Albany Liberal Party candidate Scott Leary apologises for comments about Christian Porter rape claims

Sarah Makse and Charlotte EltonAlbany Advertiser
WA Liberal candidate for the seat of Albany Scott Leary.
Camera IconWA Liberal candidate for the seat of Albany Scott Leary. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Liberal Party candidate for Albany Scott Leary has apologised for his comments about rape allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter, stressing that he does not think they are politically motivated.

In an at-times contradictory interview aired on ABC radio on Thursday, Mr Leary questioned why allegations against Mr Porter had “come to the surface” after 33 years in the lead up to the WA State election.

He said that “to a degree” he thought the timing of the allegations was politically motivated.

“It seems a strange coincidence that (the allegations) have probably come out around this time,” he said on ABC radio.

He told ABC radio the issue had been “twisted into a political question” and he hoped his comments would not deter victims of sexual assault from coming forward.

“I would hope that anybody has the courage and the support around them to be able to bring any allegation to the front and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is,” he said.

The radio segment came days after Mr Porter outed himself as the MP at the centre of historical rape allegations.

At a press conference last Wednesday, Mr Porter “categorically” denied perpetrating the alleged 1988 rape, and said that he would not be stepping down or aside as Attorney-General.

Mr Leary’s comments on ABC radio sparked outrage this week, with Liberal Party leader Zak Kirkup labelling them as “inappropriate”.

However Mr Kirkup said he did not believe the comments represented Mr Leary’s views.

In a statement to the Advertiser last night, Mr Leary said he apologised to anyone who “interpreted my comments in this way”.

“I do not think it is politically motivated,” Mr Leary said.

“In fact I expressed my disappointment that some people have tried to turn it into a political question.

“I have the utmost respect for women and support anyone who has the strength to come out and talk.

“I am not a polished politician, radio interviews are still new to me, but I hope after the weekend I’ll have earned the support of our community so I can continue speaking with the people of Albany about the issues that matter locally through the radio and media.”

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