Peter Dutton has defended an ‘honorable and decent’ cabinet aide after the release of shocking abuse charges.
Defense Secretary Peter Dutton hit back at Alan Tudge’s criticism, saying his ministerial colleague was an “honorable and decent person”.
Former press secretary Rachel Miller claims to have been emotionally – and on one occasion physically – abused during an extramarital affair with Mr. Tudge in 2017.
Mr Tudge vehemently denied the allegations, but agreed to stand apart from his role as education minister while the Prime Minister’s Office investigates the claims.
Mr Dutton on Friday defended his longtime aide when asked about the scandal, and insisted Mr Tudge was a good man.
“I have always found Allen to be a very respectable and decent person,” Dutton told Nine.
“He had an extramarital affair, a consensual one. He has made a mistake. This is the price of her marriage. There is a lot of fighting on both sides.
“There are a lot of Australians who will find themselves in that situation.”
The Defense Minister said he did not want Mr. Tudge to lose his job because of the scam.
“He’s a great minister. He’s got a great mind, a great analytical mind, and he’s been a very effective minister,” said Mr. Dutton.
“People make mistakes from time to time and he accepts that mistake and I think we allow investigation now.”
In 2020, Ms Miller made the extramarital affair public, initially describing it as a consensual affair.
However, on Thursday, she revealed that the situation was more complicated, telling the media that the relationship was abusive.
“I am fully aware that a year ago I said that my relationship with Minister Alan Tudge was a consensual relationship, but it is much more complicated than that,” said Ms Miller.
“I was so embarrassed, so humiliated, so scared, so exhausted. I told that little part of my story that I was able to manage.”
She alleged that Mr Tudge used his “significant power imbalance” to manipulate, bully and intimidate her.
At one point, Ms Miller claims the minister resorted to physical violence by kicking her from his bed.
On Thursday, Liberal Senator Holly Hughes insisted it was a “she said, she said” situation, and that Mr Tudge’s career should not be affected.
“It was a consensual matter and I don’t think people should be fired because someone makes an allegation against them,” Senator Hughes said.
The scam comes just days after there were widespread reports of sexual harassment and bullying in the Parliament House.
One in three people surveyed said they were sexually assaulted, with almost a quarter saying the perpetrator was a politician.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday that his department would launch an investigation into the allegations against Mr. Tudge.
Ms Miller said she wanted the government to acknowledge the struggles of women working in federal politics.
“Today I stand again at my former workplace to say that what happened to me at this place was not right,” she said.
“I call on every woman in this building to stand by me, but I know many people are scared about their jobs, their livelihoods, the careers they have worked so hard for.
“The Liberal Party does not have a problem with women, it has a problem with men.”