Labor’s candidate for the seat of Morwell in last year’s state election has been caught up in claims the party used taxpayer-funded staff to work on its election campaign.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy named Jadon Mintern in Parliament on Thursday, when he was asking Premier Daniel Andrews about emails allegedly sent to Labor MPs.
Last week The Herald Sun reported claims that MPs were directed to divert taxpayer funds meant for electorate officers, to instead pay for campaign organisers.
It cited three un-named Labor MPs and a senior party figure as exposing the alleged rort.
Electorate office staff are funded by the Parliament to support MPs in their parliamentary and electorate duties, not to support the member’s political or party duties.
In Parliament on Thursday during question time, Mr Guy asked Mr Andrews whether he could confirm “Labor staffer Jadon Mintern sent emails to Labor MPs containing filled-in casual employment forms for Labor MPs to sign and return that were for individuals who were never to work in those MP’s offices but were to staff Labor’s Campaign Action Network”.
“I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. I cannot confirm that, no,” Mr Andrews replied.
The premier last week maintained rules had been followed.
In a statement to The Express, a government spokesperson said ‘pool staff’ arrangements had been in place in the Victorian Parliament for almost 20 years and “have been overseen by presiding officers from both sides of politics”.
“Pooling resources is an efficient way for political parties to support MPs and conduct parliamentary party business,” they said.
“All activity undertaken by the ALP’s pool staff was in keeping with parliamentary rules.”
Legislative Council president Bruce Atkinson and Legislative Assembly Speaker Telmo Languiller will look into the allegations.
Mr Guy said on Thursday he would write to the Ombudsman to investigate the allegations.
Attempts to contact Mr Mintern for comment were unsuccessful.