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Thursday, 2 December 2021
Page: 11381

Mr MORRISON (CookPrime Minister) (14:00): I rise on indulgence to refer to the statement made earlier today by Ms Miller and the allegations regarding her relationship with Minister Tudge. These issues are obviously deeply concerning and, I know, deeply distressing both for Ms Miller and Minister Tudge and the families who are affected by these events. I have discussed Ms Miller's statement with Minister Tudge, who has refuted the claims that have been made. Given the seriousness of these claims that have been made by Ms Miller, it is important that these matters be resolved fairly and expeditiously.

To this end, the minister has agreed to my request to stand aside while these issues are addressed by my department through an independent and fair process to ensure that the matters that have been raised can be properly assessed and views put by the respective parties in relation to these issues. I am advised by the department that they will be seeking to do this through Ms Vivienne Thom. This will enable them, my department, to provide me with any further advice regarding any implications for the ministerial standard.

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. I note that Minister Tudge has welcomed this process and he looks forward to participating in the process. I have also asked, as it is occurring at the same time, for this advice to be provided directly to Ms Miller by my chief of staff.

In the interim, Minister Robert will act as the Minister for Education and Youth. I also note that today the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business will answer questions in relation to those portfolios.