News Politics Australian Politics Coalition MPs cleared of wrongdoing, misuse of public funds

Coalition MPs cleared of wrongdoing, misuse of public funds

kevin andrews michael sukkar
Victorian federal Liberal MPs Kevin Andrews, left, and Michael Sukkar have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Photo: ABC
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The Department of Finance has cleared Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and former minister Kevin Andrews of misusing Commonwealth funds.

The Victorian federal MPs asked for an investigation after a Channel Nine report alleged they had misused taxpayers’ money to try to recruit Liberal Party members.

Earlier in 2020, it was alleged that party powerbroker Marcus Bastiaan had directed taxpayer-funded electorate officers to recruit members in a bid to boost factional numbers.

It was alleged it was done while they were working in Mr Andrews’ office and while it was not alleged that Mr Sukkar was actively involved in the branch stacking, the reports alleged he benefited from it.

The review into Mr Andrews, who is now a backbencher, focused on his “engagement and management” of his electorate officers and the activities his staff were asked to undertake.

Mr Sukkar’s review also focused on staff activities but also “non-travel-related work expenses”.

In separate decisions, published on Tuesday, the Finance Department cleared both of any wrongdoing.

“Further investigation of the matters within the scope of the review is not warranted as there is not a sufficient basis to form a view that there was serious misuses of Commonwealth resources,” both review reports said.

The allegations against Mr Sukkar about misusing expenses will not be referred to the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.

“There is no evidence of serious misuses of work expenses,” his review report said.

At the time, both MPs rejected the allegations.

Both Mr Andrews and Mr Sukkar have been contacted for comment.