Rorts-for-votes quiz for ALP MPs

Herald Sun - - NEWS - matthew.john­ston@news.com.au @me­di­a_­matt

More wit­nesses are likely to be added in com­ing days.

Pub­lic ses­sions have been are con­firmed for at least Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day.

For­mer cam­paign staff will give ev­i­dence in pri­vate. Those cam­paign­ers led thou­sands of vol­un­teers who wore dis­tinc­tive red shirts when door­knock­ing vot­ers in an op­er­a­tion La­bor cred­ited with help­ing it win the elec­tion.

Re­port­ing on her in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was trig­gered by rev­e­la­tions in the Her­ald Sun in 2015, Ms Glass de­scribed the scheme as an “ar­ti­fice” that had been de­signed to prop up cam­paign fi­nances.

The re­port was es­pe­cially crit­i­cal of Mr Lenders, a for­mer state trea­surer who in 2014 was La­bor’s leader in the Up­per House. He quit a tax­payer­funded role days be­fore the re­port was re­leased.

Wit­nesses have been mailed let­ters in­form­ing them that the in­quiry would con­sider whether MPs who breached a code of con­duct were in con­tempt of par­lia­ment and whether fines should be im­posed. The com­mit­tee also has the power to rec­om­mend fur­ther sanc­tions for MPs, such as sus­pen­sions, which would have to be voted on by the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil.

Lower House MPs have ar­gued they should not have to face an Up­per House in­quiry.

Some of the se­nior MPs named in Ms Glass’s re­port in­clude At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Martin Pakula, En­ergy Min­is­ter Lily D’Am­bro­sio and Sports Min­is­ter John Eren.

Premier Daniel An­drews has not been listed to ap­pear.

Ms Glass’s re­port said MPs who pro­vided staff for cam­paign­ing in mar­ginal seats “al­most in­vari­ably ben­e­fited the elec­tion prospects of oth­ers” and that “21 Mem­bers of the 57th par­lia­ment breached the Mem­bers’ Guide”.

The Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee will be able to ask Ms Glass whether Mr An­drews or other se­nior MPs had re­sponded to her re­quests for in­for­ma­tion.

They will also be able to ask Mr Ash­ton why po­lice chose not to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter.

The com­mit­tee in­cludes three La­bor MPs and three Coali­tion MPs.

Vote 1 Local Jobs MP James Pur­cell is chair­man of the com­mit­tee and Greens MP Nina Springle is the deputy.

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