Peta Credlin has furiously denied rumours she was engaged in a sexual relationship with Tony Abbott while working as his chief of staff.
Ms Credlin, who was written about extensively in a new book by journalist and author Niki Savva, said the implication was “vicious and malicious”.
“I can’t be any clearer — it is about as low as it gets,” Ms Credlin told The Australian, the same paper Ms Savva writes a column for.
According to the newspaper, rumours about Mr Abbott and his right hand woman have circulated for years, but came to a head with the highly-publicised release of Ms Savva’s book this week.
Mr Abbott refused to engage in the rumour when asked on Monday.
“I’m not in the business of raking over old coals nor am I in the business of responding to scurrilous gossip and smear,” he told reporters
The book painted an unflattering image of Ms Credlin, accusing her of “sidelining” Mr Abbott’s wife and daughters, and abusing him and other staff in expletive-laden tirades.
According to Ms Savva, wife Margie Abbott was not allowed to know about Mr Abbott’s schedule without it being approved by Ms Credlin.
The book also detailed a story in which Ms Credlin organised to rent a villa in France with a number of colleagues for Mr Abbott’s 58th birthday, while Mrs Abbott flew home alone.
Ms Credlin has criticised the author for not contacting her about the accusations, or giving her a chance to rebutt in the book, calling the actions “extraordinaly”.
But Ms Savva told Sky News on Monday she did not trust the responses of either Ms Credlin or Mr Abbott.