An official from Christian Porter’s new department filed a complaint against him in the three months since he was demoted to attorney general.
Mr Porter, 50, was sent to the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio in March after allegations arose that he raped a teenage girl in 1988.
At a Senate committee hearing on Thursday, Labor Senator Murray Watt asked if anyone complained while working with Mr Porter in his new job.
“Has anyone in your department expressed discomfort or reluctance to meet Mr. Porter since his appointment?” he said.
Christian Porter announced that he and his wife Jennifer split in 2020 (pictured together)
Deputy Secretary Louise McCulloch admitted that a staffer did, but kept the details tight to protect the person’s confidentiality.
“We are aware of one complaint, one issue, which we have addressed through our normal workplace safety policies and staff support,” said Deputy Secretary Louise McCulloch.
She said the matter was not discussed directly with Mr Porter and that there was no “specific incident” but that the employee “did not want to get in touch” with Mr Porter.
Department Secretary David Fredericks said the issue had been resolved and the “nature and gravity” meant no further action was needed.
“Mrs. Bryant and I are in a difficult position here because we respect privacy,” he said.
‘[But] we’re trying to send a signal… all the actions we’ve taken, which may seem modest to you, were perfectly appropriate in my long experience and judgment.”
He said he could not recall a similar complaint being made against another minister.
Mr. Watt later asked Mr. Fredericks the gender of the person who had made the complaint.
“That’s not fair, Senator. We can’t talk about that,” he said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Porter’s department for comment.
Industry Minister Christian Porter (pictured with his lawyer) spoke to the media outside the NSW Federal Court in Sydney on Monday
He was not named in an ABC report published Feb. 26, but later expressed a tearful press conference before going on leave.
The article revealed allegations that a senior minister raped his 16-year-old female debate teammate in Sydney when he was 17.
The Liberal Party minister has vehemently denied the allegations.
Mr Porter announced Monday that he was dropping his defamation case against the ABC in a bizarre press conference where he claimed a moral victory over the national broadcaster.
Mr Porter filed a case against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan in March, alleging he was the victim of a malicious “trial by the media.”
Although he was not named, his lawyers argued that “many Australians” could have figured out the story was about him and challenged the ABC to prove the allegations true in the Federal Court.
But after mediation, Mr Porter – who vehemently denies the allegations – decided not to proceed with the case.
He did not receive a settlement fee, but the ABC had to update his article with an editor’s note expressing “regret” that readers thought the minister was guilty.
The Attorney General has filed a case against ABC journalist Louise Milligan (pictured during the March 4 Justice rally)
Christian Porter (pictured during a debate when he was a schoolboy) said the alleged rape ‘just didn’t happen’
Porter claimed the win, saying the ABC had been forced into a “humiliating backdown.”
‘I don’t think this article should ever have been printed and published as it was. It was sensational, one-sided, unfair and it’s the kind of coverage that any Australian can be subjected to unless people resist,” he said outside the Sydney court.
“The ABC and Louise Milligan have been forced to say that the allegations in the article cannot be proven civilly or criminally.
“So the same people who called for some sort of civil hearing are now being forced to say the charges would not be proven by civil law standards.
“Now, I never thought the ABC would reach that point, but that’s the point they would reach,” he said.
The national broadcaster said: ‘The ABC stands behind our investigative and public interest journalism, which is always pursued in the interest of the Australian community.’
The Rape Charge: A Timeline
1988: Sydney debate match in which woman later claims to have been raped
2013: Woman tells counselor about assault about her accusation
End of 2019: Woman engages lawyers and prepares statement
February 2020: Woman reports allegations to NSW police
March 2020: Police postpone trip to visit her because of Covid-19
June 2020: Woman retracts allegation and dies by suicide
February 24, 2021: Anonymous letter sent to PM detailing allegations
March 1, 2021: Prime Minister Says Minister Completely Rejects Accusations
March 2, 2021: NSW police close the case
March 3, 2021: Christian Porter goes public to deny allegations
March 15, 2021: Mr Porter sues ABC for defamation
May 31, 2021: Mr Porter drops his case