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Alan Tudge says he intends to return as education minister if he and the Coalition win re-election

Embattled federal Liberal MP Alan Tudge said he intends to return as education minister if both he and the Coalition are re-elected. after his former adviser Rachelle Miller alleged he was emotionally and, at one point, physically abusive towards her while they were in a relationship.

The member for Aston has strenuously denied the allegations, and a subsequent investigation found

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has consistently fended off questions about Mr Tudge’s future on the frontbench, should the Coalition be re-elected this month.

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When approached by Sky News while campaigning outside a pre-poll location in his Melbourne electorate on Tuesday, Mr Tudge said Mr Morrison told him he would support him returning to cabinet.

“I stood down from being education minister some months ago now for family, for health reasons and (to) concentrate on my electorate and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing,” he said.

“The prime minister has made it clear that we should be re-elected and I’m in a position to step back up, then I’ll do so.”

In April, Mr Morrison faced questions after

to Mr Tudge’s former staffer.

Mr Morrison was questioned about his knowledge of the six-figure payout after he revealed Mr Tudge was still “technically” a member of his cabinet.

“I have no knowledge of that,” he told the Nine Network’s Today Show.

“That’s a private matter between her and the department and so that is not a matter I have any involvement in or oversight or visibility on.”

The settlement with Ms Miller is understood to be in relation to civil action over allegations of bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

It’s understood to relate to her time working in Parliament House, including when she worked as a staffer for Mr Tudge.

In an open letter sent to the government and posted by Ms Miller on Twitter, her lawyer Peter Gordon accused the government of leaking information about a settlement deal between his client and the government.

Mr Tudge said he had no knowledge of the details surrounding a $500,000 taxpayer-funded settlement made to Ms Miller.

“I’m not aware of any of those things. I have no information. I haven’t been called as a witness,” he said.

“I haven’t been asked to provide evidence and, as the prime minister said, if it involved me he would have been made aware and hasn’t been made aware.”

He said the issue was a matter for the Department of Finance.

Mr Tudge also denied reports he asked Ms Miller to keep quiet while at a formal security review.

He stated he just asked Ms Miller to “tell the truth”.

Cabinet minister Stuart Robert has taken over the duties of the role as acting education minister since Mr Tudge stepped down.

Dominic Perrottet on ‘same page’ as PM despite clashes over NSW ICAC

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he believes he and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are “on the same page” when it comes to “driving integrity in public office”, despite public differences over his state’s anti-corruption watchdog.

Mr Morrison last month described the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) as a “kangaroo court” and criticized its investigation into former premier Gladys Berejiklian.

That inquiry into disgraced former NSW MP Daryl Maguire revealed Ms Berejiklian had previously been in a personal relationship with him.

NSW ICAC commissioner Stephen Rushton last Monday labeled

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Prime Minister Scott Morrison

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference on day 30 of the 2022 federal election campaign, at the Epping Club in Sydney, in the seat of Bennelong, 10 May 2022. Source: AAP / Mick Tsikas

The term “kangaroo court” is often used to describe an ad hoc court that has limited power and does not follow normal legal procedures.

Mr Morrison doubled down on his comments while campaigning in the Sydney seat of Bennelong with Mr Perrottet on Tuesday, saying he doesn’t care if barristers disagree with him.

“I stand by everything I said on the matter,” he told reporters.

“I don’t believe the NSW ICAC is a model we should follow at the federal level.

“I’ve seen it come and destroy people’s reputations and careers before it has even made a finding. I don’t think that’s good process, and I’m not alone in that.”

The NSW Premier

and rejected the prime minister’s attacks on the NSW anti-corruption watchdog.

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“The ICAC plays an important role in upholding integrity and confidence in politicians and in public servants here in our state,” Mr Perrottet told reporters.

“There will always be different views in relation to the judiciary, or the ICAC or integrity agencies, and people are entitled to have their opinions. But when we do have opinions, and we do raise concerns, we need to do so in a way that doesn’t undermine confidence in our integrity agencies.”

But on Tuesday, Mr Perrottet said that while he and the prime minister “may disagree in terms of the operation of the NSW model”, they both agree that “there should be integrity agencies in place that ensure the best standards in public life”.

“Whether that’s in the public service or in politicians, that is the expectation right around the country and in NSW,” he said.

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NSW established its ICAC in 1988, and there have long been calls for its model to be adopted at the federal level, despite the prime minister’s objections.

Mr Perrottet added he agreed with Mr Morrison’s comments that “it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach”.

“With our integrity agency, the ICAC in NSW, it differs from other integrity agencies in other state jurisdictions. I think it is welcome that at a Commonwealth level they’re working through that,” he said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese speaks to the media during a visit to the Box Hill Institute on Day 30 of the 2022 federal election campaign, in Melbourne, May 10, 2022. Source: AAP / LUKAS CAR/AAPIMAGE

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese also spent Tuesday morning campaigning with a state premier from his party.

He was flanked by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in several key Melbourne seats, including Kooyong – held by federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg – and the marginal electorate of Chisholm.

The Age newspaper last month reported Mr Andrews was among 26 witnesses questioned in private by his own state’s anti-corruption watchdog.

It said the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission’s (IBAC) leaked interim report

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When asked on Tuesday what problems he saw with Victoria’s model, Mr Albanese said “politicians shouldn’t comment about IBAC and processes which are taking place.”

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When asked if he thought it would be acceptable for a federal body to interview politicians behind closed doors, Mr Albanese said “it would be acceptable for that body to operate according to how it sees it should operate, and not take directives from politicians about how it operates”.

Mr Albanese’s visit to Melbourne also saw him pledge support for

.

The network would connect every major rail line between the Frankston line and Werribee line in Melbourne via the airport.

Federal Labor has committed to spending $2.2 billion on a section of the rail loop to build 26km of twin tunnels and six underground stations, should it win government.

Mr Albanese said the project would be “game-changing”.

“This project will transform the way that Melburnians can get around this city, but also transform for the whole of Victoria,” he said.

“This project will create thousands of jobs, will improve efficiency, is nation-building and will make an enormous difference.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (left) and federal Opposition leader Anthony Albanese (right) wearing hard hats and hi-vis vests

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (left) and federal Opposition leader Anthony Albanese speak during a visit to the Surrey Hills Level Crossing removal project on day 30 of the 2022 federal election campaign, in Melbourne, 10 May 2022. Source: AAP / lukas coch

Mr Andrews said Victoria had been “ripped off” by the current federal government, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every federal dollar that Victorians get from the miserable Morrison government (we are made to feel like) we ought to bow our head and treat it like it’s foreign aid,” he said.

“When Victorians were at their darkest time, senior federal Liberals proved to be Liberals first and Victorians second.

“They thought that they were bagging our government – they were bagging every Victorian who was following the rules and doing the right thing, and that might be one of the reasons why they’re in a bit of trouble in their seats.”

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Coalition to fund development of ‘skills passport’

The Coalition is pitching $5 million in spending on technology to create a “skills passport” to help employees get jobs.

The tool would store information about a worker’s experience and education that can be presented to employers.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert said the Coalition would partner with the Australian Technology Network of Universities to fast-track the rollout of the technology.

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“Where there are skills gaps to fill, we want Australians to have the first crack at getting that opportunity and our skills passport approach will enable rapid upskilling and reskilling,” he said.

“These investments will mean more skilled workers, lower unemployment, and a stronger future not just for apprentices and trainees, but for Australia.”

High turnout for pre-poll voting

More than 300,000 Australians cast their ballot on the first day of pre-poll voting alone, as the federal election finish line draws closer.

Monday marked the beginning of pre-polling across the country, with 500 locations available to voters, who meet eligibility criteria, before election day on 21 May.

Election officials have predicted this year’s election will have the highest pre-poll vote, eclipsing the more than 30 per cent of voters who did so in 2019.

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Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said he was not surprised by the large turnout on day one.

“We were expecting an increase in pre-poll and that’s exactly what we’re seeing at the moment,” he told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

“But the more in envelopes through pre-poll and postal, the harder it will be to determine a result on the night.”

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