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    The dark truth behind this photo of a grinning politician arriving at the Midwinter Ball

    The dark truth behind this seemingly happy photograph: How a glamorous staffer was REALLY feeling as she stepped out at the Midwinter Ball with grinning minister she was having a secret affair with

    • Canberra has been rocked by allegations levelled against two senior Liberal MPs
    • Liberal MP Alan Tudge revealed to have had an affair with a former media adviser
    • Rachelle Miller said the pair were both married when they became intimate 
    • She reveals the story of the two arriving at the 2017 Midwinter Ball in Canberra
    • Reporter behind explosive Four Corners program says ‘Labor were worse’ 

    A Liberal Party staffer has opened up about her awkward appearance at the Midwinter Ball, admitting she didn’t want to walk into the event with Alan Tudge, who she was having an affair with at the time.

    Three years after she was pictured in a stunning red dress with the grinning Human Services Minster, Rachelle Miller this week revealed the dark reality of the 2017 politicians’ ball in Canberra. 

    ‘I intentionally dropped back because I didn’t want to walk in with him,’ she told the ABC’s Four Corners program.

    ‘He stopped and turned around and said, “No, I want you to walk in with me”.

    ‘I felt at that time a lot like… I was being used as an ornament,’ media adviser Rachelle Miller (pictured left) said when describing her arrival at the 2017 Midwinter Ball with Liberal MP Alan Tudge (pictured right)

    ‘I have a feeling that my appearance had a bearing on why Alan would want to walk in with me on his arm, and I felt at that time a lot like an ornament, and that I was being used as an ornament.’

    The secret affair between Mr Tudge and his former media adviser Ms Miller, came before Mr Turnbull introduced a ‘bonk ban’ in February 2018 to stop politicians from having sexual relationships with staffers in their office. 

    Ms Miller said she has lived ‘to bitterly regret’ the affair with Mr Tudge – with whom she attended the Midwinter Ball at Parliament House.

    She claimed while she didn’t want to be seen on camera with the minister, he had insisted on walking into the high-profile event with her by his side.

    Ms Miller, who has since left politics, claimed Mr Tudge had pressured her not to reveal the affair to the media after rumours of the tryst circulated around the press gallery.

    ‘I lost a lot of self-confidence because I didn’t feel I had any power at all to be able to stand up for myself,’ she said.

    ‘I knew I was leaving a job that I really loved, but I didn’t see that there was any other way out.

    ‘You know, I actually at that time viewed myself as damaged goods and I was really worried about this coming out and impacting our chances at the election.’

    Mr Tudge said he deeply regretted his actions in 2017 after the program aired on Monday night.

    ‘Tonight, matters that occurred in my personal life in 2017 were aired on the ABC’s Four Corners program,’ he said.

    ‘I regret my actions immensely and the hurt it caused my family. I also regret the hurt that Ms Miller has experienced.’

    Federal Liberal MP Alan Tudge had an affair in 2017 with former Coalition media adviser Rachelle Miller. The two are pictured together

    Federal Liberal MP Alan Tudge had an affair in 2017 with former Coalition media adviser Rachelle Miller. The two are pictured together

    The Morrison government has been left reeling after allegations of bad behaviour and extramarital affairs with female staffers were levelled at two senior liberal MPs.

    But the ABC journalist behind the explosive Four Corners program, Louise Milligan, said the men of the Labor Party were just as bad, and from her experience from NSW State Parliament, even worse.

    Milligan fronted ABC’s News Breakfast on Tuesday and disputed claims of bias and defended the report, which revealed Tudge had been having an affair. 

    The investigative journalist said she spoke to dozens of politicians and staffers from across the political spectrum to shed light on Canberra’s secretive culture.  

    A documentary that looks into the behaviour of politicians in Canberra has sparked outrage with calls for the program to be canned before it goes to air (pictured, Parliament House in Canberra)

    A documentary that looks into the behaviour of politicians in Canberra has sparked outrage with calls for the program to be canned before it goes to air (pictured, Parliament House in Canberra)

    Although there were also off-the-record claims made about opposition party backbenchers, the program could not find anything ‘substantial’, only rumours.

    ‘Now, that’s not to say that this doesn’t happen on all sides of politics, but … these are ministers of the Crown. They have to be held to a higher standard than backbenchers on the other side.’

    ‘If the Labor Party was in Government, it would be exactly the same for them. And I must say, as a former political reporter who worked in the New South Wales gallery, I saw no particular difference between the way that the Labor men operated versus the Liberal men.

    ‘In fact, at that time, I would say that the Labor men were worse.’  

    But the reason the program focused on two Liberal MPs was because ‘the same two names just kept coming up repeatedly’.  

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