Education Minister Alan Tudge will stand aside pending an investigation into allegations made by former staffer Rachelle Miller about their relationship.
Ms Miller, a former media adviser to Mr Tudge, today alleged the affair they had was emotionally and, on one occasion, physically abusive.
Ms Miller came forward a year ago, revealing she’d been involved in a consensual relationship with her former boss.
Today, she returned to Parliament House, accusing Mr Tudge of being “abusive,” an allegation he strongly denies.
Addressing Question Time today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the allegations as “deeply concerning” and “deeply distressing”.
“I have discussed Ms Miller’s statement with Mr Tudge, who refuted the allegations made,” Mr Morrison said.
“Given the seriousness of the claims made by Ms Miller, it’s important these matters be resolved fairly and expeditiously.
“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, to ensure that the matters that have been raised can be properly assessed.”
This morning, Ms Miller recounted an incident she alleges occurred after a night of heavy drinking during a work trip in Western Australia.
“My mobile phone started ringing,” Ms Miller told journalists.
“I woke up in the pitch-black dark and reached for my phone.
“It was about 4am and a morning media producer was calling about the front-page story we’d lined up.
“Then I felt someone kicking me on the side of my hip and leg as I tried to sit up.
“It was the Minister. He was furious, telling me to get the f— out of his bed… 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.”
Ms Miller claims while the relationship was consensual, it was also “defined by a significant power imbalance”.
Mr Tudge has issued a statement saying he “completely and utterly rejected” his former adviser’s version of events.
“Ms Miller and I had a consensual affair in 2017, as both of us have publicly acknowledged. This is something I deeply regret,” Mr Tudge said.
“This is not about revenge… it’s about ensuring that no one else goes through this in this workplace,” Ms Miller said.
“It’s about changing a system that allowed this to happen.”