Employment Minister accused of 'fake redundancy'

Adviser claims an affair with another minister is behind the dismissal

Employment Minister accused of 'fake redundancy'

Employment minister Michaelia Cash has been accused of forcing an adviser to leave her role without grounds.

Rachelle Miller says she was punished for an affair with another minister, Alan Tudge, with barriers to career growth.

An official complaint seen by the Sydney Morning Herald reveals that she feels “discriminated against because of a personal relationship.”

Senator Cash was Minister for Jobs and Innovation in 2018 when Miller, hired as senior media adviser, says the unfair treatment took place. She had previously worked for Tudge.

Miller says that she was eventually “ambushed” by Cash with news that the office was to be restructured, leaving her without a job unless she accepted a demotion to an assistant media adviser role. She says this was akin to a “fake redundancy” process.

Cash denies any wrongdoing.

Read more: 7 steps for handling unfair dismissal claims

"The minister strenuously rejects claims of any adverse treatment of Ms Miller by her, or her office, and strongly disputes Ms Miller's version of events," a spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Bullying claim

There is a separate complaint filed by Miller, accusing population minister Tudge of poor workplace behaviour. In a document filed with the Department of Finance, Miller refers to “belittling” and “humiliating” behaviour from her former boss.

The complaints highlight the controversy surrounding the treatment of women in Parliament, something party leaders want to address.

Scott Morrison has retained the ban on ministers having relationships with their staff that was imposed by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Read more: Can casual employees make a claim for unfair dismissal?

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is also clear that such relationships are unacceptable.

"Under the Labor party I lead, the same standard applies as that put in place by Malcolm Turnbull," Mr Albanese told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Recent articles & video

Federal Budget 2021: Government plans to create 250,000 news jobs in two years

Federal Budget 2021: $1.7bn childcare investment fails to tackle Australia’s gender inequality

How to build resilient teams

Work-related depression pay ends after three years

Most Read Articles

Federal Budget 2021: What HR needs to know

Federal Budget 2021: Treasurer announces jobs funding, childcare boost to kickstart economy

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccine direction for WA hotel quarantine workers comes into force