Malcolm Turnbull lashes Christian Porter’s blind trust declaration over legal fees

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“You can’t make anonymous cash donations to political parties; it’s against the law. I am staggered that Porter thought he could get away with it and I will be even more staggered if the Prime Minister allows this to stand.”

Mr Turnbull said that, if Mr Porter did not know the identity of the donor, then he should not accept the money.

A spokesman for Mr Porter said on Tuesday, “The minister has undertaken disclosure in accordance with the requirements of the register and consistent with previous members’ disclosure of circumstances where the costs of personal legal matters have been mitigated by contributions or reductions in fees.

“No taxpayers’ funds were used in meeting the costs of the minister’s actions against the ABC and Milligan, which have now concluded.“

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Labor and the Greens want Prime Minister Scott Morrison to demand his cabinet minister find out who donated to the fund and publicly disclose that information.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said on Tuesday that Mr Porter claiming not to know who had funded his legal fees was an “outrageous abuse of his office”.

Mr Porter said in his declaration that he had declared the arrangement “although these matters have been conducted in a personal capacity and all legal services were engaged in a purely personal capacity, out of an abundance of caution and consistent with approaches adopted by other parliamentarians in relation to the provision of reduced fee or pro bono legal services”.

“Although all of the above contributions were made to me, or were for my benefit, in a purely personal capacity, in the interest of transparency and out of an abundance of caution I make this disclosure,” he wrote.

With Katina Curtis

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