Minister who had a consensual affair with his staffer is CLEARED of abusing her – but quits his post until after the next election
- Alan Tudge had an affair with his press secretary Rachelle Miller in 2017
- Ms Miller alleged Mr Tudge was abusive towards her, allegations he denied
- An independent report said there was no evidence he breached standards
By Australian Associated Press
Published: | Updated:
Education Minister Alan Tudge has resigned from federal cabinet after stepping aside as a minister while an investigation was conducted into abuse allegations.
Mr Tudge’s former media advisor Rachelle Miller alleged he had been emotionally and in one instance, physically abusive towards her during the pair’s consensual affair.
Mr Tudge denied any wrongdoing, but told the prime minister he would not be seeking to return to the front bench ‘in the interests of his family and his own wellbeing and in order to focus on his re-election as the member for Aston’.
Mr Tudge is pictured with Rachelle Miller at the Parliament winter ball during their affair
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Dr Vivienne Thom, who investigated the allegations, found that the evidence in the inquiry ‘does not provide a basis for a finding that Mr Tudge’s conduct breached the ministerial standards’.
Ms Miller did not participate in the inquiry, saying the process was flawed and the government had ignored her concerns about the terms of reference.
Ms Miller said the minister repeatedly chastised, bullied and belittled her, outlining methods of coercive control.
On one occasion, she alleges Mr Tudge kicked her until she left his bed after her phone rang early one morning and he became frustrated it woke him, allegations Mr Tudge denied.
Both parties have been supplied with a copy of the report.
Alan Tudge (pictured) denied claims by his former staffer that their affair was at times abusive
Stuart Robert will continue in his role as acting education minister.
In a statement Mr Tudge said: ‘I welcome Dr Vivienne Thom’s Report which finds that none of Rachelle Miller’s allegations against me for alleged events in 2017 were substantiated, nor was there any breach of Ministerial Standards.
‘This is the second inquiry created at the request of Ms Miller and the second time that the allegations have been dismissed.
‘I deeply regret the consensual affair with Ms Miller in the second half of 2017 when both of us were married with children and in our forties. It should never have happened and it has caused hurt to our respective families. It caused the end of my marriage that year.
‘Despite Dr Thom’s findings, given the impact of the allegations on my family and myself, I have requested not to be returned to the front bench before the election. In the meantime, I will focus on my health, my kids and my electorate.
‘I will not be making further comment.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked Mr Tudge to step down after hearing the claims
original source: Alan Tudge is CLEARED of abusing staffer Rachelle Miller