According to overwhelming accusations, Victorian senior police prevented inspectors from arresting and prosecuting 16 Labor MPs who wrongly used taxpayers’ staff to work in their 2014 campaign which cost taxpayers $388,000.
Following the 2014 Victorian campaign, an investigation was initiated by ombudsman Deborah Glass, in which she discovered that Labor MPs had wrongly used taxpayers’ staff to don red shirts and work in their campaign.
The original amount was repaid by the labor government, but the investigation and legal proceedings were estimated to cost taxpayers three times the amount used, bringing the amount to over $1 million dollars.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers authored a recent article on this case, and it is believed that documents from 2018 were leaked to the media, which revealed that the detectives working on the case were frustrated by the lack of cooperation of parliamentarians and therefore urged their superiors to approve arrests. They were then advised by senior officers that politicians “would not be arrested, photographed or searched if they were interviewed.”
The published documents are believed to indicate that inspectors had sufficient evidence to prosecute the politicians. Despite being discouraged from using traditional methods such as raids or arrests of the parliamentarians, so as not to persuade the suspects to cooperate or to open new lines in the investigation.
In early 2019 all sixteen parliamentarians involved were acquitted of any criminal conviction and therefore the fraud and extortion squad closed the investigation.
Many Victorians wonder why these MPs were exempt from these crimes. Political leaders must be held accountable for the crimes committed, as are general members of the public. In this case, however, they appear to have received a vastly different treatment.
The Victoria Police have recently stated that they will not re-open the case, as there is no new evidence. Even with further assertions by former Labor Minister Adem Somyurek, which he made during the IBAC investigation.
Mr. Somyurek told Sky News Australia in February that he was one of twenty-five current and former parliamentarians involved in the misconduct that had stolen around $400,000 dollars from taxpayers.
He said: “I reckon it was probably more than that and you’ve got to call it for what it is. We effectively stole the 2014 state election.”