Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Mr GEPP (Northern Victoria) (16:10:19) — From the outset, can I inform the house that I will not be supporting the motion before the house. I have taken that position for a number of reasons, considered reasons. First and foremost, this matter has been the subject of an investigation by the Ombudsman, and two statements that ring particularly loudly from the Ombudsman’s report for me, that I find particularly compelling, are that:
I do not suggest that any participating member of Parliament set out to deceive, or that no work was performed for any of them that could legitimately be claimed to be electorate officer work.
That is directly from the Ombudsman. And:
There is undoubtedly a blurred line between permissible and impermissible uses of parliamentary funds, and what is or is not political or party activity prohibited by the Members Guide …
There we have the Ombudsman in her own words.
Secondly, the matter is the subject of a Privileges Committee process, which is currently ongoing, and that should be allowed to run its course. It should be allowed to run its course, as should the investigation being conducted by Victoria Police. For those opposite to suggest that we pre‑empt those investigations would be completely wrong.
Thirdly, and as Dr Carling‑Jenkins pointed out in her contribution earlier today, we heard diddly squat from those opposite — not one thing — when one of their own, the member for Ovens Valley, late last year and earlier this year was under investigation by the police himself, and he was a shadow minister. It was not until charges were laid that he then decided to step down. Yet what did we hear from those opposite about process? We heard nothing. We heard crickets. There was nothing on offer.
I have one final point, and I will finish on this note. When you come into this place and you cop a lecture from the likes of Mr Finn and Mr Ondarchie, a little bit of sick just comes into your mouth, doesn’t it? A little bit of sick just comes into your mouth, and you think, ‘Gee, if all we can hear is a lecture from those two grubs about honour and integrity, well, gee, I reckon we’re doing okay’. I oppose this resolution.