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Premier sacks Labor MP after more staff allegations

Victorian member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman has resigned from Labor's parliamentary party.

Victorian member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman has resigned from Labor's parliamentary party. Photo: AAP

A Victorian government MP has been forced out of Labor’s parliamentary party after another staff member came forward with allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Premier Jacinta Allan dumped South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman as the parliamentary secretary for schools on Friday over allegations of persistent and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace towards staff.

After defending her decision to keep him in the Labor party room, Ms Allan said she received further allegations on Monday afternoon of persistent and inappropriate behaviour by Cheeseman towards another member of staff.

“After enquiries by my office, and in consultation with my colleagues, tonight I asked the member for South Barwon to resign as a member of the parliamentary Labor Party — and he has done so,” she said in a statement on Monday night.

“Following these new allegations it is now clear to me that there is no place for the member for South Barwon in my government.

“The wellbeing of staff and their right to a respectful workplace is not negotiable.”

Cheeseman did not say whether he denied allegations but said it was an “incredibly distressing time” for him and his family.

“A short while ago, I received a call requesting my registration from the parliamentary Labor Party,” he wrote on Facebook.

“I have provided that registration. I will continue to serve the people of South Barwon as their MP.”

Cheeseman’s dismissal from the Labor caucus will lead to him sitting on the crossbench in the lower house with Ringwood MP Will Fowles, who was also forced to resign from Labor’s parliamentary party in August over the alleged assault of a ministerial staffer.

Fowles maintains his innocence.

Former premier Daniel Andrews referred the allegation to police, with the investigation concluding in January and no charges laid.

Cheeseman was the member for the federal electorate of Corangamite from 2007 to 2013 and moved into state politics in 2018 after his election to the Geelong-based seat of South Barwon.

He previously served as the parliamentary secretary for community sport and the doomed 2026 Commonwealth Games before being handed the education role in October.

-AAP

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