Australian PM Scott Morrison under pressure to launch inquiry into Attorney-General accused of rape

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under increasing pressure to launch an inquiry in to historical rape allegations of a senior minister. 

Attorney-General Christian Porter on Wednesday publically confirmed he is the cabinet minister named in a historical rape allegation.

"I can say categorically what has been put in various forms did not happen," Porter said in a tearful televised statement.

The rape allegation stretches back to 1988 when Christian Porter appeared on a national debating team.

"I was 17 years old and the other person was 16."

Porter says he and a woman socialised in a group - that was it. 

"I did not sleep with the victim, we did not have anything of that nature between us," he said.

The woman waited 33 years before approaching police, withdrawing her complaint before taking her own life last June. This week her case was closed.

Police say there's insufficient admissible evidence to proceed, but there are calls for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to authorise an independent inquiry.

On Thursday, he refused, "because that would say that our rule of law and our police are not competent to deal with these issues," he said.

"There is not some other process. There is not the mob process. There is not the tribe-has-spoken process. That's not how we run the rule of law in Australia."

The 'me too' movement has now moved in down under, with accusations, denials and investigations taking Canberra by storm. 

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds apologised after calling Brittany Higgins - the staffer allegedly raped - a "lying cow". 

Reynolds released a statement on Tuesday apologising for her behaviour.

"I have never questioned Ms Higgins' account of her alleged sexual assault and have always sought to respect her agency in this matter," Reynold said.

"I did however comment on news reports regarding surrounding circumstances that I felt had been misrepresented."

Morrison said: "Her comments she said to me were further comments about levels of support provided."

When this began two weeks ago, Morrison turned to his wife for support.

"She said to me, you have to think about this first - as a father," he said.

That remark was called out by a sexual assault survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame. 

"It shouldn't take having children to have a conscience," said Tame. "I should add... having children doesn't guarantee a conscience." 

Morrison stood by Tame when he awarded her Australian of the Year. He stood by Porter too. 

"For the many caring family and friends who asked questions over the course of the week, 'are you okay?' - my honest answer is I really don't know," Porter said.

The Attorney-General will be taking a period of mental health leave after speaking to his doctor.