The Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth, has released a video statement following the withdrawal of civil rape allegations in the Victorian Supreme Court today.
In the statement, he reiterates his innocence of the rape allegation, describing it as “absolutely untrue”. The Governor-General did not say he was resigning, but said that he now had the time to “give proper consideration” to his “long-term future and tenure”.
The statement, recorded in a Canberra studio this afternoon, has been released to the media as separate “grabs” suitable for use on television and radio.
Questioned in Brisbane this morning, the Prime Minister, John Howard, said: “Well, I’ve just been informed of the court decision in Victoria. I understand that the Governor-General himself will shortly issue or make a statement and in those circumstances I don’t have anything further to say at this time.. I don’t have anything to add to what I’ve just said. The Governor-General will make a statement and I don’t have anything to add at this time.”
The Federal Opposition has renewed its call for Hollingworth to resign or be sacked by the Prime Minister.
Text of video statement released by the Governor-General, Dr. Peter Hollingworth.
I welcome the dropping of 40-year-old, baseless allegations against me in the Victorian Supreme Court.
The court recognized that I have strongly and unequivocally denied the allegations, which could never be proved and have no legal consequence whatsoever.
The court concluded that I had the right to have the claim against me dismissed immediately.
I say again, I did not know Ms Jarmyn. I did not attend the camp at which she alleges the rape occurred. I did not rape Ms Jarmyn. I did not sexually assault her.
While I extend my deepest sympathies to Ms Jarmyn’s family on her tragic death, and the great stress under which they have been placed by this, it is nevertheless the case that the allegations she made against me were completely untrue.
Now that the court has dismissed the claims, I can do no more than swear my innocence under God, just as I would have done before the court under oath had the case proceeded.
Now that this accusation has been disposed of, I am able to give proper consideration to my longer-term tenure in the office of Governor-General.