The appointment of Christian Porter as the Acting Leader of the Lower House is another illustration of the Government's ability to act with impunity, writes Victor Kline.
*CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses rape and sexual abuse
JUST THE other day I tweeted that, in making Christian Porter the Acting Leader of the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister was spitting in the face of the Australian people.
It was like a mafia boss telling us “we own this town, suckers".
In that same tweet, I confided that those of us at The New Liberals, responsible for launching the private criminal prosecution for rape against Porter, were very much feeling the pressure of expectation from a great proportion of the Australian population.
Many women and men, who are sick of the immorality of this Government and its gleeful rendering of women as second-class citizens, have said to us that they see us as their last hope.
Both these statements may seem hyperbolic, but they are not. We have a government which, according to a document produced by The Chaser, has committed over 900 improper, unethical and downright illegal acts in the last seven years.
But they proceed as if there is no difference between their system of governance and that of any ordinary, honest government. They are helped by the Murdoch media, which runs interference for them on every act of corruption they engage in.
They are also assisted by an Opposition whose philosophy is if they do nothing, have no policies and vote with the government on every piece of cruel and disreputable legislation they put up, that this is the best way to win the next election.
In other words, people will say: “well we voted for Morrison last time, but you know that other party we never hear from, except when they stand up to agree with the Government — let’s vote for them this time instead.”
With no scrutiny from either the mainstream media or Opposition, the Coalition Government is quite literally free to behave with the arrogance of a mobster family. They do own this town. They own this country, in fact.
This was reminiscent of when Al Capone’s "man in city hall", Mayor of Chicago William Hale Thompson, said to the press:
“Mr Capone is an honest and respectable businessman."
Many say that the corruption of the current Government will never lead to their undoing because the financial aspects are too complex for the general public to understand. I doubt this is true. For example, the Government buying land from one of its own donors at ten times the market price seems to be pretty easy to grasp.
Be that as it may, there is one thing that isn’t difficult for any member of the public to understand.
Christian Porter, the former Attorney-General, stands accused of rape. But not by the NSW police. They terminated their investigation without doing the two things any investigative body must do: interview the accused and the alleged victim.
Their excuse for not doing the latter was that the alleged victim was in Adelaide and they were in Sydney during a COVID-19 lockdown. This is despite the fact that the SA Police offered to conduct the interview for them. In any event, they could have interviewed the alleged victim over Zoom, which is done all the time, is perfectly legal and perfectly admissible in a court of law.
Then, the police tell us, the victim took her own life, and that before she did, she indicated she didn’t want to pursue the matter. We have only their word for any of that. Fortunately, the SA Coroner is now looking into these matters.
In the meantime, Morrison's Government refuses to hold a civil enquiry into the allegations to see if Porter is fit and proper to hold his job. Now, as if to spit in the face of the suckers, he appoints Porter to a very senior position in the Parliament. And, of course, the so-called Opposition says nothing about this or anything else to do with the whole troublesome affair.
The only hope of justice being done – by that I do not mean Porter being convicted, but just the necessary act of putting him before a jury – lies with Vania Holt, solicitor, former prosecutor with the DPP and The New Liberals candidate for Robertson in NSW.
Holt is assisted by two former female detectives from the sex crime squad and by a young solicitor. The team is being led by one of the country’s most senior and experienced criminal SCs. He will view the final brief prepared by Holt, when all evidence has been compiled by the detectives and give his opinion on the prospects of success.
If that opinion is positive, he will lead the prosecution in court before a judge and jury.
The preparation of the brief is taking a good deal longer than expected because new evidence is emerging all the time, evidence which, it seems, could easily have been acquired by the NSW police, had they continued with their investigation.
The pressure is on Holt and the team and on myself as the Leader of the Party. If we don’t succeed in achieving justice, then the despicable act of appointing an accused rapist to one of the highest posts in the Parliament will just be the beginning.
The Government has learned that it can engage in whatever corruption it likes with impunity. It will then know it can ignore even something as deeply traumatic to the entire nation as a rape allegation against a politician that holds a powerful office.
If you would like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Victor Kline is the leader of The New Liberals, a writer and a barrister, whose practice focuses on pro bono work for refugees and asylum seekers.
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