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Christian Porter drops his completely stupid defamation action against ABC

Former attorney-general Christian Porter has discontinued his idiotic defamation action against ABC and journalist Louise Milligan.

Both parties have decided against pursuing the matter.

No damages will be paid. However, the ABC will cover all mediation costs between the parties, which served as an alternative to the litigation process. As a taxpayer, I’m obviously thrilled I paid for an alleged rapist’s idiotic dispute.

Image: pictured Louise Milligan. Source: Simon Schulter

Mr Porter commenced defamation proceedings against Ms Milligan and the ABC following an article published on February 26, which he claimed made a false rape allegation against him.

The story reported that police had been made aware of a letter sent to the Prime Minister, which detailed an alleged historical rape by a federal cabinet minister. Mr Porter had not been named in the article.

However, a statement from Mr Porter’s lawyer said that: “the Attorney-General was easily identifiable to many Australians,” and that he “has been subjected to trial by media without regard to the presumption of innocence or the rules of evidence and without any proper disclosure of the material said to support the untrue allegations”.

Mr Porter has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Following mediation between the parties, the ABC agreed to add an editor’s note to the article stating that the broadcaster and Mr Porter “accept that some readers misinterpreted the article as an accusation of guilt against Mr Porter“,  a reading which “is regretted

Nevertheless, the parties have taken fire at each other after Mr Porter referred to the article as “sensationalist” at a press conference. An ABC spokesperson released a statement insisting that: “(t)he article was not ‘sensationalist’. It was an accurate and factual report on a letter that had been sent to the prime minister and two other senior politicians.” 

Louise Milligan, who authored the article, expressed on Twitter that she considered Mr Porter’s press conference to be “utterly misleading“. Needless to say, we STAN.

 


The statement from the broadcaster affirmed that: “(t)he ABC stands by Louise Milligan, one of Australia’s foremost and most awarded investigative journalists, and all our journalists in their independent and brave reporting on matters about which Australians have a right to be informed“.

Without an explicit right to freedom of speech in the Australian constitution, Australian journalists do not have the same protection as their international counterparts.

It is significant that Mr Porter opted to discontinue the case, which would likely have been an enormously expensive and important trial, negotiating the defamation act and the public interest.