A Liberal senator told an ex-employee she needed “a lot of therapy” in a late-night Twitter tirade. Here’s what started the ugly war of words.
A Liberal senator who complained about a vile sexist slur that she should ‘keep her legs shut’ has herself launched an extraordinary attack on another woman by telling a former Liberal staffer she needs ” a lot of therapy” after complaining of bullying at work.
New South Wales Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes launched the late-night Twitter tirade against former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller, who had an extramarital affair with Education Minister Alan Tudge.
On Monday night, Senator Hughes said she had backed Mr Tudge all the way, saying “I’m with Tudgey too!”
Ms Miller claims the relationship was emotionally abusive, she was bullied and was once kicked out of bed after sex by the minister.
The allegations are now the subject of an independent investigation led by Vivienne Thom. Mr Tudge completely denies any allegations of bullying or abuse, but agrees the couple had a consensual sex which he “deeply regrets”.
The Prime Minister received the final report on January 28 and is now reviewing the findings while Mr Tudge remains on leave from Parliament.
But Senator Hughes appeared to anticipate those findings on Monday night as she attacked Ms Miller on ‘baseless charges’.
“Wow – you’re in serious trouble! Honey, lots of therapy. Stop making unfounded accusations and then hiding behind false legal premises,’ she said.
“But insulting women who disagree with you – you’ll fit right in with your new green friends. I also notice the silence on Chairman Dan.
The background to Senator Hughe’s outburst was that Ms Miller was making a joke on Twitter that she was trying to work out who Senator Hughes reminded her of and eventually realized who it was.
She said it was Hyacinth Bucket in the comedy Keeping Up Appearances.
In the television series, the character is a woman who aspires to climb the social ladder and impress the rich and successful.
Last year, Senator Hughes was the target of a brutal beating by Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe.
Lidia Thorpe has been accused of telling Hollie Hughes ‘at least I keep my legs shut’ in parliament, an interjection her colleagues say left the woman in tears.
New South Wales Senator Hollie Hughes was reportedly left in tears by the incident, which happened during a late sitting of Parliament as Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe yelled at her through bedroom.
“I’m still a bit in shock,” Senator Hughes told Sky News after the incident.
She also claimed that Senator Thorpe’s ‘closed legs’ comment could have been about her autistic son – despite the fact that Senator Thorpe made no mention of her child.
Senator Thorpe apologized to the Senate and unreservedly to Senator Hughes.
“I just want to unreservedly withdraw the comments I made earlier in intervening, and I sincerely apologize to this senator, Senator Hughes. This will not happen again. So I apologize to the senator and to the Senate,” said Senator Thorpe.
Senator Hughes previously attacked former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller on Sky News.
“What does (Mrs. Miller) want us to do? What does she want us to do?” Senator Hughes said.
“We are taking a series of steps to provide an HR complaints mechanism for staff.
“But Minister Tudge has denied this version of events. So again, we’re in ‘he said, she said.’