Alan Tudge stands down amid investigation into claims he was ‘abusive’ during affair

Cabinet minister Alan Tudge says he "completely and utterly" rejects claims of abusive behaviour made by his former media adviser Rachelle Miller.

Education Minister Alan Tudge

Education Minister Alan Tudge. Source: AAP

This article contains references to abuse/domestic violence.

Cabinet minister Alan Tudge has stood aside while an investigation is conducted into fresh allegations made by his former media advisor Rachelle Miller that he was "abusive" during their extramarital relationship.

Mr Tudge has rejected the claims of mistreatment made by Ms Miller, who gave a public statement to media at Parliament House detailing her concerns.

Ms Miller described the relationship as being defined by a “significant power imbalance”, which she said had been “emotionally and on one occasion physically abusive”. 

“When I finally stood up to him and asked him to stop treating me so badly, he told me to stop being such a precious petal that happened in this building in his office,” she said.

Former Alan Tudge staffer claims he was 'abusive' during extramarital affair

Prime Minister Scott Morrison later told parliament he had requested Mr Tudge stand down as an investigation is held by his department into whether there had been a breach of ministerial standards.

“Given the seriousness of the claims made by Ms Miller, it's important these matters be resolved fairly and expeditiously,” he said.

“The minister has agreed to my request to stand aside while these issues are addressed by my department.

"I wish to stress that this action, in no way seeks to draw a conclusion on these matters."

Both Mr Tudge and Ms Miller have previously admitted to having an extramarital affair together in 2017.

Ms Miller earlier recalled how during a work trip to Kalgoorlie with then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Tudge had encouraged her to get a drink at the bar where the pair “drank a lot until very late” in the evening.

She said she later woke up - naked in a bed with Mr Tudge - to a 4am phone call, where she alleged he began kicking her on the side of the leg telling her to “get the f*** out” until she “fell off” onto the floor.

“I felt someone kicking me on the side of my hip and leg. As I tried to sit up in bed. It was the minister he was furious, telling me to get the f*** out of his bed,” she said.

“Then I realised I was completely naked. He continued to kick me until I fell off the side of the bed and ended up on the floor. He was yelling at me that my phone had woken him up.” 

Mr Morrison said the investigation would be carried out by Dr Vivienne Thom — a move Ms Miller welcomes, according to a statement from the law firm representing her.

"Rachelle will co-operate fully with this investigation," Gordon Legal senior partner Peter Gordon said in a statement.

"Rachelle spoke out today on her own behalf and in support of the brave women who have fought to advance this issue in recent times."

Mr Tudge - the current minister for education and youth - has responded with a statement denying Ms Miller’s claims.

"I completely and utterly reject Ms Miller’s accusations," the statement said. 

"Both of us have acknowledged publicly that we had a consensual affair in 2017. This is something that I regret deeply.

"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.

"I regret having to say these things. I do not wish Ms Miller ill but I have to defend myself in light of these allegations, which I reject."

Mr Tudge said he welcomed the process of an investigation into the matter and would "co-operate in every way".

Ms Miller first told her story a year ago on the ABC’s Four Corners admitting she had a sexual relationship with her boss.

She said the relationship with Mr Tudge had left her “ashamed, humiliated, scared and exhausted.”

“I woke up every morning anxious and terrified about what was going to happen to me every day,” she said.

Her public statement comes after the Tuesday release of a damning report into the culture of parliamentary workplaces, conducted by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.

Ms Miller said despite the claims from Mr Morrison that he was “willing to hear our experiences” through this inquiry, “his actions have portrayed that he’s not.” 

She called on Mr Morrison to immediately commit to the 28 recommendations outlined in Ms Jenkins' review, as well as take action to hold male parliamentarians to account for their “unacceptable behaviour”.

“I'm here because the government will not listen,” she said.

“I'm not here because I want to be but because speaking through the media is the only way that this government will listen.”

Ms Miller said she had chosen to speak out in an effort to change the “system that enabled" her situation to happen and not because of “revenge”.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family and domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000.

The Men’s Referral Service provides advice for men on domestic violence and can be contacted on 1300 766 491.

Published 2 December 2021 at 12:56pm, updated 2 December 2021 at 8:25pm
By Tom Stayner
Source: SBS News