Thursday, 12 November 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Cash. A former Liberal staffer who worked for the minister in a senior capacity asserts in a complaint made to the Department of Finance that she faced bullying and gaslighting in the minister's office due to her relationship with Minister Tudge. She said:
During this time the Minister was also posting text messages on the office WhatsApp group that I felt were attacking and demeaning towards myself.
Is this true?
No, it is not. A more fulsome answer is this. I completely reject the allegations that this employee, Ms Rachelle Miller, has made against me and my former chief of staff that were reported by two media outlets today. During the time of her employment, between late 2017 and mid 2018, Ms Miller was provided with support, leave and flexible work arrangements to accommodate her own personal circumstances. In fact, in the ABC article today Ms Miller herself is quoted as saying:
Due to the persistent rumours across the building, during my first week in the office I confidentially let Minister Cash know that I had a relationship with Alan that was now over, and that my loyalty was with her.
She was supportive and kind.
I'm also particularly disappointed with the potentially defamatory allegations published by the ABC, which are false, made against my former chief of staff, who, despite now being a private citizen, was not even given a chance by the ABC to respond to the story before it was published.
The complainant has said that she was bullied by the minister's chief of staff. Is this the same chief of staff that was under investigation by the AFP for illegally leaking to the media and confirmed to be the source of the illegal leak, or was it another one?
This was not that same chief of staff. I will again confirm on behalf of the chief of staff against which the allegations have been made that I am particularly disappointed with the potentially defamatory allegations published by the ABC, which are false, made against my former chief of staff, who, as I said, despite now being a private citizen, was not even given a chance to respond to the story before it was published.