News State Victoria News Matthew Guy threatens to release embarrassing Labor documents for dossier revenge

Matthew Guy threatens to release embarrassing Labor documents for dossier revenge

matthew guy ventnor
Matthew Guy said Labor's breach of convention set a precedent that would come back to bite it. Photo: AAP
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Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy will have his revenge on Labor and publish secret documents if he is elected in November.

The Andrews government this week tabled 80,000 pages on Mr Guy’s time as planning minister in the previous government, embarrassing the Liberal leader as the tit-for-tat election campaign intensifies.

The documents revealed he spent a total $3.5 million of taxpayer dollars to settle a botched rezoning.

Ms Guy on Tuesday warned this set a precedent for releasing documents from previous governments, which he would now continue if elected.

“We’ll start with the East West Link, we’ll start with the CFA dispute [Country Fire Authority]. There’ll be a whole range of documents that this has now set a precedent for,” Mr Guy told reporters.

“Daniel Andrews doesn’t believe in anything that doesn’t suit himself, so therefore every cabinet document of an outgoing Labor government will then be subject to the same level of scrutiny.”

He said it would make governing in Victoria difficult when every decision “will be thrown open the moment you leave office”.

The documents released by Labor relate to Mr Guy rezoning Ventnor farmland on Phillip Island for housing in 2011.

He reversed the decision after a public outcry, prompting legal action from the landowners. He settled out of court for $2.5 million, plus $1 million in legal costs.

Mr Guy defended the cost on Tuesday, saying it was cheaper to avoid a court case.

“It would have been a lawyers’ picnic otherwise. It would have been a hell of a lot more to go to court.”

Lawyers at the time told him the case was winnable, but notes made by counsel remarked Mr Guy was not inclined to go to court because it was not winnable politically.

This may be winnable at law, but this is a political fight and it is unwinnable,” lawyers noted him saying in July 2013.

“This cannot go to court. I shall not be in a job.”

He could not recall making the comments when asked on Tuesday.

Deputy Premier James Merlino called on him to resign and repay the $3.5 million.

james merlino ventnor
Deputy Premier James Merlino said Mr Guy should repay the taxpayer dollars. Photo: AAP

“This is not about looking stupid, this is about wilful misconduct in public office. This is a crime,” he told reporters.

Mr Guy said he would not take lectures from a government under police investigation for the ongoing ‘red-shirts’ saga. He also pointed to Labor spending more than $1 billion to tear up the East West Link contract.

Reason Party Leader Fiona Patten described the tit-for-tat fighting as a “my dick is bigger than your dick” campaign.

Ms Patten said Labor’s decision to table the Ventnor documents and breach convention was part of a “trend away from good governance”.

“I cannot believe that taxpayers really want to pay for a civil servant to read through the 32 boxes on Ventnor that were tabled in parliament this week?” she said in a statement.

“The coalition have indicated that they will spend all of Wednesday pointing out a long list of things they think the Andrews government has done wrong before moving on to a separate motion on how they recruited more police than Labor.”

It’s the second last sitting week before parliament breaks before the election.

-with AAP