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Case closed: Frydenberg, PM say nothing left to see in Porter rape allegations

Politics

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg insists historical rape allegations against Christian Porter are finished after the attorney-general emphatically denied the claims.

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But immense pressure remains on the Morrison government to launch an independent inquiry into the sexual assault accusations against the nation’s top law officer.

Porter is expected to be on leave for about two weeks but refused to quit cabinet after vehemently rejecting the allegations.

NSW Police closed an investigation into the matter because of a lack of admissible evidence.

“The matter is at an end because the police have spoken,” Frydenberg told Sky News on Thursday.

“It’s the police whose judgment and whose decision is the most important here.”

The deputy Liberal leader believes Porter’s critics will never be satisfied as he rejected calls for an investigation to review the historical allegations.

“Christian Porter has emphatically denied the events and he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence,” Frydenberg said.

An emotional Porter on Wednesday identified himself as the cabinet minister accused of an alleged sexual assault of a woman he knew 33 years ago.

“It just didn’t happen,” he told reporters.

“Could I have forgotten or misconstrued the things that I have read, which are said to have occurred? Absolutely not.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed the importance of respecting the rule of law after NSW Police closed an investigation because of a lack of admissible evidence.

“You will be aware of the terrible things that can happen in a country where the rule of law is not upheld and is not supported,” he told reporters in NSW’s Hunter region on Thursday.

“The rule of law is essential for liberal democracies and we weaken it at our great peril.”

He said Porter’s public rejection he sexually assaulted a woman in 1988 when he was 17 and she was 16 was the same as his private denial last week.

The attorney-general is expected to be on leave for about two weeks but won’t quit cabinet after vehemently rejecting the allegations.

Morrison declared there was a lot at stake if democratic legal principles were not followed.

The South Australian woman went to NSW police last year but withdrew her complaint before taking her own life in June.

The opposition and the Greens are calling for an inquiry to restore faith in cabinet.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said the allegations against the attorney-general were serious and credible.

“The prime minister really needs to stop looking at this as an issue of glib political management,” she told ABC radio.

Greens senator Larissa Waters said there was no possible advantage for women in making up sexual assault allegations.

“His statement was based on the premise that he thinks women make this sort of stuff up and I just simply don’t accept that,” she told ABC TV.

An emotional Porter on Wednesday identified himself as the cabinet minister accused of the alleged sexual assault.

“It just didn’t happen,” he told reporters.

“Could I have forgotten or misconstrued the things that I have read, which are said to have occurred? Absolutely not.”

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie said if the public confidence in Porter did not rebound he would be forced to resign.

“You just cannot have an attorney sitting there where the public has lost all confidence in him whether he’s guilty or not,” she told Sky News.

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said the attorney-general’s denial would not stop the “demeaning” speculation on social media about the issue.

“I believe some form of external inquiry would be a vastly better alternative than what we’re seeing,” he told ABC radio.

SA coroner David Whittle has asked the state’s police to further investigate the death.

Police had provided the coroner with a case file on Monday but Mr Whittle found the investigation to be “incomplete”.

“The investigation is continuing and once that investigation has been completed to my satisfaction I shall determine whether to hold an inquest,” he said in a statement.

The woman’s lawyer Michael Bradley has consistently called for an independent inquiry into the matter.

West Australian senator Michaelia Cash will act as attorney-general and industrial relations minister during Mr Porter’s absence.

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