Today’s motion to refer Labor’s red shirt research rorts to the Victorian Ombudsman was defeated by Labor and a gaggle of Labor voting Independents – Barton, Hayes, Ratnam, Meddick, Patten, Maxwell and Grimley.
The referral to the Ombudsman under section 16 of the Ombudsman Act 1973 would have ensured an expeditious investigation into the increasingly concerning matters around the QDOS research and polling contracts issued by Daniel Andrews’ Department of Premier and Cabinet during Victoria’s catastrophic second wave.
The waving aside of normal procurement rules and the involvement of the Premier’s private office – including directing research, framing focus group questions and secretly spying on the focus groups – is a matter of great concern and should have been referred for an urgent investigation by the Ombudsman.
Labor is using taxpayers’ money to fund what should be party political research. They have crossed the line, no longer taking standard social opinion research, but instead using taxpayers’ money to track perceptions of the Premier.
Comments attributable to the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, David Davis:
“It’s a cover-up, pure and simple. What does Labor have to hide?
“Some of these so-called Independents are too close to Labor – they are IINOs – Independent in name only.
“Labor has form on the misuse of public money for partisan political advantage, as the Ombudsman found following the Legislative Council’s last referral of a matter to her for investigation.
“Labor was forced to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars rorted from the Victorian taxpayer to fund its infamous Red Shirts campaign.
“Not surprisingly, Fiona Patten voted against that referral too.”