Australia minister steps aside over affair allegations

Australia's minister for education is under investigation following allegations of an abusive extramarital affair.

Alan Tudge has temporarily stepped down from cabinet after being accused of physically and emotionally abusing a former staff member.

He has strongly refuted the claims, saying the relationship occurred in 2017 and was consensual.

During parliamentary questions on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the issue was being dealt with:

'..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."

The affair allegations come just days after a landmark report found sexual harassment was rife in Australia's federal parliament.

More than half of the people who responded to the inquiry said they had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment, bullying, or actual or attempted sexual assault.

Morrison is under pressure to address parliamentary culture ahead of an election due in the first half of next year.

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