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Australia’s Attorney General on Wednesday confirmed he is the cabinet minister accused of raping a teenage girl in 1988.
Christian Porter, who is also Leader of the House and Minister for Workplace Relations, denied the allegations against him at a press conference in Perth, saying he would not step down from his position.
Australia has been gripped by the allegations against a previously unnamed politician since letters detailing the claim were sent to prime minister Scott Morrison on Friday.
“The things that are claimed that happened did not happen… Nothing in the allegations is true,” he said.
“I waited for the New South Wales police to conclude their consideration of the matter. [During that time] I have been subjected to the most wild and unrestrained accusations that I can remember in Australian politics.”
Mr Porter confirmed he knew the alleged victim and they had met at an international debating event in Sydney in January, 1988, when he was 17.
The alleged victim killed herself last year.
Mr Porter said he would be taking two weeks leave to assess “and hopefully improve” his mental health, but he would not step down as Attorney General.
“If I stand down, anyone could lose their job as the result of an accusation… [it would] set a new standard,” he said, claiming that if he did stand down, the country could dispense with the office of Attorney General because it would demonstrate that there was “no rule of law”.
He said he had maintained his silence while the police weighed the matter, adding that the former Leader of the Opposition, Labor’s Bill Shorten, had done the same when facing a similar accusation in 2014.
Victorian police investigated the case against Mr Shorten and concluded there was no case to answer.
Reporter Samantha Maiden, who went to school with the alleged victim in Adelaide, told The Telegraph that the Government was avoiding responsibility for investigating the allegation against the Attorney General.
“She was a brilliant person... Very meticulous... She kept a diary, and there are many friends of hers around at the time who are prepared to speak out. I came across seven or eight people I know who she had told. In her final years she would tell anyone who would listen,” she said.