Department grilled over Porter donations

A senate committee's heard there's no evidence of foreign donations toward Mr. Porter's legal costs.
A senate committee's heard there's no evidence of foreign donations toward Mr. Porter's legal costs.

There is no indication foreign political donors contributed anonymously to former attorney-general Christian Porter's legal costs in suing the public broadcaster.

Mr Porter quit cabinet after revealing in September anonymous donors paid part of his costs in the defamation case over an ABC story about a historical rape allegation.

Labor has repeatedly called for Mr Porter to publicly reveal whether any of the donors were from overseas or lobbyists.

The attorney-general's department on Friday told a Senate committee there was no information indicating contributions from a foreign government, political party or related entity.

"There's no information available to us to indicate that there is a foreign principal involved in the conduct or funding of that trust," deputy secretary Sarah Chidgey said.

Mr Porter's arrangements did not meet the threshold for the issuing of a notice requesting more information under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act.

"We need to meet certain thresholds to issue those notices and there's not information to meet those thresholds," Ms Chidgey said.

Mr Porter previously said he could not and would not reveal contributors to what he characterised as a blind trust.

But he said the trustee had provided assurances no money came from lobbyists or prohibited foreign entities.

Labor has twice failed to get Mr Porter referred for an investigation into whether his acceptance of anonymous legal costs was in contempt of parliament.

The MP for the West Australian seat of Pearce launched defamation proceedings against the ABC over its story about a rape allegation against an unnamed cabinet minister.

Mr Porter named himself as the minister referred to and strenuously denied the allegation. He settled the defamation case before trial.

Australian Associated Press