Education Minister Alan Tudge has stood aside from his portfolio while an investigation is being conducted into a claim by his former employee, Rachel Miller, that he abused her in their relationship, including kicking her out of bed.
Miller, who revealed his consensual relationship with Tudge last year on ABC Four Corners, returned to Parliament on Thursday – the last day of the parliamentary year – to make a sensational new allegation.
She told of an incident when she and Tudge were in Kalgoorlie in 2017 to announce a cashless welfare card with then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. After a long day Miller, who was a media consultant, and Tudge “drank too much for a long time”. Around 4 p.m. “My mobile phone started ringing. I woke up in the dark and reached for my phone” to get a call from a media producer about the story of that day.
The producer was seeking an interview with Tudge and “I started talking to him to arrange time but I was still half asleep. Then I felt someone kicking me on the side of my hip and leg. Because I was trying to sit on the bed.
“It was the minister—he was furious, telling me to get the crap out of his bed.”
Miller said she told the producer she would call back. “Then I realized I was completely naked. He kept kicking me until I fell off the edge of the bed and ended up on the floor. I searched my clothes in the dark. He’s on me was screaming that my phone woke him up.He needed to sleep some more.
“He asked me to leave his room and make sure no one saw me.”
Miller said he didn’t know where the keys to his room were, and had to ask reception to cut a new key.
“I asked him to remind me where my room was,” she said.
When she reached her room, “I sat down at my desk in yesterday’s clothes and started answering phone calls and emails to arrange media for the minister that day.
“We were supposed to meet the PM’s team in the foyer in about an hour. The PM was at the hotel that night.
“I can’t remember a single thing from the night before. I can’t remember how we got to his room. I can’t remember leaving the bar. I can’t remember if we had sex. I can’t remember if we used security.” Used. I still don’t and I was too afraid to ask if he remembered.”
The next day, after she and Tudge arrived in Melbourne late at night, Tudge did not wait for her or offer to lift her to her hotel in her car. “No, thanks. No bye,” she said, “totally broken” by what had happened. She said that her accusation “wasn’t about revenge. Never has been about it. I still feel sorry for her sometimes. It’s about making sure no one else is ever in this workplace again.” goes,” Miller said.
“This relationship was defined by a significant power imbalance. It was an emotionally and on one occasion a physically abusive relationship.”
She was waiting for the people to hold Minister Tudge in her seat of Aston “election. Or perhaps the prime minister can show some leadership before that, as it is her job to hold her ministers accountable for their unacceptable behavior.” .
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Tudge immediately dismissed the allegation. “I completely and utterly reject Ms. Miller’s version of events. Ms. Miller and I had a consensual relationship in 2017, as we have both publicly acknowledged. This is something I deeply appreciate. Sorry,” he said.
In Parliament ahead of Question Hour, Morrison said Tudge would stand aloof during the investigation.
Morrison said the issues raised were “deeply concerning” and disturbing for Miller, Tudge, and the families affected.
He had discussed Miller’s statement with Tudge who “denied the allegations”.
Morrison said that given the gravity of the claims, it was “important that these matters be resolved fairly and expeditiously”. The issues will be looked into by the Prime Minister’s Department through an independent process, using Vivienne Thom, former Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.
The prime minister said the investigation would enable the department to advise “about any implications for ministerial standards”. Stuart Robert will be the acting Minister of Education.
In a later statement, Tudge said: “I have accepted responsibility for a consensual relationship that should not have happened several years ago. But Ms. Miller’s allegations are false, did not happen and contradict her own written words.” .
“I am sorry to say these things. I do not wish Ms. Miller to become ill, but I must defend myself in light of these allegations, which I deny.
“Conflicting written evidence will be referred for a full, independent review. I welcome such a process and will make myself and all materials available, and cooperate in every way possible.”
“I will note that a previous set of claims were also considered and dismissed through an independent investigation.”
Last year Miller made a formal complaint about Tudge’s behavior, alleging that he acted in a way that made him feel humiliated and humiliated. The Finance Department’s investigation, which he did not participate in on legal advice – found it insufficient to substantiate claims of unfair treatment.