The Victoria state Ombudsman today published a damning report on the Labor party’s use of taxpayer funds to support its 2014 state election campaign, finding almost $400,000 in taxpayer dollars were wrongly appropriated for political ends by MPs in the Andrews government.
The Ombudsman’s investigation, commissioned by the parliament and which Labor tried to stop through a series of legal challenges including a High Court action, found that 21 MPs authorised payments to campaign “field organisers”, out of from parliamentary funds which should have been reserved for their electoral offices.
The Labor party has repaid the money.
Deborah Glass, the Victorian Ombudsman, said her investigation had established:
a picture of a well-organised campaign by the ALP to recruit and deploy full-time field organisers in the run-up to the 2014 Victorian state election, of which 21 were employed part-time as electorate officers and paid some $388,000 out of parliamentary funds. A few did, indeed, do electorate officer work and many claimed it was impossible to distinguish between the roles.
But while some electorate officer work was done for some Members of Parliament, the arrangement to employ field organisers as electorate officers was an artifice to secure partial payment for the campaign out of parliamentary funds, and was wrong.
Former state treasurer John Lenders, who has now retired, was the “principal architect” of the scheme, the report found.
This chart shows the MPs involved and the funds their offices misappropriated.
There are more details at The Age >>