Former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller is about to file a workplace harassment suit against her former bosses, then-Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and then-Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash, months after she opened up on Four Corners about her consensual affair with Tudge which she now regrets. Both ministers have since been promoted within the cabinet.
In 2020, Miller told Four Corners she witnessed a culture of misogyny and harassment during her nine years as a staff member in Parliament House.
Miller previously filed a workplace bullying complaint claiming that she had been belittled and humiliated by Alan Tudge, and that her career was blocked from progressing with a “fake redundancy” process after she had moved on to work in Michaelia Cash’s office. Tudge has since admitted to the relationship, calling it a “huge mistake”.
The Sun-Herald reports that Miller has enlisted law firm Gordon Legal to progress the case through the legal system instead of the internal inquiry of the Finance Department, which is responsible for all ministerial staffers.
A spokesperson for Cash said Miller was offered “support, leave and flexible work arrangements” at the time, but declined to comment further on the pending legal proceedings.
It’s the latest development in a long list of harassment, misogyny and rape allegations against the government and its staffers in recent weeks.
Miller’s harassment suit has been backed by Brittany Higgins, who incidentally also started working for Cash’s office after she was allegedly raped by a colleague in the office of her former boss, then-Defense Industry Minister Linda Reynolds, in 2019.
“Rachelle Miller’s case is another reason why there needs to be sweeping reforms to the MoPs [Members of Parliamentary Staff] Act and vastly improved processes in how staff in Parliament House are treated,” Higgins told The Sun-Herald.
In recent weeks, three more women have made allegations about the same man who allegedly raped Higgins.
On Friday, the government was also informed that a woman who committed suicide in 2020 had made historic rape allegations against an unnamed government minister.
Hopefully the increased scrutiny and opening of investigations will help justice be served for everyone involved.