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Former Victorian minister accused of misusing grants

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The Victorian Government continues to be plagued by chaos after three ministers left the ministry earlier this week amid allegations of branch stacking.

The Victorian Government continues to be plagued by chaos after three ministers left the ministry earlier this week amid allegations of branch stacking.

A report in The Age newspaper on Wednesday alleges former assistant treasurer and multicultural affairs minister Robin Scott approved nearly $1 million of grants to organisations linked with alleged branch stackers.

One charity – the Australia Light Foundation - whose committee is made up of ALP members and staffers received $700,00 in public grants, it claims.

Mr Scott was minister for multicultural affairs between 2014 and 2018 and resigned from the ministry on Monday.

The new claims come after an expose aired by the newspaper and 60 Minutes alleged former Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek handed over cash and used parliamentary employees to create fake branch members and amass political influence.

It was also alleged staff members of former ministers Marlene Kairouz and Mr Scott were involved.

Both have resigned from the government and were locked out of their parliamentary offices on Tuesday to ensure all evidence is preserved.

Mr Somyurek was booted as a local government and small business minister and lost his Labor Party membership on Monday.

He denies the branch-stacking allegations and wants police to investigate the recordings used in the expose.

Both Mr Scott and Ms Kairouz vowed to clear their names but said they didn't want to cause a distraction for the government or add to their families' distress.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday handed Federal Labor control of Victoria's state and federal preselections for the next three years after he said he had "no confidence" in the state's current membership roll.

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Meanwhile, details have emerged of a report into Labor branch stacking in western Sydney that alleges falsifying of branch membership books is rife.

The 37-page report was given to NSW Labor party heads in March and identified seven party officials as guilty of unworthy conduct, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz.

The investigation into branch stacking allegations in the western Sydney area dating back to 2011 also identified a NSW frontbencher who allegedly breached party rules.

It reportedly found evidence that meeting attendance records were falsified at several branches, and that there was a culture of secrecy, and little expectation that impropriety would be punished by Labor leaders.

"Unfortunately, only two branch officials interviewed have been forthcoming in identifying how records came to be falsified," the report said..

- Reported with AAP

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/adem-somyurek-former-victorian-minister-accused-of-misusing-grants-branch-stacking-scandal/b20c109c-fcc5-4256-811a-57ca8268d6f6

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