Four Corners exposes claims of inappropriate behaviour in Canberra

Canberra is back in the spotlight this morning, following allegations of inappropriate conduct levelled against two federal government ministers.

An explosive ABC investigation claims two senior liberal politicians were involved in affairs while married, right before then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced the ‘bonk ban’.

Rachelle Miller, a former media advisor to Liberal MP Alan Tudge, admitted to having an affair with her boss when he was the Minister for Human Services back in 2017.


She’s also pointed out a toxic culture within the ‘Canberra bubble’.

“There is a kind of, almost gung-ho kind of mentality by a lot of the senior males, that they’re kind of almost beyond reproach. Like they can just get away with things.

“And they can because nobody calls that behaviour out,” Ms Miller told the ABC.

Mr Tudge admitted to the affair in a statement after the Four Corners program aired last night.

‘I regret my actions immensely and the hurt it caused my family. I also regret the hurt that Ms Miller has experienced,’ he said.

The investigation also alleges that Attorney General Christian Porter behaved intimately with a female staffer at a Canberra bar in 2017, while he was still married.

Ms Miller told the ABC that she had witnessed it.

“It was quite confronting given that we were in such a public place and we’re in a place where we had multiple Press Gallery journalists, multiple MPs and senators,” Ms Miller said.

It’s understood then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had cautioned Mr Porter about his ‘unacceptable’ behaviour.

‘I told him I had had reports of him being out in public, having had too much to drink, and in the company with young women,’ Mr Turnbull told the ABC.

‘I said “this is unacceptable conduct for a cabinet minister and it exposes you to the risk of compromise”.’

Mr Porter has released a statement, categorically denying the allegations.

“They (the claims) are rejected as totally false.

“The journalist, Louise Milligan, never contacted me or my office, despite my awareness that for many months she has been directly contacting friends, former colleagues, former students — even old school friends from the mid 1980s — asking for rumours and negative comment about me.”
“Given the defamatory nature of many of the claims made in tonight’s programme, I will be considering legal options,” Mr Porter’s statement reads.
Four Corners journalist Louise Milligan spoke to ABC Breakfast about the program this morning, saying they’d made several attempts to contact Mr Porter.
“At four corners we have a team, and we work together, and we split up the tasks.
“I was dealing with Mr Tudge’s office, and Lucy [Carter] was dealing with Mr Porter’s office. We put all of the questions to Mr Porter and to Mr Tudge. In fairness, we received no responses on the record from either office.
Ms Milligan says that ‘a flurry’ of off the record correspondence ensued, with the ABC pressured at the highest level to not run last night’s program.
“There was pressure brought to the highest levels of this organisation, to the Managing Director, to the Director of News, and to the board of this organisation, by representatives of the Commonwealth Government.
“If that is what the Attorney General, the Chief Law Officer of the nation, and the Minister of the crown Mr Tudge, think is an acceptable way to deal with an investigative journalism program, I find that very surprising,” Ms Milligan told the ABC.