Australian Minister of Education suspended over harassment allegations

16:20, 02 December 2021
Australian Minister of Education suspended over harassment allegations

Alan Tudge has been accused by a former colleague of exercising excessive power on her.

On Thursday Australia’s Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge was temporarily removed from the position after his former press secretary Rachelle Miller alleged that she had suffered abuse and harassment during their consensual relationship in 2017.

Despite denying the accusations, Tudge agreed to leave the post immediately, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced.

"I wish to stress that this action in no way seeks to draw a conclusion on these matters but this is the appropriate action for me to take under the ministerial standards," the PM commented.

The move comes shortly after a landmark report said that over 30% of Australia's federal parliament experienced cases of sexual abuse. According to Miller, the report’s appearance urged her to speak out, appealing to Australian authorities to solve the problem.

Miller and Tudge unveiled in 2019 that they had a consensual relationship without specifying further details. Now the ex-press secretary has revealed that there was a “power imbalance” in the couple and accused the official of blocking her access to work.

"The bullying, intimidation, harassment I experienced from him at work completely destroyed all of the confidence I had in my ability. I did not believe I'd find a job anywhere else. I was breaking down in tears regularly," Miller said.

According to Miller, Tudge sometimes kicked her during quarrels.

In November Australian authorities announced that they were going to introduce changes to the country’s consent law and sexual conduct in 2022. The reform is expected to classify the act of secret contraceptive removal as a crime and make citizens get a consent from their partners to have sex.