Malcolm Turnbull says that Christian Port 's decision to accept money without knowing the source was an "extraordinary repeal of liability", after the former attorney general said part of his legal fees were paid by unknown donors .
Porter, Minister of Industry and des Sciences, on Monday updated its register of interests to include the Legal Services Trust, which made an unknown contribution to its legal fees for a defamation case dropped against ABC and journalist Louise Milligan .
Por ter stated that he had "no access to information on the conduct and the financing of the trust ". he was "amazed that Porter thinks he can get away with it" by accepting donations without knowing the source.
"I will be even more amazed if the FirstMinister allows him to stand ", said the former prime minister.
" This is a shocking affront to transparency. "
Turnbull, who was Prime Minister from 2015 to 2018, during which time he promoted Porter to his former attorney general portfolio, said it was "False" and that he was "astonished" that MPs could accept donations from unknown sources in their personal capacity, a practice which has been prohibited for political parties.
" What Porter is saying is that it is okay for an Australian minister, a former attorney general, to take a big donation, a big present for himself, without revealing who the donor was and apparently without him knowing who the donor was, "Turnbull said.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg defended Porter's actions, saying he had
"The point on Christian Porter's legal defense is that he didn 't use taxpayer money and that ' s very important "said Frydenberg in an interview with Sky News.
" Labor will continue their vicious personal campaigns and smears. I don't think Australians have time for this.
Transparency International Australia has also strongly criticized Porter 's acceptance of money from an unknown source.
Executive Director Serena Lillywhite told The Guardian it was "mind-boggling" that Porter took the money.
"Most basic due diligence would require to know and to 'decide who ultimately raised the money, manages the legal services trust and when was created," she said.declared. "The hypocrisy is glaring given the growing pressure on non-governmental charities to
Lillywhite said the public and parliament had a "right to know" who was behind the money.
"If transparency and" great caution " were the main drivers of the former attorney general, he should never have accepted money from an unknown source and for an unpulgated amount, she said.
Porter launched a libel action against the public broadcaster in May following an online article which alleged an unidentified minister had been charged with rape in January 1988 in a dossier sent to Scott Morrison and three other parliamentarians.
Porter subsequently identified himself as the minister and vigorously denied the allegations.
At the end of May, Porter agreed to end the libel action, following mediation with the ABC. The broadcaster agreed to add an editor's note to the original article that said it had no intention of suggesting Porter committed the alleged offense and that " both sides agree that some readers have misinterpreted the article as a charge of guilt against Mr. Porter. This reading, which was not intended by the ABC, is regretted. "
The ABC has agreed to pay the mediation fees of Porter, but no damage.
Porter did not want to say who was funding his case, despite repeated questions. His statement was the first glimpse of it. 'origin of the funds.
Overnight, Turnbull tweeted his concerns about Porter's explanation, calling it' bogus' and that 'it ' is like saying "My legal feess were paid by a guy with a mask who dropped off a straw sack full of money. "know" who gave funds to his politicians.
"Australians need to know who created this trust, who funded it, how much they gave and whether they expected to receive anything in return for these donations," he said.
"If Mr. Porter really doesn't know who his donors are, he shouldn't be accepting their money. Did the money come from criminals? A foreign power? Apparently, Mr. Porter s 'mock up. "
Porter's office did not answer questions on whether the minister can rule out the money is from banned donors.
A spokesperson said he undertook the
"No contribuables has only been used in the costs of the Minister's actions against ABC and Milligan, which are now complete, ”he said.
The Prime Minister 's office did not respond to questions about the statement met ministerial standards.