Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that Alan Tudge will return to cabinet if the coalition government is re-elected on May 21.
Morrison made the comment during the final leaders’ debate, which aired on Channel Seven on Wednesday evening.
Tudge was forced to step down late last year when an investigation was launched into allegations made by one of his former political advisers, Rachelle Miller. Miller accused Tudge of bullying, harassment, emotional abuse and, on one occasion, physical abuse.
Tudge denied the allegations and no evidence was presented at the inquest that would have led to the conclusion that he violated departmental standards. Miller did not participate in the investigation, fearing it was neither fair nor independent.
Tudge had been absent from the Morrison government campaign, including in his Aston seat, until this week when he told Sky News he was unaware of Rachelle Miller’s reasons for was receiving a taxpayer funded payment of over $500,000. He said it was the business of the Department of Finance.
“I’m not aware of any of these things. I have no information. I was not called as a witness,” Tudge told Sky News.
“I was not asked to provide evidence and as the Prime Minister said if it involved me he would have been told and was not told.”
Tudge also confirmed that he would be interested in returning to the federal cabinet if the government is re-elected.
“I resigned from my post as Minister of Education a few months ago now for family, health and [to] focus on my constituency and that’s exactly what I did,” Tudge said.
“The Prime Minister has made it clear that if we are re-elected and I am able to step down, I will.”
Morrison has previously confirmed that Tudge is technically still a front-seat member, as he still has a Governor General’s warrant. Stuart Robert is currently Acting Minister of Education.
Until this week, Tudge refused all media interviews during the campaign and said he would not participate in a debate with shadow education minister Tanya Plibersek before the election.