Ex-lover lashes minister’s ‘privacy’ demand
The Morrison Government has issued a "please explain" to the ABC's Four Corners program complaining an explosive investigation into Immigration minister's Alan Tudge extra marital affair with a staffer breached his "privacy".
After spending weeks trying to shut down the story, a series of "questions" have now been issued to the ABC's managing director Ita Buttrose over the decision to interview Mr Tudge's ex-lover who has lodged a bullying complaint against him.
But the complaint has triggered a stinging rebuke from Mr Tudge's former lover Rachelle Miller, who said she had a right to tell her story.
Mr Tudge has apologised for the extra marital affair but flatly rejected any suggestion he bullied his former press secretary while he was sleeping with her during taxpayer-funded travel. A complaint has been lodged with the Department of Finance.
I think it’s called a distraction...🧐 https://t.co/PM0Br9wnLi— Rachelle Miller (@RachelleJMiller) December 1, 2020
In a letter sent to the ABC's managing director Ita Buttrose, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher notes Ms Buttrose's comments that "the chair has seen the program and supports the decision to publish."
Given that decision, Mr Fletcher asks that the Board respond to the following questions about the expose.
"Why does the Board consider it is appropriate that the privacy of the Attorney-General and Minister Tudge (the Ministers) should be compromised by the way in which the Program deals extensively with aspects of their personal lives?,'' Mr Fletcher writes.
"How is this consistent with the stated importance of respect for privacy in the Code of Practice, including whether intrusion into private lives was proportionate in the circumstances?
"Why, in the Judgement of the Board, are the personal lives of politicians
Mr Fletcher also complains the ABC did not probe the sex lives of Labor MPs and the Greens.
In response, Ms Miller said the Morrison Government's latest attempts to deny her right to tell her story were no surprise.
"I think it's called a distraction,'' she tweeted.
In relation to the Attorney-General Christian Porter, Mr Fletcher also complains that an anonymous staffer accused of having an romantic encounter with Mr Porter in a public far in front of multiple witnesses denied the incident occurred.
"Does the Board consider it is consistent with the duty of accuracy and impartiality and the principle of fair and honest dealing that the Program failed to report that the woman the subject of the alleged incident in the Public Bar and the subject of the alleged relationship with the Attorney-General denied both these allegations to those preparing the Program?,'' Mr Fletcher wrote.
"I look forward to a response from you within 14 days of the date of this letter."
Originally published as Ex-lover lashes minister's 'privacy' demand