How many ministers in the Australian government

There are 22 ministers in the cabinet of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Only six of them are women. A terrible suspicion hung over the 16 men until Wednesday morning: one of them could be a rapist.

But who? The nation had speculated about this since it became known on Friday that a letter contained the most serious allegations against one of Morrison's ministers. The anonymous letter sent to the prime minister and two opposition senators mentions the man's name. But only now has the man targeted by the allegations broken his silence and taken off the guesswork. It's Christian Porter, the Minister of Justice.

What he was accused of had "just not happened," the minister said at a press conference in the capital, Canberra. The act described in detail in the letter, including the emails and audio recordings of statements made by a woman, is said to have happened 33 years ago. In 1988, the woman writes and says, she was brutally raped by a young man - by Christian Porter. She was 16 years old at the time and did not go to the police. Porter was 17. Both the alleged victim and the alleged rapist represented their states in a national student debate competition in Sydney.

Only a year ago, the woman turned on the advice of a lawyer, the police of the state of New South Wales. In view of the prominence of the accused, they formed an investigative group, but the Covid pandemic delayed the woman's questioning.

The victim of the alleged crime died last year

And then it was too late. At the end of June last year, police found the 49-year-old's body in her apartment in Adelaide, South Australia. According to friends, she had committed suicide. She was therefore in psychiatric treatment, suffered from a bipolar personality disorder. The police have now stopped their investigations for lack of "sufficient admissible evidence," as the authority announced on Tuesday.

The minister was referring to this. He had "a whisper campaign" over the past few months, Porter explained during his emotional appearance. He will not resign, however, because otherwise "anyone in public life could be removed simply by printing an allegation". Porter wants to take a short break from office to improve his mental health. He has "full backing" from Prime Minister Morrison.

The 50-year-old Porter has long been considered a rising star among the ruling liberals. His father won an Olympic silver medal in the high jump in 1956 and, like his grandfather, was an influential figure in the party. However, last November investigative reporters from the ABC uncovered a long list of misogynistic sayings and misogynistic behavior from the times when Porter was still studying law and later working as a public prosecutor. In Canberra, too, the minister is said to have behaved improperly towards women. Morrison's predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, revealed that Porter, who was still married at the time, was one of the cabinet members who prompted him to write his ukase known as "Bums-Ban". In it, Turnbull forbade its ministers from having sexual relations with subordinates.

The deceased woman's lawyer and her friends do not want to let the case rest. Even before Porter's appearance, several of them called for an independent investigation and emphasized that they consider the statements of their deceased friend to be very credible.

A network of former private students shapes the political sphere, which is often toxic for women

Prime Minister Morrison, on the other hand, announced at the weekend that he had spoken to his minister. He "categorically rejected" the allegations. Incidentally, it is a case for the police. Morrison's liberal-conservative government has been under pressure since a young government official publicly announced two weeks ago that she had been raped by a senior colleague in the office of current Secretary of Defense Linda Reynolds.

This case already sparked a debate about women's safety in the workplace politics. Even in the country with the world's second oldest women's suffrage, it is still shaped by the mates - the circles of friends who have already established their networks in expensive private schools only for boys and their teenage culture, consisting of sports, drinking parties and the questionable image of women. Some women MPs call the atmosphere in the Canberra Parliament building toxic.