New Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, who openly called for change during the recent turmoil over the treatment of women in parliament, has been accused of bullying.
The claims have been made by a female senior adviser, who’s now reportedly on stress leave after complaining about the workplace culture in the minister’s office.
The Australian reports the woman made an initial written complaint in August and another in March when Ms Andrews was still industry, science and technology minister.
“The manner in which I have been treated is disrespectful, humiliating and demeaning,” the woman claims in the March letter, cited by The Australian on Wednesday.
“This bullying conduct has occurred over the last 6-8 months and appears designed to force my departure from my employment … however given I have not done anything wrong, I do not believe I should be forced to leave my job and put myself in a very difficult financial position.”
A spokesman for Ms Andrews told The Australian the minister rejected the claims.
During the recent turmoil in the federal parliament surrounding the treatment of women, Ms Andrews was one of the Liberal female MPs who openly called for change.
She was this week elevated to the home affairs portfolio – the first woman to hold the sensitive position – replacing Peter Dutton who moved to defence.
Meanwhile, Queensland police are looking into a complaint against federal MP Andrew Laming.
Dr Laming took a photo of a woman in 2019 as she bent over at a landscaping supply business and her underwear was exposed.
He has not denied taking the photo without the woman’s consent but says there was nothing untoward.
The woman spoke to police on Monday, and on Tuesday lodged a formal complaint.
Dr Laming is also under fire after admitting to bullying, stalking and harassing women online over several years.
The 54-year-old has been given a month of paid medical leave to seek counselling and empathy training.
But he intends to rejoin the coalition party room upon his return and remain in parliament until the next election, when he plans to leave politics.
Ms Andrews said this week Dr Laming’s behaviour was completely unacceptable and could not be rationalised or covered up.