Labor accuses Christian Porter of ‘part-time’ work arrangements

Federal Labor has criticised the arrangements being put in place for Attorney-General Christian Porter’s return, arguing he will be paid his usual salary for “part-time” work.

Mr Porter is currently on medical leave to focus on his mental health, after strenuously denying a historical rape allegation.

On Monday, he revealed he was launching defamation action against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan relating to an article that reported a letter had been sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison containing a historical allegation of rape against a serving Cabinet minister.

Mr Porter is expected to return to work on March 31.

Mr Morrison told Parliament this week that elements of his portfolio would be handled by other ministers while the court case is underway.

“In an abundance of caution and to avoid any perception of conflicts of interests that may arise, the Attorney-General, when he returns, will not perform certain functions of his office that may relate to the Federal Court or the ABC,” Mr Morrison said.

Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally said Mr Porter’s position in Cabinet was a “question for the Prime Minister” but argued his work arrangements would upset some people.

“When I talk about rage and anger that the Australian women are feeling, let’s look at the proposition that’s being put here,” she told the ABC’s Insiders program.

“That Christian Porter can return to his job as Attorney-General on a full-time salary but doing the part-time work, that parts of his job will be hived off artificially to other people and he will be able to, given the time and space on his full-time salary, to fight his defamation case.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if women who are victims of domestic violence in this country had access to paid leave when they have to go to court to escape their abusers? Wouldn’t that be fantastic?”

Kristina Keneally says women are angry about Porter situation
Ms Keneally spoke to David Speers on ABC’s Insiders program.(

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The Prime Minister’s office and Mr Porter’s office have not responded to Senator Keneally’s comments.

Mr Porter’s lawyers have previously said Mr Porter would “exercise the opportunity” through the defamation case against the ABC to give evidence “denying these false allegations on oath”.

Australian rallies were ‘seismic moment’

Senator Keneally described the March 4 Justice rallies, in which thousands of people marched against violence against women, as a “seismic moment” for Australia.

She accused the Prime Minister of not listening to the protesters’ concerns.

“This is a seismic moment because it is a moment where we are looking for leadership,” she said.

“When it comes to these moments, leaders don’t always get to pick their moments, sometimes the moment picks them and the country has been looking to Scott Morrison for leadership, and sadly it has been lacking.”

Mr Morrison did not attend the March 4 Justice rally in Canberra, instead inviting the organisers to a private meeting in his office, which they rejected.

He drew criticism after telling Parliament that “not far from here, such marches, even now are being met with bullets” but later defended his comments, arguing he celebrated the right to protest and that it was “good and right” people voiced their concerns.

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