Beale was already facing disciplinary charges over a bust-up with a team official on a flight from South Africa to Argentina for a Rugby Championship Test last week but that issue was now "a secondary matter", Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said.

"This matter relates to Kurtley Beale allegedly distributing what we consider highly inappropriate and deeply offensive text messages and images to a number of people in June, referencing an ARU staff member," Pulver said.

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"We became aware of this incident this week and believe an independent tribunal is the appropriate forum for these allegations to be considered."

The 25-year-old Beale, who has played 47 times for his country, would not be considered for selection for Australia until an impartial "Code of Conduct Tribunal" reached a conclusion, the ARU said. 

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