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Independent Senator Rex Patrick has joined the Labor opposition in calling on former Morrison government minister Christian Porter to disclose the identities of the anonymous donors who helped fund his libel case against the CBA.

Mr Porter, then Minister of Industry, revealed last week that he had used a structure he described as a blind trust to receive and administer donations from anonymous benefactors to help him pay his bills legal.

He said at the time that he had “no access to information on the conduct and financing of the trust.”

Independent Senator Rex Patrick.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

After resigning from the ministry on Sunday, Mr. Porter issued a statement saying that “although I have no right to access the funding or conduct of the trust, at my request, the administrator assured me that ‘none of the contributors were lobbyists or banned foreign entities’.

Mr Porter said the donors had “contributed to a trust on the basis of confidentiality and the belief that their contribution would remain confidential.”

“There is no doubt that the desire of some, perhaps many contributors, to remain anonymous was driven by a natural desire to avoid the inevitable fact that in order to support me, the mob trial would inevitably backfire on them. ‘they were identified, “he said. .

Mr Porter withdrew his libel action against ABC and reporter Louise Milligan earlier this year after the parties reached a settlement.

Speaking to ABC’s Patricia Karvelas this afternoon, Senator Patrick said:

He has an obligation to the Australian people [to reveal the donors]; it’s a terrible precedent that an MP could receive a blind contribution, any MP could potentially receive that, and I don’t think that’s something the Australian public would accept in any way.

At the end of the day, if Christian Porter does not want to disclose, it is up to the Prime Minister who is the leader of the Liberal Party and ultimately he would have the capacity to do something. Otherwise, if the Prime Minister cannot lead or show leadership on this file, it will be up to the citizens of [Mr Porter’s WA electorate of] Pearce.

When asked if a backbench MP has different disclosure obligations to a minister, Senator Patrick replied that this was a “subtly different test”.

Former Minister of Industry Christian Porter.

Former Minister of Industry Christian Porter.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“As a minister, you cannot accept gifts and [that’s] the fundamental problem of what he did as Minister of Industry, ”he said.

“But for a deputy, there is always an obligation to disclose donations or anything that could give [rise] a concern about a conflict of interest. [Voters] have the right to know any cause of conflict of interest … the public has the right to know. And it’s now up to Mr. Porter to disclose the benefits … and the assistance. “

Mr Porter maintained he did not believe he violated ministerial standards and would not resign his seat. He has run for the preselection as Pearce’s Liberal candidate in the upcoming federal election.


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