Victoria opposition leader Guy referred to IBAC

Investigation into former Liberal chief of staff

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and his former chief of staff have been referred to Victoria’s corruption watchdog over allegations of trying to circumvent political donation laws.

The Victorian Electoral Commission on Wednesday referred its Matthew Guy and Mitch Catlin investigation to the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission for further investigation, it revealed on Thursday.

Electoral commissioner Warwick Gately said his organisation had exhausted its attempts to fully investigate what may constitute a breach of Victoria’s funding and disclosure laws under the Electoral Act.

“We became aware of suggestions that Mr Catlin was alleged to have tried to circumvent donation disclosure laws,” he said in a statement.

“It’s my responsibility to ensure compliance with all electoral laws and ensure all participants are held to the same standard.”

Mr Catlin resigned in August after it was exposed he allegedly asked a billionaire Liberal donor to make more than $100,000 in payments to his private marketing company.

A contract for the proposed arrangement was sent to Mr Guy’s personal email address, but he has categorically denied it was signed or agreed.

Mr Guy has repeatedly said he and the Liberal Party have fully cooperated with the electoral commission and denied exploiting a legal loophole to stymie the probe.

But in its statement on Thursday, the electoral commission said: “Despite public statements to the contrary, the VEC has not received full cooperation from those connected to its investigation.

“While the VEC is not in a position to allege wrongdoing based on the allegations it has sought to investigate, the possibility of offences … have also not been able to be discounted.”

The revelation comes as the Liberals refer the issue of group ticket voting and deals done by so-called “preference whisperer” Glenn Druery to the integrity watchdog.

A covert video exposing the backroom preference dealings was leaked to the Herald Sun by the Angry Victorians Party.

In the footage, Mr Druery offers his services to get candidates elected as part of the state’s group voting ticket system.

Victoria is the only jurisdiction in Australia with the system, which allows parties to distribute upper house preferences when people vote above the line.

Party officials said they were first contacted by Mr Druery in May and feigned interest to join his system.

They collected recordings of Mr Druery explaining his method and asking for $55,000 for each candidate elected at the November 26 poll.

He boasted Labor was happy with his operation because it led to the Greens losing seats in 2018.

Mr Druery said in the video a condition of allowing the Angry Victorians Party to join “the family” was to discuss with him any potential moves to introduce electoral reform in the state.


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.