Code of Conduct investigation into Andrews’ bullying

The Liberal Nationals are today calling for an urgent inquiry into Daniel Andrews’ alleged bullying of senior bureaucrats, as reported today.

Premier Daniel Andrews personally signed off a threatening letter to three senior bureaucrats, ordering them if necessary, to break constitutional convention and hand over confidential documents belonging to a previous government.

The Liberal Nationals have today written to relevant authorities demanding an investigation into a possible breach of the Victorian Ministerial Code of Conduct and alleged misconduct in public office by Premier Daniel Andrews.

The employment contracts of the three key bureaucrats, including the most senior of all Victorian bureaucrats Chris Eccles, were threatened unless they agreed to release confidential documents of a previous government.

The letter signed by Andrews, allegedly sent in March 2018, states: “On behalf of the Crown, and consistently with your employment contract, I direct that you provide me with the following documents and do so irrespective of any relevant constitutional conventions”.

The most relevant section of the Code of Conduct for Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries relating to the Premier’s alleged behaviour are:

“2.2 In carrying out their duties:

  • Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must ensure that they act with integrity – that is, through the lawful and disinterested exercise of the statutory and other powers available to their office and by appropriate use of the resources available to their office for public purposes.
  • They must observe fairness in making official decisions – that is, to act honestly and reasonably……”

“2.6 They must not encourage or induce other public officials, including public servants, bid their decisions, directions or conduct in office to breach the law or to act improperly.

“2.7 Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are to regard the skills and abilities of public servants as a public resource and are expected to ensure that public servants are deployed only for appropriate public purposes.

Comments attributable to Shadow Attorney-General, Edward O’Donohue:

“Daniel Andrews will do anything to score a political point, even if it means trashing the conventions that help to underpin the integrity of our democratic institutions.

“Despite what he might think, the Premier is not above the law and he, like all Ministers, are bound by the rules set down for Ministers by the Code of Conduct.

“The Victorian community trusts their elected representatives and senior public servants to demonstrate professional, balanced, considered, and impartial conduct. The Premier has broken that trust.”

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