/Victorian Opposition refers state bureaucrats to IBAC over advertising campaign

Victorian Opposition refers state bureaucrats to IBAC over advertising campaign

Posted

April 15, 2019 15:44:15

Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has referred four of the state’s most senior public servants to the anti-corruption watchdog for authorising a $1 million advertising campaign attacking the Morrison Government.

Key points:

  • The ads, launched on the weekend, are taxpayer-funded and not branded as Labor Party material
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he expects the Andrews Government to do federal Labor’s bidding
  • Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy says the ads are simply “standing up” for the state

Premier Daniel Andrews on the weekend released a series of broadcast and print ads demanding Victoria get more Commonwealth funding for schools and hospitals.

The ads are funded by the taxpayer and are not branded as Labor Party material.

The Andrews Government is under fire for the ads, accused of using taxpayer dollars to campaign against Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Mr Morrison, who is campaigning in Melbourne today, said Victorians would be “very disappointed” in the State Government for the ad campaign.

“I have no doubt the State Government here will do Bill Shorten’s bidding,” he said.

State Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien today referred four department secretaries to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission for authorising the ads.

The four departmental secretaries referred to IBAC are:

  • Kym Peake, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Jenny Atta, Department of Education
  • David Martine, Department of Treasury & Finance
  • Chris Eccles, Department of Premier & Cabinet

Mr O’Brien said the four secretaries, on behalf of the Andrews Government, were responsible for authorising the expenditure of Victorian taxpayers’ money on an advertising campaign designed or intended to influence public sentiment against the current Federal Government.

He said under the Public Administration Act, a public sector body must ensure that public sector communication is not designed or intended to directly or indirectly influence public sentiment for or against the current government of the Commonwealth.

“Daniel Andrews is acting as Bill Shorten’s campaign manager; he’s not working as Premier for Victoria,” he said.

“Victorians deserve an apolitical and independent public service, they don’t deserve a campaigning arm of the Labor party, yet that is what Daniel Andrews has turned the Victorian public service into.”

Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy defended the campaign, saying the advertisements were simply “standing up” for the state.

“I’ll let other agencies deal with these matters as they see fit,” Ms Hennessy said.

“But I do think it’s very curious that Michael O’Brien finds it such a threatening thing that the Victorian Government would stand-up for more funding for Victoria, particularly when it comes to health and education.”

Topics:

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state-parliament,

federal-parliament,

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