Tag: public hearings

Anti- graft commission to start public hearings on Oct. 11 into allegations of ALP ‘branch stacking’ aired in media reports in 2020

Photo- SAT

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 30 September 2021: The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) will hold public hearings into allegations of serious corrupt conduct involving Victorian public officers, including Members of Parliament. The hearings are part of Operation Watts, a coordinated investigation between IBAC and the Victorian Ombudsman, which is looking into a range of matters including allegations of ‘branch stacking’ aired in media reports in 2020. The hearings will start on Monday, 11 October 2021. A video stream will be broadcast via the ibac website.

The public hearings are likely to summon Labor Right leader Adam Somyurek, reports The Age. Mr. Somyurek was sacked by Premier Daniel Andrews after the 2020 media alligations. Two other Ministers, Mr. Soumyurek’s factional mates, Marlene Kairouz and Robin Scott also quit the cabinet.

According to the ibac website – “The scope and purpose of the public hearings is to investigate:

Whether public officers, including Victorian Members of Parliament, are engaging in corrupt conduct while in public office by directing ministerial and electorate office staff to perform party‐political work during times when those staff are paid from public funds to perform ministerial or electorate work.

Whether public money granted to community associations by the Victorian government has been misused to fund party‐political activities or for other improper purposes and, if so, whether the Ministers or other public officers involved in granting the funds have dishonestly performed their functions as public officers or have knowingly or recklessly breached public trust.

The circumstances surrounding any actual or potential personal benefits obtained by any public officer, their families or their associates, resulting from, or otherwise in connection with the use of ministerial and electorate office staff to perform party‐political work or grants made to community associations.

The systems and controls in place to monitor the expenditure of public funds for ministerial and electorate office staff and the making of community grants and the extent to which organisational culture and practices have fostered that conduct or hindered opportunities or attempts to detect and eliminate that conduct.

The hearings will be presided over by IBAC’s Commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich AM, QC. Counsel assisting will be Chris Carr SC of the Victorian Bar.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to report it at www.ibac.vic.gov.au/report or phone 1300 735 135.”