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IBAC referral for Labor Minister

I have today written to the IBAC Commissioner, Robert Redlich, seeking an investigation into misuse of ministerial and staff resources to promote a Labor Party fundraising event.

The Australian today reported that a ministerial adviser to the Andrews Labor Government’s Multicultural Affairs Minister, Ros Spence, was involved in Labor Party fundraising as a key contact for an event for his own minister to support her re-election.

The October 16 lunch, also involving Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, was promoted in brochures as a “Victorian Labor election campaign fundraiser” for the “Kalkallo Labor election campaign”.

The State seat of Kalkallo is held by the Andrews Labor Government Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Ros Spence.

Importantly, it is reported that Ms Spence’s ministerial adviser, Varnan Ganesh, helped organise the event and the brochure lists his name and mobile number as the point of contact.

The joint IBAC/Ombudsman Operation Watts found there had been a misuse of taxpayer-funded resources for Labor Party political activities, particularly within multicultural communities.

Operation Watts uncovered the misuse of taxpayer-funded multicultural grants for communities being diverted back to the Victorian Labor Party.

The use of ministerial offices for Labor Party activities is a breach of the ministerial and ministerial staff code of conduct.

The Code states:

2.8 They must have proper regard to efficient and effective government administration including ensuring that resources, facilities and personnel provided at public expense are not subject to wasteful or extravagant use and that due economy is observed.

2.9 In particular, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are provided with various "ministerial" office facilities and equipment at public expense in order that public business may be conducted. The use of these resources should be consistent with the requirements of section 2.8.

It is also a breach of the Ministerial Fundraising Code which states:

Corporate fundraising events can no longer promote privileged access to decision-makers or Ministers.

Neither ministerial offices nor department facilities can be used for political fundraising purposes.

Once again Labor seems to honour codes more in their breach than in their application.

The only way to restore integrity and accountability to Government is to vote for the Liberals and Nationals on November 26.

Louise Staley MP

Shadow Minister for Government Scrutiny

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