Attorney-General Christian Porter has identified himself as the federal cabinet minister at the centre of a historical rape allegation, breaking his silence to vigorously reject the accusations.
Reports of an alleged rape involving a current cabinet minister, which is said to have occurred in 1988 when the victim was 16 years old, first surfaced in the media last week.
“Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened,” Mr Porter told journalists on Wednesday.
The politician at the centre of the allegations has not been named publicly until now.
"While I have followed the rules and stayed silent, I have been subject to the most wild, intense and unrestrained series of accusations I can remember in modern Australian politics," Mr Porter said.
"All of this has happened, and I have never been contacted by anyone in any substantive form. No one put anything to me in any detail."
Mr Porter opened his statement by addressing the alleged victim’s parents.
“I just wanted to start by saying something to the parents who are grieving for the loss of their adult daughter. I only knew her for the briefest of periods. We met at debating competitions, when we were teenagers about 33 years ago. I was 17 years old, and I think that she was 16 years old,” he said.
“And in losing that person, your daughter, you suffered a terrible loss.
“You did not deserve the frenzied politicisation of the circumstances of your daughter’s death for the past week.
“I have thought long and hard about the implications for you of what I feel that I need to say today.
“And I hope that whatever else happens, from this point that you understand that in saying today that the things that have been claimed to happen did not happen that I do not mean to impose anything more upon your grief.
“But I hope that you will also understand that because what is being alleged did not happen, I must say so publicly.”
Mr Porter said the only information he had about the allegations came from “what has been circulating online and in certain media outlets”.
“Prior to last Friday’s story in the ABC, no one in law enforcement, or the law or politics or the media ever put any specific allegations to me at all,” he said.
“I was aware, over the last few months of a whispering campaign.
“Had the accusations ever been put to me before they were printed, I would have at least been able to say the only thing that I can say - likely the only thing that I’m ever going to be able to say. And that’s the truth."
Mr Porter confirmed he would not be standing down from his position as Attorney-General.
“If I stand down from my position as Attorney-General because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life’s work, based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print,” he said.
“If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation. Every child we raise can have their lives destroyed by online reporting of accusations alone.
“My guess is if I were to resign and that set a new standard, there wouldn’t be much need for an Attorney-General anyway, because there would be no rule of law left to protect in this country.
“I will not be part of letting that happen while I am Attorney-General … I am not standing down or aside.”
Christian Porter in the House of Representatives Source: AAP
The much-anticipated public statement comes after days of speculation over the accused politician's identity.
On Monday, Mr Morrison rejected calls for the minister in question to be stood down while investigations into the claims continued, telling journalists the accused politician had “vigorously” denied the allegations.
The alleged victim, who has also not been named by the media out of respect for her family, took her own life in June last year but prepared a statement detailing the allegations before her death.
If you or someone you know is impacted by family and domestic violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit . In an emergency, call 000.