Opinion: Without an inquiry, doubt will persist

Media coverage: The Guardian

New South Wales police have decided to close their investigation into the rape allegation against the attorney general, Christian Porter, an allegation which he has emphatically denied. It is now vital the prime minister institute an independent inquiry to transparently consider the allegation, and the circumstances surrounding the death of the woman who alleged she was raped 30 years ago, as a 16-year-old. The proper governance of the nation demands it. Without an independent inquiry there remains a shadow over the Morrison government and attorney general.

The NSW police reportedly closed the case because there was insufficient admissible evidence. In a criminal case, police must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt - a high bar indeed when the key witness is now deceased and unable to give a first-hand account.

But a criminal prosecution is not the only way to test the truth of an allegation. A fair and independent inquiry would provide Porter with the opportunity to clear his name. An inquiry would consider all available evidence, including that of the attorney general, if he chose to participate, statements made by the complainant, evidence of contemporaneous complaint, diary entries, all of which can be tested through a fair process.

Without an inquiry, the shadow of doubt will persist within the Australian public as to whether Porter is a fit and proper person to retain his role as Australia’s first law officer.

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