Ombudsman to consider referral to reinvestigate Labor’s ‘red shirts’ election rort

The Victorian Ombudsman will consider an official referral from the Legislative Council to reinvestigate the Labor Party’s “red shirts” election rort, including the role of Premier Daniel Andrews in relation to the scheme.

The referral comes after the Legislative Council passed a motion last week, moved by former Labor MP Adem Somyurek, calling for the scheme to be reinvestigated.

The red shirts saga involved the Labor Party’s misuse of almost $400,000 in public funds during the 2014 election campaign, which was previously probed by the Ombudsman and Victoria Police.

Ombudsman Deborah Glass will consider a referral to reinvestigate ‘red shirts’ election rort. (Nine)

Ombudsman Deborah Glass said she would consult with the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) on some of the matters in the referral.

“I will consider the extent to which the matters subject of the referral have already been investigated or are currently being investigated,” Ms Glass said.

“The public needs to have confidence that public resources are not being misused for political ends, and, as always, any investigation I lead will be independent and based on evidence.

“I have a discretion to investigate as I see fit, and I will refer matters and share information as appropriate and in accordance with the Ombudsman Act.”

The motion passed due to the support of the Opposition, nine crossbench MPs and Labor MP Kaushaliya Vaghela.

The Labor Party is pushing for MP Kaushaliya Vaghela to resign. (Supplied)

Ms Vaghela’s vote was needed for the motion to pass and triggered uproar from Labor when she sensationally crossed the floor to vote with the opposition and crossbenchers.

“I note that the Labor Party is moving to have me expelled for supporting a motion that aims at weeding out corruption in all sections of the Labor Party,” Ms Vaghela said in a statement.

“The motion also seeks to have the corrupt red shirts scandal investigated with the coercive powers of IBAC since the Labor Party did not cooperate with the Ombudsman during the previous investigation.”

Ms Glass will later report to Parliament on the latest referral.

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