that nobody ever contacted him about this rape allegation also be retracted?

A letter, which was sent by friends of the victim of the alleged rape, to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Senator Penny Wong details the allegations against Porter8. This document apparently runs to some 30 pages, and despite Morrison having received a copy directly, he has stated that he has not read it9. Porter has also said he has not read it10. Whether they have read it or not is a moot point because by saying that they have not, it allows them to simply state that the rape never happened, without actually addressing any of the detail. This, like not returning journalists’ calls, is so they can avoid having to answer any difficult or detailed questions from journalists, something at which Morrison is very adept. While I am disgusted by the lies, obfuscation and disingenuousness which is endemic among members of this government, it also disturbs me that so many supposed journalists are not astute enough to deal with such tactics, and are also gullible enough to believe what Morrison and Porter tell them.

Sources

  1. https://twitter.com/ljayes/status/1366967666645164033
  2. https://nofibs.com.au/margo-kingston/
  3. https://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2021/03/02/attorney-general-christian-porter-alleged-to-have-raped-16-yr-old-katharine-thornton-in-1988/
  4. https://twitter.com/Kangaroo_Court/status/1366974258677616640
  5. https://twitter.com/Kate_McClymont/status/1366980468675993600
  6. https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/inside-the-canberra-bubble/12864676
  7. https://johnmenadue.com/inside-the-canberra-bubble/
  8. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-27/what-we-know-about-cabinet-minister-sexual-assault-allegation/13199658
  9. https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/politics/scott-morrison-denies-reading-crucial-evidence-detailing-rape-allegations/news-story/792be6d742441f266e10bca7ebc413b2
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/mar/03/christian-porter-denies-historical-allegation-declaring-he-wont-step-down-as-attorney-general

41 Comments

  • Jon says:

    We will never know the truth, however it’s both very odd and disturbing that Porter wouldn’t read the detail of the lady’s allegations so that he could refute them precisely. A general denial is unconvincing imo. Given the seriousness of the allegations and the distressing suicide involved I’d be asking myself questions like: Was I there? Did I meet a girl? Did we have sex? ……..

    It’s equally strange that police investigating didn’t contact Porter when the allegation was first made. An independent judicial enquiry can’t resolve the rape claim but it should establish who knew what and when and why attempts weren’t apparently made to get Porter’s side of the story.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      I bet you any money you like that both Morrison and Porter have read the ‘dossier’, but will never admit to it so they can continue to be vague in their denials. Integrity is not in their lexicon.

    • Sofia Majewski says:

      Further, Porter claimed he only knew Katherine briefly and hadn’t seen her since 1988. That’s a lie. He saw her in the 1990s in Perth. They had dinner. There may also have met on one other occasion in the 90s.
      Evidence from Friend, James Hooke, would be very interesting.

  • Nada Day says:

    Christian Porter and Scott Morrison and their sky news cronies are propagating gossip about mental illness to shed doubt about Katharine Thornton’s statement. Hinting about ‘dissociation’, confection, confabulation etc. just sets out to make Christian Porter a victim of some ‘ deluded woman who may have imagined sex with him’. This is unconscionable and thanks to Scomo and Chassa, we are now slipping back into the 18th Century. Old Halers would be so proud !

    • admin says:

      Nada,
      Unconscionable and completely expected. People have been predicting this ever since Porter fronted up.

      • Nada Day says:

        Your response hit me like a ton of bricks, the truth does that sometimes, I didn’t see it coming but I believe you and many more expected it.

        • admin says:

          Nada,
          It has already started in the Murdoch media, with Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph referring to her as a “mentally ill woman”. They will go after her friends and family next.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    My wife noted that Morrison has been repeatedly using the term “rule of law” in relation to the Porter matter. She said it is not a term she has heard used frequently, if at all, before by Australian politicians. It seems to have little definition, and Morrison certainly doesn’t seem to explain what he thinks it means very well. As we discussed not all law is administered by the police. The police are not, or should not be, themselves, above the law, nor are the courts, nor are politicians. So what is he on about?

    I searched for “rule of law”. The first several items that came up were sites belonging to the rule of law institute. I read them. Under the guise of legalistic reasonableness they spouted far right, libertarian philosophies, including such things as condemnation of Victoria’s covid lock down, calling it a police state and articles about the sanctity of “the presumption of innocence”. This is another term thrown around a lot recently, but not of course in relation to suspected drug users, or arsonists, or terrorists, or homeless thieves, or protesting environmentalists, no, they care mostly about privileged powerful people.

    I looked up who these people were (see attachment 1). With David Lowy, Hugh Morgan and John Roskam on the board it is fairly obvious which way it tilts. The president is a NSW legal person called Maragert Cunneen who had a brush with that state’s ICAC a while back. She has it in for things like anti corruption commissions and other things that might turn over unpleasant stones. It was founded by a person called Robin Speed who is some legal eagle in NSW. There is an interesting article from the SMH (see attachment 2) from 2015 about this mob and associated groups and people.

    So when I hear Morrison say “the rule of law” I think he means this so called “rule of law”. He seems to mean the laws that protect those that he wants protected. Those that support him and put him where he is. Therefore when I hear him say that I think “mate you are a wanker”.

    1. https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/about-us/
    2. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-institute-with-no-members-embarrasses-senate-committee-20151029-gkm71n.html
    3. https://www.crikey.com.au/2021/03/05/christian-porter-rule-of-law-2/

    • admin says:

      Mark,
      Ha! I have just been polishing a piece dealing in part with this very point. I’ll probably put it up tomorrow morning. “The rule of law is the idea that every person is subject to the laws of the land regardless of their status. It is also the idea that you cannot be punished or have your rights affected other than in accordance with a law, and only after a breach of the law has been established in a court of law.” See:
      https://www.australianconstitutioncentre.org.au/the-rule-of-law.html

      It has nothing to do with what is at issue here, and that is whether Porter is a fit and proper person to be Attorney General.

  • Jon says:

    The QA panel covered the “mental illness” claims extremely well, along with the fact that the whole system surrounding sexual assault is riddled with inappropriate, male dominated, often paternalistic attitudes. With the exception of the nigh on comatose “we need to talk about it” National MP Susan McDonald there was pretty much unanimous agreement that the time for sweeping these problems under the carpet (or worse still pretending to be unaware of their existence) and yet more gabfests was well and truly over.

    Anyone with even a smidgen of conscience, concern and awareness – McDonald is a National who lives in Qld so she can be excused for not knowing what most others have for decades – understands the huge problems victims of sexual assault already face, including character smearing, untrained and uncaring police, long time delays, difficulties in obtaining justice etc.

    On Morrison and Porter lying there’s an excellent summary by Rachel Withers on The Monthly here: https://www.themonthly.com.au/today/rachel-withers/2021/26/2021/1614314478/web-lies

    It’s pretty obvious that Morrison’s office runs interference for him at every opportunity. That he must know this happens and yet permits his staff to operate like that is an indictment on them and him. Time the media stopped asking “what did you know” and started asking “why didn’t you know”.

  • John Gallagher says:

    Hugh Riminton
    @hughriminton
    #MalcolmTurnbull has just told Fran Kelly he “has a question in my own mind” about whether the woman at the centre of the historic rape allegations against a now Cabinet Minister actually died by suicide. He says it is “counter-intuitive”.
    #auspol
    7:04 AM · Mar 2, 2021

    • admin says:

      John,
      I have been unable to find whether there was an inquest into Katharine Thornton’s death. I have not been able to find out any suggestion there was one.

      • Mustafa Mahundi says:

        There “may” be a coronial inquiry into the deceased, I do worry that such inquiry won’t properly investigate if the death occurred by suicide or if there are suspicious circumstances, looking at our federal politicians and especially Porters unhealthy ambitions, the guy would do anything to become PM a fact well known, I think a full AFP inquiry into the deceased is not only appropriate but absolutely necessary.

  • Warwick says:

    If people have any evidence of any crime they should report it to the police. In the case of Christian Porter people have made some accusations but have not filed a report. Apparently Katharine Thornton withdrew her statement and did not file a report.
    An Inquiry will do nothing except sell advertising space in newspapers and could cause more grief and hurt to Ms Thornton’s parents and friends. An Inquiry would have to investigate in some detail Ms Thornton’s mental state and what psychiatric advice she was given and by whom. What was her mental state before she made the allegation and after she made the allegation and why did she withdraw her statement and of course why did she commit suicide? Witnesses would have to called to provide the Inquiry with something they could base a final report on including perhaps calling witnesses to give a second opinion on anything provided by people close to Ms Thornton who could be biased.
    This is an unfortunate allegation that cannot be substantiated, unless additional evidence is found, and Christian Porter should be believed and the matter closed.

    • admin says:

      Warwick,
      Apart from the fact that Porter is a politician and so, almost by definition is not to be believed, this will drag on and on. This is not a simple accusation. There is a great deal of detail and friends and family have known about it for decades. Ms Thornton kept diaries, and the ‘dossier’ sent to assorted politicians runs to 31 pages. Ms Thornton withdrew her statement only a day or two before she apparently killed herself. As far as I can see there has been no coronial inquest into her death. Asking ‘why’ she committed suicide is impossible. When we were both at university, a mate of mine killed himself, after I went to my first job. Ever since, I have tried to fathom ‘why’ he did it. I can come up with a couple of possibilities, but whether they were the cause, we will never know. I suspect the same applied to Ms Thornton. The only reasonable course is for there to be an independent inquiry. Anything else will just look like the boys covering for someone, solely because they need the vote in parliament. It might be worth you reading this: https://www.crikey.com.au/2021/03/01/rape-allegation-cabinet-minister/

      • Peter Featherstone says:

        Im not sure it’s correct to say that Morrison should have passed on the statement for porter to read
        Was there not an open police file at the time?
        Could that prejudice the investigation?
        And police say it is usual not to interview a suspect until they have a signed statement from the alleged victim
        Is that not right?

        • admin says:

          Peter,
          I don’t know; the law is not my field of expertise. I just find it beyond belief that upon receiving this document, Morrison didn’t read it. It would have been the first thing I did. Then I would have queried Porter in detail about it. I really think Morrison says he did not read it so he could easily evade questions as to its detail. The same goes for Porter.

    • Mustafa Mahundi says:

      Sorry to say but you are wrong on all counts, you have no proof that the person committed suicide, if you do, tell us! Ms Thornton was of exceptional intelligence with a very high IQ the rape allegations she made have not been dreamed up by her late last year, they have been around for years, corroborated by statements of her former partner who has clear recollection of conversations with Porter many years ago in which Porter mentioned the rape. To suggest Ms Thornton suffered delusions about the rape is an insult, you have no idea what her state of mind was, I would suggest a great deal healthier than yours. There is enough corroborated evidence to pursue a claim legally, but you conveniently ignore the issue that is paramount at the moment and one Morrison refuses to discuss, and that is is Porter a fit and proper person the be the Australian AG. To whitewash all of this and have Porter carry on as if nothing had happened renders us third world political standard, we dislike the political climate in Myanmar and protest strongly against it, yet at home we are just as bad. You see if Porter can no longer be charged, the allegations are corroborated to the extent that makes a continuation of him as AG totally inappropriate.

  • Steve Enright says:

    Where is the evidence that Christian Porter raped Kate Thornton? This alleged sexual crime apparently occurred in 1988 when Porter was just 17 and Thornton 16.
    It is only a matter of law that makes this a crime despite her being only a few months younger, clearly infatuated and probably a willing sexual partner. Or, was she brutally raped by Porter without her consent. The law will never know as this woman clearly had mental health issues prior to taking her life.
    Was she simply wishing for a relationship with Porter who did not feel the same way about her?.
    My question is, why was this alleged rape not reported in 1988 when it supposedly occurred.
    For her friends to trial Porter by media without even revealing their friends name is as low as one could expect from journalism and the opposition.

    • admin says:

      Steve,
      Your assertions are just wishful thinking. You need to ask why only 13% of sexual assaults of women are reported to police. The shame of it has been loaded onto the women, where it should be the perpetrators who feel that shame. It has also been found that the instance of false reporting of sexual assault is quite small (at about 5%). Hopefully Grace Tame’s efforts will change these statistics. Porter is only being ‘tried by media’ because Morrison and Porter have refused to have an independent inquiry. The low bar is at the feet of the government, where they have had it for years. I thought it would be difficult to lower it any further, but recent weeks have demonstrated that I was wrong.

  • Meg says:

    I’ve been feeling a great deal for the woman and I can totally believe that Christian Porter raped her when she was 16. Not least because I was also raped at that age and then again 3 years later by the psychologist i sought help from. While I remembered both these events, I didn’t fully appreciate the effect on my life and my choices until I was 48, the same age that woman was when she finally reported it. Once the full horror of what I had experienced came home to me, I was suicidal for months. I allowed my youngest daughter to go live in an unsafe situation because I really couldn’t look after her properly. I hardly slept, had constant panic attacks and it was only through the support of an excellent sexual assault worker as well as yoga, bushwalking and meditation that i finally learnt to live with that trauma. I had just enough support and courage to report to police, but not enough to face a trIal. The counsellor I saw 10 years later suggested I apply for victims compensation and after another 6 years that came through. The tribunals validation of my experience and the written acknowledgement that came with it that money could never erase my suffering, made a huge difference to me. I still have ptsd but I can cope. The lack of support and follow-up that woman would have experienced due to covid restrictions could have been the disastrous thing that pushed her to the ultimate self- harm. Once she had opened up enough to report the incident to police, she was extremely vulnerable emotionally and needed the full support of police and the law, which I was fortunate enough to receive. I fully believe her story and wish I could have helped her.

    • admin says:

      Meg,
      I cannot even begin to imagine what you have been through and how it has affected you. I just feel relieved that you received some sort of help that was effective. The system for dealing with such atrocities is not acceptable in this day and age. I wish I had a solution.

  • Jon says:

    Steve’s reply is unfortunately typical of some MALE views. He has no understanding of why females don’t report sexual assaults even though his own words provide OBVIOUS clues. If he opened his mind and ears to victims he might understand, although I have to say that would appear to be extremely unlikely. There’s a furphy which does the rounds of male circles which suggests – without providing evidence – that a high percentage of women who report rape/sexual assault etc are liars. In fact the stats and surveys suggest completely the opposite – women don’t report a majority of assaults because they face the same sort of ignorant assumptions along with a whole raft of other obstacles. These obstacles have been openly discussed for years without resolution.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      Yep. It is a common problem. A lot of people simply don’t have empathy for anyone. The lightbulb only goes on when it actually happens to them. Such abuse rarely happens to adult blokes.

  • Russell says:

    The South Australian coroner has just asked SA Police to keep pursuing the investigation into circumstances around Kate Thornton’s death. It is well known that it occurred not long after she decided against any further discussion with police. Had NSW Police gone to Adelaide in March 2020, Kate T would have normally given a formal/sworn statement that could later be presented in court. Necessarily, with such sworn statement in police possession, Porter would have been fully obliged to give his side of the story. That the rape victim (-alleged-) never chose to make sure Porter had to front up in a court, is interesting. She died within days of retracting her evidence given to police at Kings Cross, on her return home (Adelaide). Some people may be asking : exactly what transpired in Thornton’s life that week before the retraction? Was anyone constantly at her side in her great distress? And was the death of this woman precisely as stated in our media – suicide. Let us hope the final hours of KT are very thoroughly studied by authorities in SA.

    • admin says:

      Russell,
      It is the very least she deserves.

    • Geoff says:

      Apparently she did not retract her complaint or any statements, she just withdrew from the process, just stated that she did not want to proceed with the complaint. So any complaint or preliminary statements still stand. I hope the coroner/ SA police have her phone and are able to look at records of contact going back at least 12 months before her death. Would be interested to know if she had been ‘leant’ on and if so by exactly who and when.

  • Russell says:

    Well placed, prestigious, narcissistic people often have at their beck, considerable means to assure they will not lose that prestige and high position to meddling by “mere mortals”. Rather as a fly on a horse’s buttock gets flicked ( by the powerful tail). Presto, fly gone.

  • Warwick says:

    An Inquiry may turn up more unsubstantiated claims that the media will relish but will not help the family nor the so called friends of the deceased woman.
    Any Inquiry will have to include a thorough investigation of the mental state of this woman in it’s terms of reference and should also include what advice was given to this woman by her so called friends and psychiatrists. It might be found that her friends and helpers contributed to her taking her own life more than any other factors she was dealing with.

    • admin says:

      Warwick,
      This seems to be a bit of wishful thinking on your part. Nobody will ever know what motivated Ms Thornton to apparently kill herself. That is just as likely as determining whether Porter is guilty of anything.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    Warwick seems to have missed the fact that her family, and friends, would welcome an investigation into the reasons for, and circumstances leading up to. “this woman’s” tragic death. It is remarkable that most of those people who knew both of these people at the time want to see this, and speak about her with affection, and the belief that she was an intelligent, truthful person. Equally I have yet to see any former partner, or girlfriend, or even male friend, come out and state that Mr Porter has always been a wonderful decent considerate non sexist person who would never behave badly towards women. Character means a lot in many jobs and surely it means a huge amount in those who run this country. It seems to me that a person who is confident that they are a person of the right character to be our Attorney General, who is confident in their lack of guilt, for anything like this, would have no problem in having an independent inquiry. Warwick also seems to not understand that this is of huge significance to all of us. The character of those who we are paying, who we elect, to run this nation matter a hell of a lot.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2021/03/04/family-christian-porter-rape-accused/

    • admin says:

      Mark,
      Precisely. I have no illusions that Porter will ever face a court for this as Ms Thornton is dead and there is no sworn statement. However, given his character, I doubt he is a fit and proper person to be anywhere near government let alone the practice of law. It is time narcissistic misogynists like Porter were called out as such. And given the outrage over this and his activities with his staff, I think his days as AG are numbered. Maybe Jen can explain that to Scott Morrison.

  • Jon says:

    Warwick seems to have completely overlooked Porter’s history with women while suggesting the alleged victim’s mental state was paramount. Here you go Warwick, have a read: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-10/four-corners-investigation-christian-porter-sexism-inappropriate/12862910

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      Some people tend not to accept reality. Some people think Craig Kelly is normal. Some people think Morrison is not a malignant narcissist.

  • Jon says:

    Warwick went beyond the usual blame the victim tactic prevalent in some (usually male) circles in sexual assault cases. In an obvious attempt at blame shifting and deflection he also invited us to consider his view that Ms Thornton’s friends (apparently not real friends, just “so called” ones) , confidants and professional counsellors could have been responsible for her death. He did so without even the tiniest shred of evidence (specific to this case or in general with similar cases) which might suggest that his stab in the dark was a possibility. Warwick might want to contemplate the fact that studies of sexual and domestic violence often reveal patterns of previous or continuing aberrant behaviour.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      Yep it is all about taking the blame from the bloke and trying to load it on women. When Grace Tame spoke at the NPC, she mentioned shame, and how much women suffer from it. That is appalling. The shame should only be felt by the perpetrators, not the victims. This all gets back to the supposed subservience of women.

  • Jon says:

    Interesting to see the latest revelation that staff have signed prostitutes into PH for MPs, and masturbated on MPs desks. That PH is an egotistical brothel won’t shock anyone although most of us probably assumed it was where politicians prostituted their (very limited) honesty and principles, not were they did their horizontal dancing.

    I wonder how much of what Kate Jenkins finds in her enquiry will be made public. She ought to insist everything (other than names) is laid bare, but somehow I doubt it. Understandably submissions will remain private but failing to apply the blowtorch by adopting euphemisms or censoring the claims of people making submissions will simply entrench existing attitudes and practices. The ball is in your court Ms Jenkins.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      I find it hard to believe that the result of any inquiry will be released, especially one from someone of independent mind like Jenkins.

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