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Australian minister resigns over alleged website date on Hong Kong trip

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian government lawmaker on Monday resigned from Cabinet over a media report he used a website to meet a younger woman while on a Hong Kong work trip — overshadowing the government posting the best financial outlook in 10 years.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he accepted the resignation of Andrew Broad after New Idea Magazine ran an interview with a woman who alleged she met the married Broad at a Hong Kong restaurant last month.

“Due to the nature of the allegations made, it is appropriate for Mr Broad to resign as the assistant minister to the deputy prime minister,” McCormack said in an emailed statement. Broad will remain on the government backbench.

A spokeswoman for Broad did not immediately respond to requests for comment. New Idea published Broad saying: “This matter has been reported to the Australian Federal Police and I will not be making any further comment”.

New Idea ran an interview with a woman called Amy, who alleged Broad maintained a profile on a website, which it said was used by wealthy, older men to meet younger women, but it did not name the website.

It said Amy was 20 years younger than Broad.

Amy said she agreed to meet Broad at the Hong Kong Restaurant for dinner but left because she did not like his behaviour, New Idea reported.

Broad’s resignation came just hours after the government forecast the strongest budget outlook in 10 years, arming Prime Minister Scott Morrison with a war chest large enough to allow for possible tax cuts ahead of an election in less than six months.

Morrison’s minority government must return to the polls by May 2019, with opinion polls strongly favouring the opposition Labor to easily win the election.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry)

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