Daily News Roundup

March 3, 2021


WEDNESDAY, February 3

Christian Porter has identified himself as the Cabinet minister who is facing a historical rape allegation.

The Attorney-General fronted the media in Perth to strenuously deny the allegation.

Mr Porter, in an anonymous letter sent to the Prime Minister, had been accused of raping a woman in Sydney in 1988, long before he entered politics.

“Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened,” an emotional Mr Porter said.

The woman contacted police in 2019 but took her own life last year.

On Tuesday, New South Wales Police said there was “insufficient admissible evidence” to investigate, and that the case was now closed.

“Prior to last Friday’s story in the ABC, no-one in law enforcement or the law or politics or the media ever put any substance with any specific allegations to me at all,” Mr Porter said.

“I was aware over the last few months of a whispering campaign.”


Australian Federal Police have started posting on-line images taken from disturbing videos and pictures of child sexual abuse in the hope of snaring people involved in the shocking industry.

On their own, the nine images released today appear innocuous. In fact, it is hard to immediately tell exactly what all of them show.

One is clearly of a child’s shirt. Another looks to be a cap.

But the AFP believes these everyday items, like sheets, logos and cabinets, hold clues that are key to cracking cold cases of child sexual abuse.

The objects have been directly lifted from disturbing videos or pictures then digitally enhanced.

Officers hope that members of the public will recognise something and report it, eventually helping them catch paedophiles and people profiting from child exploitation.

“These images, they’re innocuous but they’re particular enough that it might trigger a memory from someone out there,” Hilda Sirec, the AFP Commander of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, said.

“Even the smallest clue can often help solve a case.”

AFP specialists trawl through child abuse videos frame by frame searching for anything that might reveal the location or identity of the victim or offender.

It could be a power socket, a vase, a reflection, a logo, a TV show in the background or even a piece of clothing. It is gruelling, yet vital work.

But the images that are being released today come from cases where there are no further leads.

Some are months old and others several years old.

“These images came from the Australasian region, most likely Australia,” Commander Sirec said.

“[The images] form part of a puzzle and we’re asking the community to help us with that puzzle.”

The nine images are the first released as part of the Australian arm of the ‘Trace an Object’ program, which will be formally launched by the AFP today.

It will run in partnership with Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency. It has had some success since establishing the scheme four years ago.

The Europol website currently features several images of objects like socks, wrist bands and a hotel room in South-East Asia.

Questions about each item are posed underneath and information can be provided anonymously.

“They’ve saved 10 children and have had over 20,000 members of the public provide tips to them,” Commander Sirec said.

“Child exploitation is a huge problem in Australia. We receive more than 21,000 reports from our partners in relation to child abuse images.

“Hopefully this is going to be one part in helping us save children.”


Six Dr Seuss books – including And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo – will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr Seuss Enterprises said in a statement on Tuesday, local time, that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street is one of six Dr Seuss books that will no longer be published.

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families,” it said.

The other books affected are McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.

The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company said.

“Dr Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalogue of titles,” it said.

Books by Dr Seuss – who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 – have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991.

He remains popular, earning an estimated $US33 million ($42.3 million) before taxes in 2020, up from just $US9.5 million five years ago, the company said. 


Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has been awarded 450,000 pounds ($800,000) towards her legal costs after winning a privacy claim against a paper which printed extracts of a letter she wrote to her father.

Last month a judge at London’s High Court ruled Britain’s Mail on Sunday had breached the duchess’s privacy and infringed her copyright by publishing parts of the five-page letter to Thomas Markle, who she fell out with on the eve of her wedding to Prince Harry.

Judge Mark Warby ruled in her favour without holding a trial, saying the articles were a clear breach of privacy.

The paper had argued the duchess intended the letter’s contents to become public, saying it formed part of her media strategy.

Justice Warby refused to give the paper permission to appeal that decision, saying he saw “no real prospect” that the Court of Appeal would reach a different conclusion.

However, the paper is able to apply directly to the court.

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