ABC: $780,000 in costs after defamation case

Christian Porter defamation case cost ABC $100,000 in mediation and about $680,000 in its defence.

A defamation case launched by former attorney-general Christian Porter has cost ABC about $780,000.

No damages were paid following the settlement, but ABC managing director David Anderson today said the public broadcaster had agreed to cover mediation costs.

“The total so far, both paid as well as accrued, is approximately $680,000, and that’s before the payment of $100,000,” he told a Senate Estimates committee this morning.

“So costs incurred would be about $780,000 to the ABC.”

Anderson said the ABC ultimately agreed to settle the legal action through mediation “to minimise costs”, telling senators a trial would have been far more expensive.

“If it was to be a three-week trial, we think that could have been another $1 million to $1.5 million,” he said.

He later noted, “The cost of the mediator, Mr. Peter Gray SC was split between the two parties and we had agreed to pay $100,000 to (Giles) Company for mediation and related costs -of which half of Mr. Gray’s bill will need to be paid out of that $100,000 that’s going to Company (Giles).”

Christian Porter recently discontinued his case against the ABC over a story published in February about an unnamed Cabinet Minister accused of a historical rape allegation.

The former attorney-general named himself as the minister in question but strenuously denied the claim.

Anderson also said ABC stood by the story, which remains online.

“The ABC has not issued an apology, the ABC stands by its journalism, the article in question remains online, it remains unchanged and available for everyone to see it,” he said.

An editor’s note, added later, regretted any misinterpretation as an accusation of guilt against Mr Porter.

Source: ABC