News State Victoria News Vic Premier grilled in secret anti-corruption hearings
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Vic Premier grilled in secret anti-corruption hearings

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was reportedly interviewed by the state's anti-corruption watchdog. Photo: AAP
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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has refused to comment on a leaked report from the state’s anti-corruption watchdog, which reportedly found cultural changes are needed within state Labor.

The Age newspaper reports the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission’s interim report, which is yet to be published, found there was a serious misuse of public resources in the Victorian ALP.

It reports that 26 witnesses, including Mr Andrews, were interviewed by IBAC in private, while seven were grilled in public hearings.

Daniel Andrews has faced secret IBAC hearings

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But when asked about the report on Thursday, Mr Andrews repeatedly said he would not comment until the final report was handed down.

“It is grossly inappropriate for me to comment on a report that has not yet been released,” he said.

“When it is, we’ll talk about these matters.”

The IBAC inquiry was set up to investigate whether taxpayer funds and money intended for community associations were used for branch stacking.

Branch stacking involves recruiting, and usually paying for, new members to a political party and is done to boost a faction’s influence and ensure its preferred candidates are preselected.

Former Victorian government minister Adem Somyurek quit the ALP in 2020 before he could be booted, following revelations he enlisted electoral and ministerial staff to run a branch-stacking operation.

The practice is not illegal but it is against Labor Party rules to pay for others’ memberships.

The interim IBAC report is said to have found “unethical practices” extended further than Mr Somyurek’s moderate Labor faction, with it being “highly likely” the misuse of publicly funded staff and employment of family members and factional allies was more widespread across the party.

The anti-corruption watchdog will give accused parties an opportunity to refute the allegations before tabling the report to parliament.

However, Mr Somyurek took to Twitter on Thursday to accuse IBAC of leaking the report.

“IBACs drop of its report before those mentioned in the report have a chance to respond is a denial of procedural fairness,” he wrote.

An IBAC spokesperson said the commission would not comment on its investigations.

-AAP