Christian Porter
Attorney-General Christian Porter (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Much of Labor's efforts in the Legal and Constitutional Affairs estimates committee yesterday were devoted to identifying exactly what areas of Christian Porter's responsibilities as attorney-general and Minister for Industrial Relations he could ethically and legally be allowed to keep doing given his litigation against the ABC, not to mention the unresolved nature of the sexual assault allegations made against him.

Whole swathes of Porter's portfolio responsibilities have to be hived off from him when he returns to work. Scott Morrison has already signalled that Porter will have no role in relation to the Federal Court (or the ABC), and is seeking advice on whether he can continue to have any responsibility for defamation laws. Indeed, we learned yesterday that the government is seeking advice about a range of his responsibilities, including legal services for the Commonwealth and workplace policies

As Labor also pointed out yesterday via Murray Watt's questions in estimates, Porter can hardly be allowed to continue to sign off on AFP and ASIO raids on journalists while suing a media organisation. The same goes for his self-appointed role in signing off on prosecutions of journalists.