Operation Watts has today sensationally exposed Daniel Andrews’ knowledge of Labor’s infamous $388,000 red shirts rort.
Since 2015, Daniel Andrews has repeatedly denied knowledge of the scheme which fraudulently used taxpayer funded electorate staff to campaign for the Labor Party in the 2014 Victorian election.
When questioned in Parliament in 2015, Daniel Andrews stated:
ANDREWS: “Each and every member in this place should act in accordance with the rules as set down by this place. They are the obligations that we all must live up to.” “it is my expectation that every member of this house, including all members of the Parliamentary Labor Party, will follow the rules at all times.”
“The Leader of the Opposition continues to assert that people have broken the rules, and in doing that he is absolutely wrong. There are rules, and they have been followed.”
However, when secretly interviewed as part of Operation Watts, Daniel Andrews admitted his knowledge of the red shirts scheme and that it was “about engaging staff to be involved in campaigning”.
COMMISSIONER: Do you at the time feel you had an understanding of the essence of Mr Lenders’ scheme?
MR ANDREWS: I probably did. I had no concerns at that time given, you know, I wasn’t acting to stop him doing it. But this issue of whether I spoke in those terms or essentially justified or was unconcerned with serious issues of probity and integrity that Mr Somyurek raised with me, that is not my recollection of that conversation and nor is that the evidence that he provided to the privileges committee at the time. A very brief encounter and I referred him to John.
COUNSEL: Were you aware of what Mr Lenders was proposing in a general sense?
MR ANDREWS: Yes.
COUNSEL: And were you aware that it involved electorate officers doing party-political work?
MR ANDREWS: I’m not sure whether it was - well, I was aware that it was about engaging staff to be involved in campaigning.
[Source: Operation Watts Final Report, page 30]
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, David Davis, said Daniel Andrews must today come clean on his knowledge of the red shirts rort and admit he has been lying to the Victorian community for seven years.
“The watchdog has today exposed Daniel Andrews in a clear lie.”
“He always knew about Labor’s $388,000 rort and has lied, covered-up and deflected ever since.”
“Daniel Andrews might be comfortable misleading Parliament and the Victorian community, but the anti-corruption watchdogs have finally got to the truth.”
“Daniel Andrews has nowhere left to hide. He must come clean and take responsibility for this scheme.”
“The only way to restore integrity and honesty to our political system is to change the government on November 26.”
David Davis MP
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council