Lawyers for Christian Porter and the ABC will enter mediation, amid a further delay in the federal minister’s defamation case.
The ABC, which is defending its reporting of a historical rape allegation Mr Porter denies, says the parties will be participating in mediation on Friday.
“Mediations are very common in defamation matters, and it is important that all litigant parties seek to explore potential resolution options when they can, especially so for the ABC as a model litigant,” a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
Mr Porter’s solicitor would not confirm the parties were mediating but said such a course was a requirement in almost all defamation cases.
“Parties ought to engage in a mediation at the earliest possible opportunity before significant costs are incurred,” Rebekah Giles said in a statement.
“The parties to this case are no different and are complying with their obligations as litigants in the Federal Court.”
The Federal Court on Thursday published an order clarifying that the parties were not prevented from providing suppressed material to “any mediator appointed by the parties in connection with any mediation in the proceeding”.
Mr Porter was attorney-general when the ABC published a report in February stating a now-deceased woman had alleged a cabinet minister had raped her when they were both under the age of 18.
The report didn’t name the West Australian MP but, in court documents, Mr Porter claims information in the report narrowed it to a small number of men, and online searches for his name spiked after the report’s publication.
He later outed himself as the subject of the report, while denying the rape allegation.
Mr Porter took leave before being appointed as industry, science and technology minister.
Earlier on Thursday, the court also postponed a case management hearing set down for Thursday afternoon, and extended a deadline for the ABC to file other documents.
The documents relate to Mr Porter’s application to have parts of the ABC’s defence struck out.
Much of the matter subject of the strike-out application is also the subject of a suppression order.
The ABC has until 5pm on Friday to file an affidavit and submissions to Mr Porter’s application.
The matter is then due to proceed to a two-day hearing before Justice Jayne Jagot next Tuesday, 1 June.