Ms WOOLDRIDGE (Eastern Metropolitan) — Not content with having lost three ministers and a Government Whip, the Andrews government has sunk to a new low with a fresh crisis over the past fortnight: the unprecedented loss of a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker due to systemic rorting of the political entitlements system by these Labor MPs. The former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the member for Tarneit, told Parliament in 2004:
Anyone who tries to rort the system by claiming benefits they are not entitled to will be caught out.
Well, he was caught out living outside his electorate and claiming money for the privilege of that, but he did the honourable thing and resigned as Speaker, subjected himself to an audit and offered to pay the money back.
The Deputy Speaker, the member for Melton, on the other hand was also then caught out and found to be the biggest rorter in the history of this Parliament. It was the former Deputy Speaker who said in June 1996 in the Parliament:
It is not right to rort the system and misuse public funds, regardless of who is in government. That is one of the guiding principles, whether you are in opposition or in government.
The extent of the member for Melton's rorts is extraordinary. Mr Nardella lived kilometres away from his electorate, claimed allowances in Ocean Grove, had a Mordialloc base for his Melbourne residence, and even today there are revelations that he could have lived in Ballarat and claimed allowances for a number of years. Mr Nardella and the Premier Daniel Andrews have failed to provide answers on this unacceptable situation to the Victorian community. Now Mr Nardella has resigned from the parliamentary Labor Party but no doubt remains a member of the ALP. Mr Andrews must rule out accepting the tainted vote of Mr Nardella.