In a week celebrating International Women’s Day, we might well look for the political reasons behind the attacks on women by the federal government. Australia has long had family political dynasties that have benefited from capitalist exploitation of workers, women, blacks, and minority groups.
The Porter family ‘dynasty’
Attorney General Christian Porter says he remembers very little of events during a debating competition at Sydney University in 1988.
However I remember his grandfather Charles Porter debating George Georges at the UQ Abel Smith lecture theatre in 1977 (see the film, Queensland Dossier, below). I remember being searched by police before entering the hall, possibly at the insistence of Charles Porter. An individual calling himself the Groucho Marxists had left a press release on the student union photocopier saying he was going to throw a cream pie at Porter. At the ABC’s Monday Conference compered by Robert Moore, the sitting Liberal member for Toowong (now Maiwar), Charles Porter (Snr) argued for a ban on street marches to stop the movement against the mining and export of Uranium from Qld.
Further reasons for an inquiry into Christian Porter’s dealings with women
Charles Porter, a Liberal patrician, who lived at Brookfield in Brisbane’s west, was very conservative, at times siding with the Nationals (formerly the Country Party) over his own party. The Porter family have consistently taken a political position against unemployed workers (Robodebt), democratic rights (ban on street marches), feminists (defunding rape crisis centres), blacks (Aurukun and Weipa) – all involving people fighting for justice. The Porter family has been in the frontline of the resurgence of the conservative right in Australia for over 50 years. Regardless of the truth or otherwise of the allegations of sexual assault against Liberal Party members, what strange enclave of elitism and sexism the Australian Liberal Party comes from. Teenage boys who can’t iron their own shirts. Plus there are truckloads of hypocrisy in the cover-up by the federal government over recent rape allegations.
In the 1960s and 70s, Aboriginal people were removed from their homelands in Weipa and Aurukun by the bauxite mining giant, Comalco. Bjelke-Petersen, his wife, members of the Bjelke-Petersen cabinet, including the Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs benefited by a Comalco share hand out. The government’s racist policies promoted a form of apartheid (called simply “The Acts”) in aboriginal communities in Queensland. The government cracked down on any first nations people fighting for land rights.
At the press conference, Porter claimed no one had put the allegations of the complainant to him, but conceded that their substance was known to him since Nov ’20.
Neither Morrison nor Porter read the 31-page-statement of the complainant. Porter did seek the advice of a defamation lawyer prior to giving the press conference. Was this to scare people off from making allegations or to prevent more women and witnesses from coming forward?
At a press conference on the 3rd March Christian Porter said:
Questions for Christian Porter
- Are you the grandson of Charles Porter, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Bjelke-Petersen government?
- Why did your grandfather support the Bjelke-Petersen government’s de-funding of the women’s rape crisis centre in Brisbane in 1977?
- What was Charles Porter Snr, as the Liberal member for Toowong (Maiwar), doing supporting Bjelke-Petersen’s government in the 1970s?
- Why did Charles Porter Snr support the denial of democratic rights (ban on street marches) in 1977?
- Did Charles Porter Snr debate Senator George Georges on ABC TV’s Monday Conference compered by Robert Moore in 1977? Georges opposed the government’s street march ban but Charles Porter, a Liberal, supported the ban, why?
- Was the reason Charles Porter (Snr) argued for a ban on street marches was to stop the movement against the mining and export of Uranium from Qld?
- Did your grandfather support the denial of self-determination of aboriginal people when Bjelke-Petersen took over aboriginal councils from the Federal government?
- Why did Charles Porter Snr support a form of apartheid in Queensland?
- Why did Charles Porter Snr arrive at the Abel Smith Lecture hall with an escort of Special Branch officers who searched the entire audience at the ABC’s Monday Conference debate on the ban on street marches?
- Who were the other debaters with you in Sydney in 1988 when you were shown how to iron your shirt by the complainant?
- Surely they are witnesses to your conduct on the day in question? Why not bring them forward to say what they witnessed?
- What do you say to her friends who support her credibility?
- Did you have sex with a 16-year-girl in Sydney in 1988? Did she give consent?
- Why did your grandfather oppose the introduction of sex education in Queensland schools?
“I prosecuted in trial and at sentence the most serious sexual assaults against women and children. That was my job before politics.” – Christian Porter
What a terrible irony it would be if this man who prosecuted rapists was one himself.
A full investigation into the allegations of the complainant needs to be undertaken immediately.
3 Mar 2021
A documentary shot around Queensland in 1978 linking Bjelke Petersen’s ban on street marches with the State’s repression of opposition to uranium mining and Land Rights.
People appearing in the video include (in order of appearance):
John Freeland, Queensland Teachers Union
Ian Viner, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (1975 – 1978)
Larry Lanley, Tribal Council
Ted Butler D.A.I.A. (State)
John Omond, D.A.A. (Federal)
Charles Porter, Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs
Produced by Jeune Pritchard and Luc Pelissier
Super 8 footage: Marian Redmond
Additional footage: Megan McMurchy
Videotape editor: Stephen Jones
Editing Facilities: N.S.W. Institute of Technology, Media Centre
Graphics: Shirley Martin
Made with assistance from the Australian Film Commission, 1978
Completed February 1979, Sydney
Original format is 3/4-inch U-matic BVU (high band) colour video, first released in early 1979 in Sydney.
Video restoration by Stephen Jones 2014.
‘The day of the political street march is over’