Australian science minister resigns after accepting anonymous donation

Canberra – Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter has resigned after accepting an anonymous donation to fund personal legal fees.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday afternoon that Porter has stepped down from the ministry effective immediately, according to Xinhua news agency.

It comes five days after Porter revealed that he accepted a donation from a blind trust known as the “Legal Services Trust” to cover part of his legal fees in a discontinued defamation case against a journalist.

Morrison had sought advice from his department over whether the anonymous donation breached ministerial standards but said on Sunday that Porter, who previously served as the attorney-general, had made the decision to quit himself.

“He has this afternoon taken the appropriate course of action to uphold those standards by tendering his resignation as a minister this afternoon, and I have accepted his resignation,” he told reporters.

“All members, when they become ministers, understand that when they sign on and become a member of the cabinet and take on the role in the government’s executive. All of my ministers seek to uphold the standards at all times,” said Morrison.

Earlier on Sunday Finance Minister Simon Birmingham described the donation to Porter as “an unusual one.”

Porter’s resignation brought an end to his six-year career as a government minister.

In a three-page resignation letter he said he “ultimately decided” to resign rather than try to break the confidentiality of the donors behind the trust.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor has been appointed to temporarily take over Porter’s ministerial portfolios.

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