ABC faces tough fight in Christian Porter defamation case

ABC faces tough fight in Christian Porter defamation case. By Chris Merritt.

The big issue is not whether the national broadcaster will lose; that’s almost a given. It’s how badly it loses, how much material comes to light in court and whether the Federal Court will declare that the national broadcaster and one of its most famous journalists were motivated by malice.

Porter’s statement of claim has been drafted with the goal of proving that the ABC and Milligan were predominantly motivated by malice when they published a February 26 report that, according to Porter, contains the defamatory imputation that he raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988.

In defamation law, malice is present when an otherwise legitimate act is predominantly undertaken for a improper purpose.

And in this case, the improper purpose Porter aims to prove is one that has actually become fashionable among parts of the political class and the media: the sidelining of the justice system.

This is how the statement of claim, which was settled by Bret Walker SC, puts that accusation: “Milligan acted with malice knowing of the impossibility of any finding of guilt or civil liability in the circumstances and believing that a public campaign designed to damage his reputation would be a more effective substitute against Porter in replacement of the process of the justice system.”

This time it’s different:

Plenty of media organisations have been sued in the past for defaming politicians. But this case is about something more important than Christian Porter’s reputation.

It is literally about the rule of law — whether everyone’s rights and liabilities are governed by the requirements of the normal law and whether the ABC and Milligan tried to displace that system. …

Porter and his lawyers are almost certainly planning to take possession of Milligan’s emails, text messages, notebooks, interviews, unedited video footage and a range of other material — everything that is relevant to the statement of claim. …

For the ABC and Milligan, proving the truth of the published imputation is impossible as the woman at the heart of the affair had a history of mental health problems and took her own life after withdrawing a complaint to police.

They are unlikely to be able to show they conducted themselves reasonably while discussing government or political matters because, according the statement of claim, they gave Porter no opportunity to respond.

And of course the left-biased media are studiously avoiding the obvious parallels with the similar rape allegations against Bill Shorten, which they keep very quiet about. Both men have had their allegations dismissed by the police for lack of evidence, but Shorten’s accuser is alive and well and making credible accusations today — but the media will not ask her. No way.

This is a partisan witchhunt.

And now that the topic of sexual misbehavior in Parliament House is being opened, Labor stand to lose much, much more. The Labor Party harbors a higher percentage of miscreants, and is more tolerant of odd sexual behavior, in my experience in Canberra and with Labor folk. But you can rely on the media to hush it up, ‘cos they too are mostly Labor folk.

Remember what happened with #meto in Hollywood, which has been giving us moral lectures for a couple of decades now? Turns out nearly all the miscreants were on the left.