In An Unprecedented Move, The Gov Has Just Blocked A Bill To Investigate Christian Porter
“This is a government that thrives on secrecy. We all knew this, but this is a new low.”
The federal government has controversially blocked a bill that could’ve introduced an inquiry into Christian Porter’s fitness to remain as cabinet minister — a move that the Greens are calling “absolutely revolting” and Labor described as “unprecedented”.
What’s Going On Here?
Earlier this month, Greens Senator Larissa Waters wanted to introduce an independent inquiry into Cabinet Minister Christian Porter, following damning historical rape allegations that were made against the cabinet minister earlier this year.
Senator Waters intended to introduce the Commission of Inquiry with the hope that it would look into whether “Mr. Porter is a fit and proper person to hold any Ministerial position”.
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) June 1, 2021
But just last night, when the senate sat, in an unusual move they completely blocked the bill from being debated in parliament.
In response to the prevention of her proposed bill, Senator Waters has been furious.
Speaking to the Senate Chamber following the block, she responded: “This is a government that thrives on secrecy. We all knew this, but this is a new low.”
“To stop a senator from introducing a bill for a measure of transparency that goes to the functioning of this democracy is an absolute outrage. It is an outrage to process and democracy – but more so it is an outrage to survivors of sexual assault everywhere,” she continued.
Why Is An Inquiry Wanted?
Cabinet Minister Christian Porter is currently facing historical allegations against him that he allegedly raped a woman in the late 1980s, when they were both teenagers — accusations that Porter has maintained are false.
NSW Police investigated the claims but were unable to continue the case because the woman accusing Porter took her own life before ever filing a formal complaint.
But after discontinuing his defamation case against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan – who first reported on the allegation – there were renewed calls for an independent inquiry into the rape allegation.
How Could The Government Block it?
Senator Waters failed not just once but twice to introduce the bill to the senate on Wednesday evening, which is kind of an unheard of in parliament.
According to the APH’s website, the right to propose legislation “is not restricted to the government of the day” and that “any senator or member… may introduce a bill.”
But the APH also specifies on their website, that “between the conception of an idea to be implemented through legislation and the introduction of a bill to Parliament, there are extensive consultative and approval processes”.
Even so, to block the introduction of a bill is still pretty unusual and hasn’t happened much throughout the history of the federal Senate, according to Waters.
During the senate sitting, Senator Waters demanded to know who in the chamber had directed government senators to shut down her proposal without any debate. It’s unclear whether she got an answer.
So, What Happens Now?
Senator Waters told the Senate that she is “not going to let this drop” and neither will the “90,000 people that signed that petition” to have the inquiry in the first place.
“By all means, go to the election with this as your position and I look forward to you being condemned to the dustbin of history on the opposition benches for many years to come.”
According to a tweet from Senator Waters shared today, the senate is still discussing her bill. More to come.
Senate currently voting on whether my bill for a commission of inquiry into whether Porter is fit to remain a Minister should go to inquiry. Such an inquiry is usually a matter of course – but Govt is again blocking it, with PHON support. What have they got to hide?! #auspol
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) June 17, 2021