Investigation into allegations of misuse of electorate office and ministerial office staff and resources for branch stacking and other party-related activities

Operation Watts was the first ever joint investigation conducted by IBAC and the Victorian Ombudsman. The investigation was initiated following two referrals, from the Attorney-General to IBAC, and from the Legislative Council to the Ombudsman, following allegations of 'branch stacking' involving misuse of public funds by certain Moderate Labor members of Parliament.

The investigation examined a range of matters including allegations of misuse of electorate offices, ministerial office staff and resources for branch stacking and other party-related activities.

Key findings included: the hiring of unqualified people into publicly funded roles; using those roles to support factional work; nepotism; forging signatures; bullying behaviours; and attempts to interfere with government grants.

A key recommendation arising from the report is the establishment of a Parliamentary Ethics Committee and a Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner.

 

Summary