Inside a bright and breezy Mornington Peninsula beach house

You’ll find Coastal Pavilion in the pretty seaside town of Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. The beautifully designed beach home belongs to Lou De Mattia and Ross Nichols, owners of nearby lifestyle and furniture mecca, Coastal Living.

“Most people here are holidaymakers, but Coastal Pavilion is Lou and Ross’s full-time family home,” says Miriam Fanning, founder and principal at Mim Design, who worked with the couple on the build. “It’s on a tea-tree-lined street and has a beautiful coastal feel. You can smell the ocean.”

Comprising a series of pavilions, the home is a seamless mesh of contemporary design and mid-century style. The architecture is simple and pared-back, and executed using robust and authentic materials.

“The home’s external finishes speak to its internal, which makes it feel timeless and strong,” Fanning says. “On a wintry day the home is like a big, warm blanket, and on a hot day it feels breezy and bright.”

Design Brief - Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design.
The home is a seamless mesh of contemporary design and mid-century style. Photo: Tom Blachford

Partially protected at the front by a curved breeze-brick wall, Coastal Pavilion is a play of bagged bricks and dark, linear cladding that evokes a mid-century feel.

Defined by black steel frames, the living room is a refined mix of natural elements and textures. The nearby front sitting room, complete with cane and leather furnishings and handcrafted textured rug, opens out to a terrace.

Design Brief - Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design.
The living room is a refined mix of natural elements and textures. Photo: Tom Blachford

“The layering of textures adds depth and warmth as well as a feeling of permanence to the space,” Fanning says.

Downstairs, a linen-dressed main suite, children’s bedroom and en suite sit adjacent to a guest bedroom, a family bathroom and an office that overlooks the pool and garden. “There is a real connection between each internal space and outdoors,” Fanning says. “It gives each room meaning and connection to the environment.”

Design Brief - Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design.
The creamy-grey marble island bench is the perfect place for friends and family to gather. Photo: Tom Blachford

The stone kitchen incorporates soft-grey 2pac panelling, polished plaster, full-height cabinetry, and a timber veneer rangehood that beautifully complements the floorboards. A creamy-grey marble island bench is curved to one side to align with a bell pendant light and provides a place for friends and family to perch.

The house has a soothing neutral palette of timber, greys and white, with textures ranging from soft textiles to hardwood-panelled walls, polished plaster and a mix of handmade and standard tiles.

Design Brief - Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design.
Take a dip in the pool surrounded by lush landscaping. Photo: Tom Blachford

Outside, the swimming pool, lined in white tiles, glows soft blue against lush sculptural grounds by Queensland landscape designer James Ross. A study in succulents, its abundance of cacti is perfectly offset by the home’s robust lines.

“The home is a beautifully calming balance of light and dark, with a real feeling of intimacy through detailing,” Fanning says.

Style notes

Pendant lamp

Named for its iconic shape, the Bell Pendant Lamp features a white inner surface that reflects light for a stylish glow.

Design Brief - Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design.

The ergonomically designed Togo Fireside Chair is made from five types of foam and hand-stitched with swathes of quilting.

Design Brief - Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design.

Muuto’s Ridge Vase is a versatile vessel for arranging flowers, as well as a striking sculptural piece when displayed in any space.

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Palm Beach, Florida house sells for $105m to tech billionaire Larry Ellison

The sixth-richest person on the planet has paid an insane $105 million for a lavish home in Palm Beach.

Before the northern beaches locals get excited, no, we’re not talking about Sydney’s glamorous holiday hotspot or even the south-side darling of the Gold Coast; we’re talking about Palm Beach, Florida, in the United States, which is also undergoing a spike in property prices, albeit at a slightly higher price level.

The buyer, tech billionaire Larry Ellison, paid just above the USD$79.5 million asking price for a compound that lies within an ultra-exclusive, 24-hour-guarded, gated community and boasts more than 158.5 metres of ocean frontage, Dirt reports.

Larry Ellison’s new mansion at Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Redfin

The listing for the palatial spread states that it’s the third-largest oceanfront compound in Palm Beach County, resting on 2.8 hectares of land with panoramic ocean vistas.

Built in 1998, the seven-bedroom, Tuscan-style home features 1400-plus square metres of living space with hand-painted tiles, stencilled ceiling beams, carved fireplaces and gilded flourishes.

There are extensive outdoor areas. Photo: Redfin

Rated by Forbes as the world’s sixth-richest person, with a net worth of $A131 billion, Ellison is known for his impressive real estate portfolio consisting of trophy properties stretching from Silicon Valley to Japan and beyond.

Inside the Palm Beach, Florida home. Photo: Redfin

In 2020, Business Insider reported he owned 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, a William Wurster-designed mansion on San Francisco’s Billionaire’s Row, a 9.3-hectare estate in California modelled after a 16th-century Japanese imperial palace, and a historic garden villa in Kyoto, Japan.

Ellison has been dubbed the United States’ “most avid trophy home buyer” and all but has all but taken over entire neighbourhoods in some areas. He reportedly owns about two dozen properties in Malibu worth an estimated $A263 to $A328 million, along with numerous properties in the Lake Tahoe area.

One of the lavish living rooms. Photo: Redfin

Key features of Ellison’s new Palm Beach property include a striking entry foyer, arches, a spiral staircase with a wrought-iron balustrade, beamed ceilings, a professional chef’s kitchen with a ceiling fresco and dual islands, an opulent master retreat and a wine room.

Outside, the property is as you might expect a $105 million home might be: there’s a tennis court, pool, plenty of indoor/outdoor living and dining space, and lots of room for a helicopter.

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Melbourne house prices hit record increase with median surpassing $1M as rental market plummets

Melbourne has recorded one of its largest quarterly house price increase, with new data revealing the median has surpassed the $1 million mark.

On Friday, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria released its quarterly March report, which shows metropolitan Melbourne has recorded its highest quarterly increase for houses since December 2009.

The median value of a house in metro Melbourne is now $1,004,500, which is a jump of 8.8 per cent from the previous quarter.

Houses in middle Melbourne are also at a record median of $1,148,500 and in regional Victoria they are at $510,500.

It is the first time regional Victorian houses have surpassed a $500,000 median price.

“Sellers and buyers didn’t waste any time getting active in the market,” REIV President Leah Calnan said in a statement.

“House prices have been boosted by incentives for First Home Buyers, mortgage repayment holidays, and low interest rates.”

“High demand across the state has also been fuelled by an increase in activity following Victoria’s lockdowns which saw thousands of auctions cancelled.”

But while property prices are at an all time high, an inner suburban exodus means Melbourne will soon have the cheapest rental properties of any capital city in the country.

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Melbourne’s median house price hits record $1 million. Here’s what you can buy for that

The median house price in Melbourne has just has passed the $1 million mark for the first time, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).

REIV’s quarterly report for March showed the median price for a house in metropolitan Melbourne jumped by 8.8 per cent, to $1,004,500.

It was the biggest quarterly increase in the median house price since December 2009.

REIV president Leah Calnan said the level of buyer interest across Victoria was unprecedented, following the lifting of restrictions that saw thousands of auctions cancelled in 2020.

“House prices have been boosted by incentives for first home buyers, mortgage repayment holidays, and low interest rates.”

There was also growth in regional Victoria, where the median house price passed $500,000 for the first time — a growth of 12.3 per cent over the last 12 months.

Cassandra Huett and her partner were among thousands of people who tried and failed to break into Melbourne’s housing market in 2020.

Cassandra and her partner rented a one-bedroom apartment for seven years while saving for a deposit.

They were on the verge of buying an apartment in Hawthorn last year when the pandemic hit.

When they resumed their search for a property, they found prices had escalated beyond their reach.

“I like apartment living, but I don’t want to spend my whole life in an apartment.”

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week urged the Victorian government to swap stamp duty for land tax to reduce some of the burden on first-time buyers.

Cassandra and her partner have since bought a property in Launceston and are relocating to Tasmania.

“If we had a house here we would look to stay here.”

A million dollar house isn’t what it used to be when the parents of today’s first-time buyers were entering the market, but it’s still noting to be sniffed at.

These houses are all listed for sale at just under $1 million but, as anyone who’s been to an auction in Melbourne will tell you, that doesn’t mean that’s what they’ll end up selling for. 

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms: 1

Suburb median price: $1.12 million

Quarterly price change: -11.2%

This house in Kensington, in Melbourne’s inner-west, is fairly typical of what you’d get in the inner suburbs for $1 million. 

With just two bedrooms and one bathroom, it’s not exactly palatial, but its proximity to the city makes it desirable for many buyers.

Kensington was one of the few suburbs where the median price fell in the March quarter, down 11.2 per cent.

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 2

Suburb median house price: $960,000

Quarterly price change: +12.3%

If space is what you’re looking for, this five bedroom house in Sandhurst, in Melbourne’s outer south-east, sits on a 659 square metre block, with a landscaped garden.

The median property price rose 12.3 per cent in Sandhurst over March, but hasn’t yet tipped into the $1 million range.

Bedrooms: 2


Suburb median price: $1.41 million

Quarterly price change: -3.6%

Richmond was another inner city suburb where the median house price fell in March, but not to the same extent as Kensington.

Unit prices, however, rose by 7.5 per cent in Richmond, which was above the average for metropolitan Melbourne of 4.8 per cent.

The asking price for this two bedroom, two bathroom unit is around $1 million, putting more than $300,000 above the median unit price for the suburb.

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2

Suburb median price: $555,000

Quarterly price change: +5.2%

Darley is a suburb of Bacchus Marsh, about 50km north-west of Melbourne’s CBD.

It’s technically in regional Victoria, where the median house price grew by 4.1% in March.

This property boasts four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and some stunning views of the Lerderderg State Park.

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Tasmania’s house prices push city buyers into the suburbs

Tasmania’s rising house prices are pushing city buyers out to major housing developments in once quiet areas. April McLennan reports.

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The problem with listing your house for sale while still living there

Faking your own death and removing all evidence of your own existence is, unsurprisingly, both stressful and exhausting. I know this because we are currently trying to sell our house while still living in it. 

To suggest that I underestimated how difficult this would be is like saying that I was slightly wrong when I suggested some years back that no one would ever vote for a reality TV star and failed businessman, not even Americans.

Fortunately, my wife is my polar opposite and has thrown herself into the microscopically granular process required to turn a house that people actually live in into a display home that other people would desire to live in.

There’s a lot of expunging involved, as it turns out. All the things that gave our children’s bedrooms personality had to go for a start. There is a van Gogh painting on my teen son’s wall that sits where his Nirvana and Pulp Fiction posters were. He looks baffled and slightly lost every time he’s allowed to go in there.

Family photos and mementos had to go. Photo: iStock

My daughter’s room — which usually looks like a sideshow-alley tent has exploded, resulting in a maelstrom of soft toys, balloons and toppled wooden clowns — is so empty that I’m not sure she ever lived in it. 

It’s a similar if even more sparse story in the lounge room, which no longer features our favourite comfy couch. Along with plenty of other furniture, it was given away so as to create the illusion — sorry, improved perception — of space. 

Now, when we are allowed in there at all, we watch TV by sitting on the floor. Or at least on towels on the floor, so we don’t make a mess.

1/42 Cecil Street, Kew
The bed is covered in new sheets, which, apparently, look classy, but are about as comfortable to sleep in as a concrete sleeping bag. Photo: Anton Zhouk

As for my study and desk, I came home one day to discover that all of the extremely important detritus, Star Wars droids, trophies and scribbled notes that I had carefully collated into what less enlightened people might call a mess, had been destroyed in a mysterious fire that left no burn marks.

In the bedroom, my favourite pillow has also vanished — apparently people would smell my sweaty head from the front door — and the bed is covered in new sheets, which, apparently, look classy, but are about as comfortable to sleep in as a concrete sleeping bag. 

I have seriously considered sneaking out to sleep in our newly hired storage cage, where all of the beloved stuff we were allowed to hold on to is now huddled, suitably ashamed of its shabbiness, in the dark.

Close up of a woman holding cleaning equipment at home
Cleaning products never seem to leave my wife’s hands. Photo: Stocksy

Just this morning, I was asked to consider whether I really needed a shower, because having one would create a “wet-towel situation”, not to mention the need to remove every drop of water from the walls. 

I’m not saying that my wife has developed an overwhelming case of OCD, but only because I’m quite frightened of her at present. She smells of cleaning products, and I’m worried she might be eating them, because they never seem to leave her hands.

You may have sensed that there’s some friction between us, but I know that’s my fault. I should never have suggested that how neat your cupboards look when a prospective buyer idly opens them during an inspection could not possibly affect how much you’re going to make when you sell. 

Apparently, your house should not look like you live in it — it should feel as though you never did, but that someone much cooler, and cleaner, than you now does.

I was a fool, and I see that now. Just as I was obviously not thinking clearly when I thought that selling your house in this boom market would be a joyous adventure, something akin to leaping naked into a pool filled with $100 notes and chocolate.

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Glass House Mountains tragedy prompts warning for climbers, hikers

On Saturday, 18-year-old Chermside man and aspiring teacher Peter Garlick died when he fell about 40 metres from Mount Ngungun in the Glass House Mountains, while climbing with a group.

Emergency services were called to the scene to treat the teenager but he could not be revived.

“Evidence has been collected and it’s very clear cut what has happened, and in my view it is just a very tragic accident,” on-call senior officer Shane McGrail said.

“Young male, he’s done about 60 to 70 climbs; I believe he was a member of a rock-climbing club and he was with other climbers from varying climbing clubs.”

Acting Inspector McGrail said while Mr Garlick’s death was still under investigation, initial enquiries with witnesses had shed some light on the incident.

“What they started off doing [was safe], but then he’s decided to do something a little bit different,” Acting Inspector McGrail said.

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How I really did it: The high school sweethearts who lived at home to save for a house

Almost two-thirds of Australians are homeowners, but very rarely do we hear specific details around how people afford to buy property. 

In this column, we speak to recent first-home buyers to learn what was really involved in their first property purchase. 

From those who saved for 10 years to afford a regional property on a single income, to the couples who inherited the money to buy a $1.5 million inner-city home, this column will share the real stories behind the “sold” stickers on Instagram, to provide a clearer snapshot of Australia’s newest home-owners.

Spoiler alert: to buy property in some of the most expensive housing markets in the world, there’s often more than just a good savings plan involved.

Jamie and Chloe

  • Ages when first property purchased: 28 and 29
  • Property location: Greensborough, Victoria
  • Occupations and annual salaries: Photographer, $80,000; and landscape project manager, $87,500
  • Property price: $606,000 in 2020

Chloe and Jamie had been in a relationship for about 10 years when they began saving for a property together in 2017.

The couple were fortunate to already be living with Chloe’s parents in a separate granny flat, for which they paid about $50 a week. Given the considerable amount they were saving on rent, they realised buying a standalone property was a reasonable goal. They chose to save for a deposit over several years to avoid making any major lifestyle changes.

“It was just about saving as much as possible, without completely sacrificing our lives,” says Jamie. “We wanted to save enough to give ourselves options … we didn’t want to settle for something we didn’t want.”

Chloe adds, “We were fairly flexible, so we weren’t saying, ‘We want a house by 2020.’ It was more, ‘We’ll start saving now, and we’ll just keep assessing each year.’”

Household expenses concept
After tracking their expenses, Chloe and Jamie decided they could save 25 per cent of their joint income. Photo: iStock

After tracking their existing expenses on a spreadsheet, Chloe and Jamie determined they could save 25 per cent of their joint income for a house deposit. These savings would be automatically transferred into a designated bank account each month, along with set amounts for bills and an overseas holiday in other accounts. 

After the couple had lived with Chloe’s parents in Melbourne’s outer north-east for about two years, Jamie’s grandmother moved into a nursing home, and they were invited to live in her Essendon home rent-free in early 2019. 

Chloe and Jamie got engaged and became pregnant with their first child around the same time Jamie’s grandmother passed away in late 2019, so when the family decided to sell the grandmother’s property, the couple started seriously looking for a house of their own. 

“I thought, if we don’t buy now and go down the renting path instead, my headspace won’t be on buying a house, it will be on being a mum,” Chloe says. “Renting probably would have pushed back buying a year or two, so I’m glad we did it when we did it.”

Chloe and Jamie’s property budget was $650,000, and they were looking for a three-bedroom house in Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs. 

The couple saw a recently renovated 1970s townhouse in Melbourne’s Greensborough that they were keen on. Photo: iStock

The pandemic had just hit when they began searching. While they recall plenty of houses being on the market at the time, competition in Chloe and Jamie’s price bracket was strong due to Victoria’s first-home buyer duty concession available on property purchases under $750,000.

After missing out on one house, they saw a recently renovated 1970s townhouse in Greensborough advertised for $530,000 to $580,000. They inspected the property twice and decided they really wanted it, so they put in an offer of $585,000. 

Unfortunately, this offer was rejected due to popular demand, and the property was re-advertised the next day for $600,000 to $630,000. 

“Our initial budget was $650,000, so we said, ‘Let’s go again,’” Chloe says. “We still felt like we were getting a good deal at that price.” 

Chloe and Jamie put in a new offer of $607,500 subject to building inspection and finance, which was instantly accepted. The eventual building inspection showed a few small issues, leading to a final negotiated price of $606,000.

Chloe and James advise first-home buyers to make any property offers subject to building inspection and finance. Photo: iStock

The couple moved into their home in May 2020 and welcomed their son three months later. They’ve since continued saving 25 per cent of their income to cover the mortgage, and are currently in the process of landscaping their front yard. 

Chloe and Jamie’s advice to keen first-home buyers is to save over several years if possible (to avoid major lifestyle sacrifices), and to make any property offers subject to building inspection and finance.

“The real estate agent tried to encourage us not to put those terms in because he said the offer would more likely be accepted without them,’” Chloe says. “Even though I knew we had finance pre-approval, if for some reason our finance fell through, or the house was riddled with termites, I wanted those terms included.” 

Chloe and Jamie also recommend not speculating about the property market too much. 

“So many people told us to wait until after COVID to buy because there were going to be so many houses and the market would drop, but I’m very glad we didn’t,” Chloe says. “It’s so competitive right now, everything is going for way over [reserve] … I feel like we could put our house on the market right now and easily get $100,000 more than what we paid for it.”

If you are a recent first home buyer keen to share your first home buying experience in this column, please email

Editor’s note: We’ve withheld the interviewees’ surnames for privacy reasons.

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Rare mid-century modernist Iwan Iwanoff masterpiece house up for grabs

One of the late Bulgarian-born architect Iwan Iwanoff’s earliest designs – a mid-century modern home in Perth’s Mount Lawley – has hit the market for the first time in three decades.

Known as Golowin House, the three-bedroom home was designed in 1959 for the Russian-Jewish Golowin family. Mr W. Golowin’s own building company – Golowin Bros, which was also Iwanoff’s builder of choice – constructed the home.

Iwanoff, who died in 1986, became one of Perth’s most famous architects and was well-known for his brutalist style, his use of concrete blockwork and timber, and other trademark features including futuristic letterboxes designed to be part of the house.

Many of his architectural gems from the 1960s and 1970s can be found in Dianella, Floreat and City Beach.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff gem hits the market

In the 31 years Jane Gray and her family have lovingly called Golowin House home, they have spent $1 million on sympathetic renovations, including adding a new bathroom, modernising the kitchen and restoring the terrazzo flooring.

“It was built for a builder so everything is so solid and there is not a crack in it after 61 years or however long it’s been,” Mrs Gray said.

Back when Mrs Gray and her husband Paul bought Golowin House, she and a friend –  who was a draftsperson for Iwanoff – used to drive around Perth and admire the architect’s designs.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff gem hits the market

“I just loved them and thought they were amazing,” she said. “I lived in Mt Lawley and I saw this Iwanoff was about to go on the market and it was way out of my price range so I put the first bid in – two-thirds of the sale price. [It was] a bit cheeky and, a year later when nobody wanted it …. I put another bid in at the same price and they accepted it.

“At the time, it was very unfashionable and not well looked after. To me, I had never seen a house so beautiful. The woodwork … was just fabulous, so that was what prompted me to buy it 31 years ago.”

The split-level home is set on a corner, elevated 883-square-metre block and features two open-plan living areas, parking for six cars and expansive use of glass to maximise natural light and ventilation.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff gem hits the market

Selling agent Danielle Geagea, of Zsa Zsa Property, has been inundated with buyer interest and said Golowin House was a fine example of mid-century modern architecture and would suit someone who appreciated good architecture and design.

“We expect Golowin House will get snapped up quickly – an opportunity to buy an Iwanoff home close to the city is rare,” she said. “Golowin House is a real entertainer’s home and features an incredible pool and pool house.”

Ms Geagea said its distinct Iwanoff design features included an emphasis on an open plan and connecting its residents with the outdoors, as well as a wonderful use of natural materials such as granite, wandoo, copper and concrete.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff designed Golowin House hits the market for the first time in 31 years

Ms Gray said she was sad to say goodbye to Golowin House, but the time had come for a new owner to enjoy it.

“It’s always a place of people and joy and laughter and it’s incredibly beautiful to live in,” she said.

“You see the sky wherever you go. At night time you can track the moon right across the sky and it has just been this incredible space where everyone who comes in has this amazing time.”

The home is being sold via an offers campaign.

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Six men to be accused of sex acts in Parliament House, as part of desk masturbation video investigation

A Canberra man will next week lodge formal complaints against six other men, accusing them of engaging in sex acts within Parliament House.

The Department of Finance is investigating the allegations of inappropriate workplace behaviour.

The inquiry was triggered after Channel 10 obtained vision showing a Coalition staffer masturbating on a female MP’s desk, an incident the Prime Minister Scott Morrison labelled “disgusting and sickening”.

The complainant, who has never worked in politics but admits to having had sex within Parliament House himself after meeting a man on gay dating app Grindr, claims he has extensive evidence to support his allegations, including messages, photos and videos.

Two of the men he will accuse of inappropriate behaviour are currently employed by Coalition politicians.

Two others are former government staffers – including the man who was sacked over the desk masturbation incident – while the other two are public servants.

“After talking with senior officials from the Department of Finance and [Finance Minister] Simon Birmingham’s office, I’ve agreed in principle to supply written evidence,” the man told the ABC.

“Whilst I am not sure if all the people named in texts, pictures etc are aware that they were placed in compromising positions, that will be for the inquiry to determine.”

Concerns images could amount to revenge porn

Some staff in Parliament House and a few MPs believe the man’s initial decision to share the desk masturbation video with Channel 10 amounts to revenge porn.

Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch said he hoped police investigated the man and his motivations.

“I absolutely still believe this is revenge porn,” he said.

“This man was involved in sharing explicit images of sexual acts with his friend. He had a collection. Now he’s turned on him and publicly dragged him through the mud because this friend wanted to stop sharing information because he had a new partner.

“In the frenzy to claim another scalp, I worry about how this has all been reported.”

The complainant denies his actions were revenge porn or designed to damage the federal government.

He said he only ever wanted to call out inappropriate behaviour in Parliament House and would not provide the images and videos he has to the inquiry.

“I have not, nor do I intend to, hand over the evidence I have to the inquiry, as agreed at this stage,” he said.

“I will, however, transcribe [the content of images and videos] as best I can into my statement.”

The case has also triggered scrutiny of openly gay staff members in the Coalition government.

Some men have told the ABC they feel the unresolved allegations have put several people under an unfair cloud of suspicion.

They say this was exacerbated after Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin alleged orgies had been held inside Parliament House.

In the hours and days after the desk masturbation video emerged, several ministers expressed their fury. Finance Minister Simon Birmingham warned anyone found to have committed lewd acts would be sacked.

“The actions of these individuals show a staggering disrespect for the people who work in Parliament and for the ideals the Parliament is supposed to represent,” he said.

However, after some of the men alleged to have been involved in sexual acts denied the allegations and the revenge porn claim was made, the government has appeared to be much more cautious in its public comments.

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