Tudge breaks silence on Miller payment

Beleaguered Coalition MP Alan Tudge has broken his silence over a payment made to one of his former aides.

Mr. Tudge has been largely absent from the campaign trail, after his former aide Rachelle Miller received a taxpayer-funded $500,000 settlement.

The payment was made after Ms Miller alleged the MP was emotionally and at one point physically abusive towards her while their couple were in a consensual relationship.

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Mr Tudge strenuously denied the allegations, with a report on the allegations finding there was insufficient evidence that he breached ministerial standards.

However, Mr Tudge has since gone to the ground during the election campaign, making no public campaign appearances.

However, he made brief comments to Sky News while campaigning outside a pre-poll venue in Victoria, saying he had no knowledge of the details surrounding Ms Miller’s settlement.

“I’m not aware of any of these things. I have no information. I was not called as a witness,” he said.

“I was not asked to provide evidence and as the Prime Minister said if it involved me he would have been told and was not told.”

He said that the matter was up to the Department of Finance.

Mr Tudge also denied reports that he asked Ms Miller to be quiet during an official security screening.

He said he had just asked Ms Miller to “tell the truth”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has consistently avoided questions about Mr Tudge’s future on the frontbench, should the coalition win re-election in the May 21 ballot.

While Mr Tudge was removed as education minister after the allegations came to light, Mr Morrison said he was welcome to return to the frontbench if he wished.

“I resigned from my post as Minister of Education a few months ago for family reasons, health reasons and (to) focus on my electorate and that is exactly what I did”, a- he declared.

“The Prime Minister has made it clear that if we are re-elected and I am able to step down, I will.”

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