Education

Australian education minister resigns after allegations of 'abusive' relationship

Former staffer Rachelle Miller claims affair with Alan Tudge was 'emotionally and on one occasion physically abusive'

02.12.2021
Australian education minister resigns after allegations of 'abusive' relationship

ANKARA

Australian Education Minister Alan Tudge stood aside the cabinet Thursday after former staffer Rachelle Miller alleged their affair was at times "abusive."

"What happened to me was not OK ... I'm fully aware that a year ago I said my relationship with Minister Tudge was a consensual relationship ... it was emotionally and on one occasion physically abusive relationship," Miller said in front of cameras in Melbourne.

Tudge rejected her allegations, saying the affair was "something that I regret deeply," and that led to the end of his marriage.

"I have accepted responsibility for a consensual affair that should not have happened many years ago. But Ms Miller's allegations are wrong, did not happen and are contradicted by her own written words to me," he added.

Soon after the fresh allegations, Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked Tudge to step down and ordered investigation to be led by former bureaucrat Vivienne Thom.

“I have discussed Ms Miller’s statement with Mr Tudge, who refuted the allegations made. Given the seriousness of the claims … it’s important these matters be resolved fairly and expeditiously,” Morrison said in parliament.

“To this end, the minister has agreed to my request to stand aside while these issues are addressed by my department, through an independent and fair process.”

Miller, who worked as Tudge’s press secretary, admitted to an extramarital affair with her boss in November 2020.

Tudge said all evidence will now be referred to a full, independent review. "I welcome such a process, and will make available both myself, and all materials, and cooperate in every way."

The development comes just days after the release of report that said one in three people currently working at the Australian parliament have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

The high-profile inquiry was formed after parliamentary staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped in a ministerial office in 2019.


*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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