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    Retiring MP claims she was bullied out of politics by ‘slut shaming’ and intimidating culture

    Retiring MP claims she was bullied out of politics by a culture of ‘slut shaming’ and intimidation against women in her own party – and the Four Corners report compelled her to speak out

    • Jacqui Boydell said she experienced bullying from men in parliamentary circles 
    • WA National MP was inspired to speak up after the Four Corners investigation 
    • Four Corners revealed Alan Tudge’s affair with his former adviser Rachelle Miller 
    • Ms Miller admitted to the affair and said the problem went beyond the ‘bonk ban’
    • She claims she was effectively driven out of politics in the fallout of the affair 

    An MP claimed she has been driven out of politics by a repulsive culture of intimidation and ‘slut shaming’ women in office.

    Jacqui Boydell said she was inspired by Four Corners bombshell report on Monday to open up on her own experience of bullying and threatening behaviour from men in parliamentary circles.

    The former Western Australian Nationals deputy leader told the Legislative Council on Tuesday there was a culture of silence in political spheres that needed to change.

    ‘I have remained silent on those issues in the interests of the party, and I have let myself down in the process,’ Ms Boydell said.

    ‘But worse than that, I have let down the women who stand behind me in the lay organisation who have also suffered these issues.

    Jacqui Boydell (pictured) said she experienced bullying from men in parliamentary circles

    ‘I have asked people in the organisation to assist me to deal with those issues, rather than make a public statement at the outset, because if my interest was really to address the problem, I felt that I had an obligation to try to do that internally within the organisation. That has failed me.

    ‘Indeed, there have been situations in which I have found myself subject to bullying, threats and intimidation. 

    ‘We do have a culture of silence. However, when we are let down by the people in whom we have put our trust to deal with that issue, at some point, people break and have to shed a light on it.’ 

    The 52-year-old spoke outside of parliament and claimed the aggressive behaviour she had seen was a way male ministers challenged perspectives they disagreed with.

    ‘I think slut-shaming and personal slurs is an easy out for men when women come forward and make a stance that they don’t agree with,’ Ms Boydell said, as reported by WA Today.

    Nationals WA leader Mia Davies said she was aware of Ms Boydell’s concerns, but said they were not reflective of the culture of the party.

    The WA National MP said she was inspired to speak up after the Four Corners investigation

    The WA National MP said she was inspired to speak up after the Four Corners investigation

    ‘When I’ve been in a position to try and make change with the honourable Jacqui Boydell we have tried to work with our colleagues to introduce mechanisms to make our political party a more inclusive and safe and professional environment,’ she said.

    Ms Boydell announced she would step down as an MP in March and would not be contesting the next election. 

    She said she has received a wealth of support since her statement and hoped young women in the future of politics would not be subject to the same treatment. 

    ‘I have been brave enough to come forward within the organisation to say that, and I’ve just suffered continual undermining, backstabbing, in the interests of other personal agendas,’ Ms Boydell said, as reported by ABC.

    ‘I cannot leave this place with my integrity in place if I do not shine a light on this issue and stop being one of those women who walks past or does not address an issue I have experienced.’

    Nationals WA acting state director Jack Mallick said bullying was unacceptable within the party and they were working with Ms Boydell over her concerns. 

    Smile! Alan Tudge and Rachelle Miller pose together at the Midwinter Ball in 2017

    Smile! Alan Tudge and Rachelle Miller pose together at the Midwinter Ball in 2017

    ‘Any complaint or grievance against the conduct of a party member, volunteer or employee will be treated seriously and addressed through the processes in place,’ he said.

    Ms Boydell’s claims come after a secret affair between former Coalition media adviser Rachelle Miller and then Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge in 2017 was exposed on Four Corners on Monday night.

    Both Ms Miller and Mr Tudge were married during their six month affair and have since separated from their partners.

    Ms Miller has lodged a formal complaint regarding the way she was treated in office after the affair and accused federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash of forcing her out of her office through a ‘fake redundancy’ process.

    She said she was punished because of her affair and accused Senator Cash of months of poor treatment during the first half of 2018.

    In a social media post shared on Tuesday afternoon, Ms Miller questioned parliament’s culture and its effect on women, asking if Mr Morrison would take her concerns seriously after she made a formal complaint.

    Ms Miller questioned the federal parliament's culture on women on social media on Tuesday

    Ms Miller questioned the federal parliament’s culture on women on social media on Tuesday

    ‘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.

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

    She claimed though 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.’

    Labor have banned ministers from having sex with staff after Alan Tudge scandal. Pictured: Alan Tudge arrives at the Midwinter Ball with staffer Rachelle Miller during their affair in 2017

    Labor have banned ministers from having sex with staff after Alan Tudge scandal. Pictured: Alan Tudge arrives at the Midwinter Ball with staffer Rachelle Miller during their affair in 2017

    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.’

    Four Corners revealed Mr Tudge's affair with his former adviser Rachelle Miller. Pictured: Mr Tudge arrives at Parliament on Monday

    Four Corners revealed Mr Tudge’s affair with his former adviser Rachelle Miller. Pictured: Mr Tudge arrives at Parliament on Monday

    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.’

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