Minister Alan Tudge stands aside for inquiry.
Education Minister Alan Tudge has stood aside from cabinet and taken leave while accusations he mistreated his former staffer during an affair are investigated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday his department would look into allegations aired hours earlier by former press secretary Rachelle Miller.
Former public servant Vivienne Thom will head the investigation as Mr Tudge, who "completely and utterly" rejects the allegations, goes on leave until Christmas.
"I have accepted responsibility for a consensual affair that should not have happened many years ago. But Ms Miller's allegations are wrong, did not happen and are contradicted by her own written words to me," he said in a statement.
Ms Miller alleged her relationship with the minister was emotionally and, on one occasion, physically abusive.
"I'm fully aware that a year ago I said that my relationship ... was a consensual relationship," she told reporters.
"But it's much more complicated than that. I was so ashamed, so humiliated, so scared. I was exhausted. I told a small part of the story I was able to manage."
Ms Miller alleged Mr Tudge once physically kicked her out of a hotel bed, naked, one morning during a work trip because he was angry about being woken by her phone.
"He continued to kick me until I fell off the side of the bed and ended up on the floor," she said.
Rachelle Miller, former press secretary to Alan Tudge, holding a press conference in her old work place. “All I ever wanted was for the Govt to listen, yet when I spoke out not a single member of the Govt checked to see if I was ok”…”the PM will not listen”. pic.twitter.com/IQXOjPJ35X— James Massola (@jamesmassola) December 1, 2021