Alan Tudge’s former staffer releases Commonwealth of confidentiality obligations
Alan Tudge’s former staffer Rachelle Miller has released the Commonwealth and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of all confidentiality obligations they have in regards to a claim she brought against the government over her treatment.
Miller, who had an affair with Tudge, took legal action over allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination while she was working for him and cabinet colleague Michaelia Cash, who is now the attorney-general.
Alan Tudge and his former staffer Rachelle Miller.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
It was revealed this week that the government has cleared the way for Tudge to be restored to cabinet after the election on the basis the Department of Finance has reportedly offered more than $500,000 to settle a complaint brought by Miller over her treatment while an adviser.
In a letter to the Commonwealth, Miller’s lawyers said the reported settlement sum was agreed to be confidential and their client was not the source of the leak.
“Neither our client nor her husband nor anyone retained by her either at this firm or counsel have made any disclosure to anyone which could directly or indirectly be the source of these articles,” Miller’s lawyer, Peter Gordon, wrote.
“It therefore must be the case that the source or sources of these articles came from the Commonwealth Government.
“The leak has caused our client acute stress and embarrassment as well as significant harassment by the media which continues. In the context of the election campaign, our client sees no end to this harassment until the matter is satisfactorily addressed.”
Mr Gordon said that his client “remains fully to abide confidentiality in relation to this matter”.
“However, we are instructed that she irrevocably releases the Commonwealth (including the relevant Department and the Prime Minister), from any obligation of confidentiality in respect of her claim, any settlement of it including any financial terms.”
Miller posted the statement on Twitter, saying “won’t be making any further comment at this point”.
Tudge stood aside last December but kept his cabinet rank during an inquiry into his relationship with Miller.
Tudge denied Miller’s claims that he was emotionally abusive and, on one occasion, physically abusive during their relationship. The claims led him to stand aside as minister in December while the government waited for a review by former senior public servant Vivienne Thom, whose report was issued on March 4 and found there was insufficient evidence on the matter.
Miller did not participate in the review over concerns that the terms of reference forbade scrutiny of one of her principal allegations.
Morrison was asked by a reporter on Tuesday “does money just fly out of the sky in the Finance Department” without any oversight.
“You’re also assuming that there is any wrongdoing on Alan Tudge’s part. No matter has been raised with me by the Department of Finance in relation to any of those things,” Morrison said.
Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.
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