With the federal election only six weeks away, Victoria’s Labor government looks to have been caught out with some partisan and pricey anti-government advertising.
The $1 million attack campaign against federal funding for hospitals and schools didn’t sit well in Canberra.
State Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said secretaries of the Premier and Cabinet, Treasury, Health and Education departments would face the Independent and Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday afternoon. He told reporters:
‘They’ve authorised election or campaign materials which are designed or intended to influence sentiment against the current government of the commonwealth. This is a prohibition under the public administration act and it’s something which invokes IBAC’s jurisdiction’.
‘Victorians deserve an apolitical and independent public service, they don’t deserve a campaign arm of the Labor Party’, he added.
Whether the campaign is an appropriate use of tax payer’s money will be left up to the review of the auditor-general.
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Anti-government or standing up for Victoria?
On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews launched the attack ads over hospital funding, telling reporters the state has earned its ‘fair share’ from whoever ends up winning the upcoming election.
Mr Andrews was not named in the referral.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said on Monday that the government campaign was standing up for Victoria, telling reporters:
‘I’ll let other agencies deal with these matters as they see fit, but I do think it’s very curious Michael O’Brien finds it such a threatening thing that the Victorian government would stand up for more funding for Victoria’.
On Monday, Mr Morrison said Victorians would be dissatisfied with the $1 million public money put into on the TV, radio, print and online campaign.
‘I have no doubt the state government here will do Bill Shorten’s bidding and they’ll make all those noises, but you know, on the other side of an election should we be successful, I have no doubt we’ll get on together to deliver the projects Victoria needs,’ he told 3AW.
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