Attorney-General Christian Porter has remembered the woman who he says falsely accused him of rape in 1988 as an “intelligent, bright and happy person” who he agreed did iron his shirt the night of a debating dinner – as she suggests in an unsworn affidavit.
“There is a photo of the two of you sitting at the formal dinner that night. Do you remember that dinner?,’’ Mr Porter was asked.
“I am sure there was a formal dinner that night. I am sure that is the case. We were a group of people who were going out debating during the day, going out to functions and things at night. I am absolutely sure there would be such a photo,’’ he said.
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Mr Porter was then asked if he remembered dancing with the woman at the Hard Rock Cafe in Kings Cross.
“That may well have been the case,’’ he said.
“It was 33 years ago. I remember two evenings that week. One was a night with – at one of the colleges with bowls of prawns which sticks in my mind. I do remember a formal dinner and going out dancing sounds about right.”
The Attorney-General was also asked if he remembered walking her back to her accommodation at Sydney University.
Mr Porter was then asked about a third claim in the woman’s unsworn affidavit that she had ironed his shirt earlier that night.
“It’s not impossible, I have never been in the person’s room. I did read that as part of the material, and I recall, it sparked a memory, there were four of us, three boys, and this person whose name I can’t even say because of the situation we are in,’’ he said.
“I don’t think any of us had ever ironed a shirt before, and I recall, she showed us how to do it, I remember that.”
“She ironed your shirt for you. She claims you said she would make a wonderful wife some day?,’’ a reporter asked.
“I don’t remember that specifically but it is not impossible that that was said.”
The Attorney-General commenced his press conference with a personal appeal to the parents of the dead woman.
“I want to start by saying something to the parents who are grieving for the loss of their adult daughter,’’ he said.
“I only knew your daughter for the briefest periods at debating competitions when we were teenagers about 33 years ago. I was 17 years old and I think that she was 16 years old.
“In losing that person, your daughter, you have suffered a terrible loss and you did not deserve the frenzied politicisation of the circumstances of your daughter’s death in the past week.
“I have thought long and hard about the implications for you of what I feel that I need to say today.
“And I hope that whatever else happens from this point – that you will understand that in saying today – the things that are being claimed to have happened, did not happen – that I do not mean to impose anything more on your grief.
“But I hope that you will also understand that because what is being alleged did not happen – I must say so publicly.
“Likely the only thing that I’m ever going to be able to say – and it’s the truth – and that is that nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened.
“The allegations appear to be about a period in early 1988 during an end of school debating competition at Sydney University. I was 17 years old and the other person was 16. We were both selected with two others on the Australian Schools debating team and we went to Sydney University for an international competition. It was a long time ago – I always remembered it as a happy time – but I can say categorically what has been put in various forms and allegations simply did not happen.”
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