It is a godawful, tumbling, traumatic imbroglio. A wipe-your-eyes-with-the-palm-of-your-hands moment, as you stare at the ground and try to work out where the truth lies, and how this happened.
I have had allegations made against me, and no one ran to my defence.
I would have run to an independent arbiter of the truth, with the requisite qualifications and skill; I would have run at the speed of a thousand gazelles had one been available.
There wasn't one, so I stood down to "clear the air" as I stated at my resignation press conference. An election was coming.
It remains one of the most galling issues of my career. I never had the opportunity to defend myself, as the allegation was undefined. It stood as an insinuation rather than a statement of what I was alleged to have done. The insinuation was false.
Christian Porter may not want an independent inquiry, but he has got one by default. A demeaning, cathartic inquisition by the press and the opposition. As salacious dissonance, it is achieving little beyond ratings and certainly not offering any solace to any parties involved.
The alternative should be an inquiry, in camera - the confidential one, not the media's camera. A vastly more dignified, appropriate alternative for such an emotive and serious allegation. Otherwise the current vacuum may hang like fog all the way through the rest of a quite-remarkable career.
Christian must be able to refer to findings as determined by the highest level of expertise, a High Court judge.
"Beyond a reasonable doubt" is the remit of the police and the court. NSW Police have completed the instigating steps in this issue and have stated that there is no further to go. The case is closed.
I am at odds with my Coalition colleagues on this issue, but I don't want Christian to end up sitting at the back of the chamber under the exit sign where my colleagues have kindly placed me. Politics is a nefarious business. Your affiliates wear neat ties and white ironed shirts and adopt a sotto voce sombreness which covers a ruthless and at-times treacherous character.
Politics can dispense with you like an unwanted kitten from a feral litter. Christian knows many in the opposition and some on his own side don't want the truth unless it comes with his head on a plate. They just want his scalp.
Christian would also know they will ultimately get what they want unless he can refer them to a deliberation on the allegation, beyond reasonable questions of efficacy. Then, politically, the case is closed, and this point in Christian's career becomes a semicolon, not a full stop.
- Barnaby Joyce is the federal Member for New England and a former deputy prime minister of Australia.