15 September 2021

Hugh Riminton on Christian Porter’s supposedly blind trust payment: “We know he perceives a potential apprehension of conflict because that’s what the parliamentary register is for. It only exists so that MPs can declare gifts and other financial arrangements that ‘may conflict, or may be seen to conflict, with (the parliamentarian’s) public duty’. … Porter claims, improbably or not, that he doesn’t know who gave him the money. For all the rampant speculation now running, the public doesn’t know either. But it surely has a right to. … If the money came from a high-net-worth individual, it is possible their source of wealth may have come from commercial interests that come under his very portfolio. What is to stop, once all this has died down, a well-heeled figure sidling up to the minister and revealing themselves as the benefactor? Perhaps offering the last four digits of the bank account to prove their bona fides. Then the quiet request for the quid pro quo. … This is so clearly fraught with possible peril, to the potential for undue influence or even blackmail, it is astonishing he didn’t just say no.”