Morrison Will Not Consider Moving Porter
Scott Morrison will not move Christian Porter out of the attorney-general or industrial relations portfolios, insisting he is "an innocent man under our law".
The prime minister will also not seek advice on rape allegations against Mr Porter from the solicitor-general.
"To suggest there should be some different treatment applied to him, based on what had been allegations the police have closed the matter on, I think that would be grossly inappropriate," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"There is no basis for doing that."
Questions have been raised over whether Mr Porter's ministerial position is tenable, particularly given he is soon due to release the major Respect at Work report into sexual harassment.
Former solicitor-general Justin Gleeson has suggested the government seek independent legal advice on whether Mr Porter is a fit and proper person to remain in his position.
The prime minister said Mr Gleeson was entitled to his view but his department had provided no such advice.
"He is not someone who has been a particularly big fan of our government, I should say," Mr Morrison told reporters.
"But, that said, he is entitled to his opinion on this, but that is not the advice I have been provided at any time during the course of managing this matter."
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers says the prime minister needs to satisfy himself - and www.easy-web.club the country - the attorney-general is a suitable person to be the nation's first law officer.
He is calling for an independent, external inquiry to be conducted.
"It wouldn't be unprecedented for him to go down that path and I don't think it's true that this matter is done and dusted just because the prime minister says it is," Dr Chalmers told reporters in Launceston.
A leading legal academic says there is ample scope for Mr Morrison to hold an inquiry into his embattled minister.
Luke Beck from Monash University said the idea an accused rapist could sit in the federal cabinet and hold office as attorney-general without further action or process was untenable.
Associate Professor Beck said the prime minister had two options.
"Scott Morrison can simply sack Porter, not because Porter is guilty of any crime, but because his presence in cabinet undermines confidence in the institutions of government, and is causing a political headache," he said.
"Alternatively, and more fairly to Porter, Morrison can appoint an independent inquiry to look into whether Porter is a fit and proper person to serve in cabinet."
He said an independent inquiry was not the same as an inquiry into whether Mr Porter was guilty of a crime.
In recent decades there have been a number of examples of federal ministers who had been dismissed over unproven claims, including Ian Sinclair, Mick Young, Alan Griffiths and Mal Brough.
Mr Sinclair and Mr Young returned to the ministry, while Mr Griffiths and Mr Brough retired from parliament.
Meanwhile, a group of high-profile academics has referred the attorney-general to the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia.
Mr Morrison said he was aware of their actions but was unperturbed.