Young female staffer who admitted to secret affair with married Liberal MP Alan Tudge has a powerful question for Scott Morrison
- Four Corners expose revealed Population Minister Alan Tudge’s secret affair
- Scott Morrison on Tuesday said male politicians having affairs ‘breaks my heart’
- But said issue addressed by predecessor’s ban on ministers sleeping with staff
- Media adviser who admitted to affair said problem went beyond the ‘bonk ban’
- ‘It’s about how I was treated in our workplace, which ended my career!’ she said
A young Liberal staffer who admitted to having an affair with a married MP has sent a powerful message to Scott Morrison – claiming she was blacklisted from parliament because of the tryst.
Former Coalition media adviser Rachelle Miller had a secret affair with then Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge in 2017, an admitted to it in a Four Corners expose aired on Monday night.
The prime minister said on Tuesday the affair was dealt with by his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull introducing a prohibition on politicians sleeping with their own staff, proverbially referred to as a ‘Bonk Ban’.
But in a social media post shared on Tuesday afternoon, Ms Miller questioned parliament’s culture and its effect on women and asked if Mr Morrison would take her concerns seriously after she made a formal complaint.
Population Minister Alan Tudge had an affair in 2017 with former Coalition media adviser Rachelle Miller. The two are pictured together at the mid-winter ball in 2017
Ms Miller (pictured) told Four Corners she has lived ‘to bitterly regret’ the affair with Mr Tudge
In a social media post shared on Tuesday afternoon, Ms Miller questioned the federal parliament’s culture on women and was supported by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s wife Lucy
‘Scott Morrison, it’s not about the #bonkban. It’s about how I was treated in our workplace, which ended my career!’ she said.
‘Those ministers were promoted, I was black-listed. I made a formal complaint, will you ensure it’s investigated?’
Ms Miller told the investigation she was demoted in a restructuring and eventually decided she had little choice but to leave politics altogether.
Mr Turnbull’s wife Lucy supported Ms Miller in her claim she was mistreated.
‘Totally unfair on women like Rachelle Miller caught in this. However consensual relationships are, women pay the price,’ Ms Turnbull wrote on Twitter.
She added to her post the hashtag titled ‘change the blokey bubble’.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Morrison said male politicians having affairs in Canberra while their wives were at home ‘breaks my heart’.
The show also reported Attorney General Christian Porter got close with a ‘young woman’ at Canberra’s Public Bar in 2017.
Mr Porter said he rejected the show’s depiction of the rendezvous and told Perth radio 6PR he did not have a relationship with the woman.
An emotional Scott Morrison (pictured on Tuesday) said male politicians having affairs in Canberra while their wives are at home ‘breaks my heart’
Asked if he would take any disciplinary action against the ministers, Mr Morrison said the events happened before he was made prime minister and his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull dealt with them by banning ministers from sleeping with staff.
He said no ministers have broken the updated code of conduct and no investigation would be launched.
Mr Morrison, an evangelical Christian who has been with wife Jenny since they were teenagers, said the break-up of families distressed him.
Mr Morrison, an evangelical Christian who has been with wife Jenny (pictured together) since they were teenagers, said the break up of families distressed him
‘There is no greater thing that breaks my heart than the breakdown of a family. Frankly, that’s the thing that bothers me most,’ he said.
‘There are a number of families that have been broken, and there are some people who are really hurting over this.
‘And I know the people involved in these issues are working really hard to try and restore what has been terribly lost.
‘And we’ve got a job to do to ensure we do everything we can keep families together, and we all have personal responsibilities in that regard.’
Asked if the ministers’ conduct passes the ‘pub test’ of public opinion, Mr Morrison said: ‘Australians understand more about human frailty than perhaps you are giving them credit.’
He said nothing non-consensual happened and that family break-ups ‘happen in Australia’.
‘People do things and they regret them, they do damage to their lives and the lives of many others, and I know there would be deep regrets about that.
‘Australians understand human frailty, and they understand the people who work in this place are just as human as anyone else and subject to the same vulnerabilities and frailties as anyone,’ he said.
Mr Morrison was asked in Question Time by Greens leader Adam Bandt if he would investigate and temporarily stand down the ministers involved in the Four Corners show.
He replied: ‘The matters that were the subject of last night’s report were matters that arose several years ago. It predated my time as Prime Minister and these matters were addressed by the then-Prime Minister Turnbull.’
In the Four Corners show on Monday night, Ms Miller revealed she had an affair with Mr Tudge when he was Minister for Human Services in 2017.
The secret affair came before then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced new standards 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.
‘I intentionally dropped back because I didn’t want to walk in with him,’ she said.
‘He stopped and turned around and said, “No, I want you to walk in with me”.
‘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.’
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.
Asked if the ministers’ conduct passes the ‘pub test’ of public opinion, Mr Morrison (pictured) said: ‘I think Australians understand more about human frailty than perhaps you are giving them credit’
‘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 issued a statement 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.’
Ms Miller also claimed she saw Attorney-General Christian Porter – who at the time was the social services minister – getting close with a ‘young woman’ at Canberra’s Public Bar in 2017.
‘It was quite confronting given that we were in such a public place and we’re in a place where we had multiple Press Gallery journalists, multiple MPs and senators,’ Ms Miller said.
At the time of the alleged incident Mr Porter – now separated from his second wife – was married and his wife and young child were at home in Perth, the ABC reported.
Attorney-General Christian Porter was also allegedly spotted drinking with a young woman at a popular Canberra bar in 2017
Mr Turnbull said he had a meeting with Mr Porter in December 2017 where he told him his alleged pub rendezvous was ‘unacceptable’.
‘I told him I had had reports of him being out in public, having had too much to drink, and in the company with young women,’ Mr Turnbull told the program.
‘I said ‘this is unacceptable conduct for a cabinet minister and it exposes you to the risk of compromise’.’
He reminded Mr Porter that ‘Canberra was full of spies’ and not all of them worked on behalf of Australia, meaning he could be vulnerable to blackmail by a foreign power.
‘The risk of compromise is very real – it’s not just the stuff of spy novels,’ Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Porter denies the allegations and has labelled them defamatory.
‘Four Corners’ depiction of interactions in the bar are categorically rejected,’ he said in statement.
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting Mr Porter or Mr Tudge broke the code of conduct.