As it happened: Christian Porter resigns from federal cabinet; Victoria releases COVID-19 road map, NSW eases rules for hotspot LGAs

We’re sorry, this service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Advertisement

As it happened: Christian Porter resigns from federal cabinet; Victoria releases COVID-19 road map, NSW eases rules for hotspot LGAs

We have made our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic free for all readers. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

Key posts

Pinned post from

A summary of the day’s headlines

That's all for today. Thanks for reading. Here's a summary of the headlines:

  • Christian Porter resigned as a minister of the Australian government. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the decision after Mr Porter accepted money from unknown sources through a trust arrangement for his legal battle against the ABC. Our chief political correspondent David Crowe's analysis is that Mr Porter had to go because standards are higher for ministers.
  • Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state's "road map" out of lockdown once the state hits 70 percent and 80 per cent of adults choosing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Sydney’s hotspot local government areas will have the same outdoor gathering rules as the rest of the city from tomorrow, as the NSW government said all schools in greater Sydney will start a staggered return from October 25.
  • France should have been aware Australia was prepared to break a $90 billion deal to build conventionally powered attack submarines, Mr Morrison suggested, despite Paris’ accusation that the Canberra-Washington move was treacherous and brutal.

The live blog will be back up and running in the morning. Have a good evening.

Latest posts

Recap of Scott Morrison’s press conference about Christian Porter

In case you missed it earlier, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference at Kirribilli House in Sydney where he announced former attorney-general Christian Porter was quitting as Science and Industry Minister.

Mr Porter resigned from the front bench after he accepted money from unknown sources through a trust arrangement for his legal battle against the ABC. Mr Porter has been unable to identify the donors behind the blind trust.

His reason for resigning, in Mr Morrison's words, was "the inability for him to be able to practically provide further information because of the nature of those arrangements".

Mr Morrison at the press conference on Sunday afternoon where he announced Mr Porter had quit his job.

Mr Morrison at the press conference on Sunday afternoon where he announced Mr Porter had quit his job. Credit:Edwina Pickles

"If we were able to do that, that would allow the Minister to conclusively rule out a perceived conflict, and as a result of him acknowledging [his inability to identify the donors] he has this afternoon taken the appropriate course of action to uphold those standards by tendering his resignation as a minister this afternoon, and I have accepted his resignation," Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister insisted that by resigning Mr Porter was "upholding the standards" of being a minister.

In a statement Mr Porter said he was provided an assurance that none of the anonymous financial contributors were lobbyists or prohibited foreign entities.

“They contributed to a trust on the basis of confidentiality and a belief that their contribution would remain confidential within the rules of disclosure,” he said.

Asked whether Mr Porter should resign from Parliament over the matter, Mr Morrison said: "I am not the custodian of the Parliament."

Mr Morrison avoided directly endorsing Mr Porter's re-election bid, saying it was a matter for Liberal party preselectors in Western Australia.

Read the full story here.

Victorian business lobby ‘gutted’ over road map

By Noel Towell

Victoria’s business lobby groups say they are bitterly disappointed at the prospect of several more weeks of shuttered outlets and billions of dollars more trade lost under the state government’s “road map” for re-opening that was announced earlier.

Shop workers are bracing for a surge in customer aggression, according to the retail lobby, if they have to exclude unvaccinated customers and the Australian Retailers Association wants certainty on what expectations will be placed on businesses.

A pedestrian walking past the Young & Jackson pub in Melbourne.

A pedestrian walking past the Young & Jackson pub in Melbourne.Credit:Jason South

The $12 billion events industry says it has been completely overlooked in the road map and the pubs lobby, the Australian Hotels Association, says it was “gutted” by today's announcement.

The association said the restrictions on patron numbers and the continued ban on indoor service left Victorian publicans behind their NSW counterparts who can open - outdoors and in - when 70 per cent of that state’s adults are double-dosed.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the road map failed to deliver the certainty that the sector had been clamouring for with the chamber’s chief executive Paul Guerra describing the plan as “a road map full of roadblocks”.

“Every Victorian deserves to understand why the settings in NSW that enables them to open up at 70 per cent double vaxxed and give them a path forward is so fundamentally different to what Victorians got delivered today,” Mr Guerra said.

“We've done lockdowns for too long. We need a path out of this and today's announcement did not give us the clarity, did not give us the certainty, did not give us the hope that we needed to get out of this current situation.”

Loading

The hotel association’s Victorian president David Canny said the majority of Victorian pubs were willing to have their staff enforce vaccine mandates.

“Pubs and hotels wanted to trial the 'Pub Pass' vaccination system even before the state hits 70 per cent double-dose,” Mr Canny said.

“The government wants a vaccination model. If people can get to a pub once they’re jabbed, it will help the government achieve their goals.”

Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra welcomed the road map but said the likely full re-opening of retail, slated for early November, would mean another $6 billion in lost sales and that some shops would not survive.

Mr Zahra also called for greater clarity and support for retail businesses and their staff who are likely to have to enforce state government bans on unvaccinated customers.

“Front-line retail staff have unfortunately been the victims of increased customer aggression as a result of the QR code and mask mandates, and while these instances are in the minority, asking for a customer’s vaccination history will certainly elevate this concern,” Mr Zahra said.

“It’s important that retailers have the backing of law enforcement agencies so they can manage the safe reopening of their businesses.”

Handing over

By Roy Ward

Thanks so much for sticking with us on the blog this afternoon for two major national news stories in the Victorian roadmap and Christian Porter’s resignation from cabinet.

I’m shifting to our Brownlow Medal count live blog for the rest of the evening and Josh Dye will take over the blog for the rest of the evening.

Thanks for all the comments and interactions and I’ll see you all soon.

Advertisement

Albanese demands answers from Morrison on Porter money

By Nick Bonyhady

A fired up Labor leader Anthony Albanese is still going hard after Christian Porter despite his resignation.

He says Christian Porter was not sacked, but instead resigned so as to avoid disclosing the source of funding for his legal action against the ABC.

Member for Pearce Christian Porter.

Member for Pearce Christian Porter.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“No other Australian citizen can set up a fund, and not know where a million dollars just goes into for a private legal matter,” Mr Albanese says.

He argues Mr Porter should resign from Parliament. He says he doesn’t buy Mr Morrison’s suggestion that it is now a matter for Parliament and the people of Pearce, who Mr Porter represents.

Scott Morrison, as the Prime Minister of the country, has an obligation to make sure [contributions are properly disclosed] occurs as well.

The fact is that Christian Porter was the chief law officer of the land, appointed by Scott Morrison. And with today’s actions and the failure to disclose, he shows he’s not fit to be a member of parliament.

He says Mr Morrison’s appointment of Energy Minister Angus Taylor to act in Mr Porter’s stead as industry minister shows the Prime Minister “fails the laugh test” because of other accusations against Mr Taylor.

Watch: Anthony Albanese responds to Porter resignation

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is scheduled to speak to the media at 4.45pm AEST to respond to Christian Porter’s resignation from the front bench earlier today.

‘Trial by media’: Porter says he will seek re-election

By Nick Bonyhady

Now former-minister Christian Porter has released a lengthy statement attacking the ABC for subjecting him to what Mr Porter called a “trial by media” that unleashed a “mob” against him.

Mr Porter resigned from Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s frontbench on Sunday.

Mr Porter’s statement said he will not step down from his seat and has nominated for preselection to be the Liberal candidate at the next election. It said he was provided an assurance none of the anonymous financial contributors were lobbyists or prohibited foreign entities.

Member for Pearce Christian Porter.

Member for Pearce Christian Porter.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“They contributed to a trust on the basis of confidentiality and a belief that their contribution would remain confidential within the rules of disclosure.

“Whilst I have no right of access to the funding or conduct of the trust, on my request the trustee provided me an assurance that none of the contributors were lobbyists or prohibited foreign entities. This additional information was provided as part of my ministerial disclosure.

“No doubt the desire of some, possibly many, of those contributors to remain anonymous was driven by a natural desire to avoid the inevitable fact that for supporting me, the trial by mob would inevitably turn on them if they were identified.

“Facing a false allegation is an experience that places your family, friends and staff under enormous and cruel pressure. It has resulted in constant abuse and ongoing threats. For me personally, the physical threats of violence, the experience of being spat at and publicly abused for something I didn’t do has been nearly beyond comprehension in a civilised country.

“However, after discussing the matter with the Prime Minister I accept that any uncertainty on this point provides a very unhelpful distraction for the government in its work. To the extent that that uncertainty may be resolved by seeking further information in relation to the identities of the contributors, this would require me to put pressure on the Trust to provide me with information to which I am not entitled.”

Advertisement

Labor slams Morrison’s leadership as Porter resigns

By Nick Bonyhady

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has lashed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s leadership in the wake of Christian Porter’s resignation from the cabinet and his ministry.

“Christian Porter’s belated resignation is yet another failure of leadership from a Prime Minister who has no standards and is still to hold any inquiry into the serious and disturbing allegation made against his former attorney-general,” Mr Dreyfus said in a statement.

He accused Mr Morrison of tarrying over the last several days as pressure on Christian Porter grew over what Mr Dreyfus said was a contribution of up to $1 million from an unknown benefactor for his legal bills in his defamation battle with the ABC.

“Mr Morrison now needs to come clean on how much he knew about this secret fund, and he still needs to demand Mr Porter come clean on the source of his donations.

“The Australian people need to know who funded this trust, how much they gave, and what they expected to get in return for these donations.”

Morrison doesn’t endorse Porter for election

By Nick Bonyhady

Mr Morrison has declined to directly endorse Mr Porter for preselection in his WA electorate of Pearce, which has been made more marginal by a redistribution.

Loading

Asked whether he will be the Liberal candidate for the seat, Mr Morrison draws a contrast with the debacle that has engulfed the Labor Party in the electorate of Fowler.

In that seat, a retiring MP had wanted his seat to go to a local lawyer from the Vietnamese community.

Under a factional deal, it will instead go to Senator Kristina Kenneally.

On Mr Porter, Mr Morrison said:

If he wishes to stand again I’m sure he will put himself forward to the selectors that Pearce for the Liberal Party and in our party though selectors will make those decisions. This isn’t Fowler. This isn’t some deal in Fowler we are talking about.

Click here to read the story.

Porter still can’t say who paid legal bills, yet to commit to remaining in Parliament

By Nick Bonyhady

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is asked whether Christian Porter should remain in Parliament while he cannot say the ultimate source of money that he has received towards his legal bills.

He does not directly address the question, saying “what Mr Porter does not is a matter for him, he’s not a member of my cabinet”.

Well, you are now talking about a different set of issues which relates to the Parliament and I am not the custodian of the Parliament. The Parliament is the custodian of the Parliament. I am the custodian of ministerial standards and I have acted in accordance with those ministerial standards. I take them very seriously.

Mr Morrison says that the people of Pearce, the WA electorate that Mr Porter represents, are his boss.

“He will go back to doing that job.”

Click here to read the story.

Most Viewed in National

Loading