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Christian Porter dodges questions about whether he had an affair

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Attorney-General Christian Porter has dodged repeated questions about whether he had an affair with a staffer but insists an alleged incident involving him kissing a woman at a bar while he was married never happened.

Mr Porter has also hit out at former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull – who told the Four Corners program he counselled Mr Porter about the bar incident – saying Mr Turnbull is not a “great fan” of his.

Asked twice if he ever had “intimate relations” with a staffer, Mr Porter said he told Four Corners their depiction of what happened in the bar was wrong.

“I told Malcolm there was no substance to rumours around that bar story. I told Four Corners that’s what I said,” he told 6PR radio on Tuesday.

Attorney-General Christian Porter says former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is not a fan of his. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
media_cameraAttorney-General Christian Porter says former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is not a fan of his. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Four Corners claims to have spoken to six eyewitnesses to the bar incident, but Mr Porter said only one was quoted in the program.

“I don’t know why she would say that, but that didn’t happen in that bar,” he said.

Mr Turnbull told the ABC he assumed Mr Porter “wouldn’t do it again”, and he treated it as a misjudgment.

“If I had known at the time what was broadcast tonight, I would have made further inquiries before I made him attorney-general,” the former prime minister said.

Mr Porter said he had actually been called into Mr Turnbull’s office to discuss cabinet leaks.

“Towards the end of that meeting, he put this bar story to me. I said to him what I said to Four Corners, which was that there was no substance to either of those things and that was the end of that meeting,” he said.

“Of course, Malcolm appointed me attorney-general inside two weeks of that … I never had any complaint or any suggestion of any problem with the conduct of my duties or any way in which I was compromised.”

But Mr Porter said he had a “very significant disagreement” with Mr Turnbull in the final days of his prime ministership.

“I often suspected that there would be some consequences for that,” the Attorney-General said.

Asked if that meant Mr Turnbull’s comments were an act of revenge, Mr Porter said: “I don’t think that Malcolm is a great fan of mine, I will say that much … I don’t know what his motivation was.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter says he was ‘far from a perfect husband’. Picture: Sean Davey
media_cameraAttorney-General Christian Porter says he was ‘far from a perfect husband’. Picture: Sean Davey

Mr Porter, who split up with his wife in January, said he was “far from a perfect husband in many regards” but their separation was not about “this sort of stuff”.

He also insisted he never breached the ministerial code of conduct.

Asked if he had any intention of resigning, Mr Porter said: “Is anyone suggesting that should happen? I mean, no, I’m not.”

He was also asked if he could go to bed comfortably knowing no other woman would come forward with an account that would further embarrass him and the government.

“I can’t comment about what people might want to do to try to damage me or damage the government. That is part and parcel of politics,” he said.

“But I haven’t conducted myself in a way that I think would lead people to provide that sort of complaint about me.”

Mr Porter reiterated he believed he had a substantial basis to sue the ABC and would look into it.

Originally published as Question Attorney-General won’t answer

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