Former Attorney General Christian Porter has discontinued defamation action against the ABC and one of its investigative journalists.
Mr Porter launched proceedings against the national broadcaster over its reporting on allegations he raped a woman when they were teenagers in the 1980s, a claim he strenuously denies.
Mr Porter addressed the decision to discontinue the action in a press conference outside court this afternoon.
“I do not think this article should ever have been printed and published in the way it was,” he told reporters.
In a statement from the ABC it said Mr Porter and the broadcaster have “agreed not to pursue the matter. No damages will be paid”.
“Christian Porter has decided to discontinue his defamation action against the ABC and Louise Milligan,” the statement said.
“The ABC stands by the importance of the article, which reported on matters of significant public interest, and the article remains online.”
The ABC said it stands by its investigative and public interest journalism and, in particular, stands by its journalist, Milligan.
The article has been updated with an Editor’s Note. The full statement is below.
“On 26 February 2021, the ABC published an article by Louise Milligan. That article was about a letter to the Prime Minister containing allegations against a senior cabinet minister. Although he was not named, the article was about the Attorney-General Christian Porter,” the note said.
“The ABC did not intend to suggest that Mr Porter had committed the criminal offences alleged. The ABC did not contend that the serious accusations could be substantiated to the applicable legal standard – criminal or civil.
“However, both parties accept that some readers misinterpreted the article as an accusation of guilt against Mr Porter. That reading, which was not intended by the ABC, is regretted.”