No wrong-doing over 2014 campaign: Andrews

The Victorian government was warned in an internal report that its use of electoral office staff in Labor’s 2014 election campaign would not “pass the pub test”.


The practice would also not pass scrutiny by the Auditor-General, the government was told in the report, which became public on Tuesday.

But Premier Daniel Andrews insists no parliamentary entitlement rules were breached.

“The rules have been followed,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s my answer; I’ve been very consistent about that.

“There is nothing in the documentation today, nothing at all, that indicates that the rules have not been followed.”

Labor used electorate office funds to pay 26 staff for two days a week of election campaigning.

The report, prepared for the Department of Parliamentary Services, was handed to the government on September 17.

It revealed Labor spent $1.4 million on casual staff in 2014 and says using electorate staff for political activity “will not pass the pub test”.

It would raise a red flag among the parliament’s internal auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, a senior bureaucrat warned in the report.

“Re-allocation of staffing resources from electorate offices to party political activity, or the cashing in of partial electorate office EFT to party activities, would not survive either an internal audit or scrutiny from the Auditor-General,” the report says.

The opposition says the practice amounts to a million-dollar rort and the taxpayer funds would be repaid once Mr Andrews admits to wrongdoing.

“This report confirms everything the premier has been saying in the parliament, everything the premier has been saying to the media, is complete and utter rubbish,” Opposition Leader Matthew Guy told reporters.

The opposition has used parliamentary question time to grill Mr Andrews over the rorts claims and also targeted Sports Minister John Eren, whose electorate office is one of those involved.

Former Labor campaign staff member-turned-whistleblower Jake Finnigan says the Victorian parliament paid his wage for two days as he campaigned full-time for a Labor election win.

Two separate investigations are being conducted into the rort claims, though upper house speaker Bruce Atkinson said on Tuesday the parliamentary inquiry could be suspended while police conclude their investigation.