Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton says a probe into campaign rorts will wrap up soon.Charges may be laid over Labor’s $388,000 rorts-for-votes scandal before the election, with the state’s chief police officer saying a probe may wind up in time.
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton on Thursday said the probe into the 2014 election campaign rort was on track to finish before punters went to the ballot box on November 24.
“Depending on some legal advice, we are certainly tracking it will be done before, but it is still ongoing,” he told Melbourne radio 3AW.
“At this point I am thinking it could be.”
The force will seek legal advice about the sufficiency of evidence and discuss the probe with the Office of Public Prosecutions, before deciding whether to lay charges, he said.
The fraud and extortion squad is investigating the 2014 election campaign rort and has not been given any instructions on timing for the probe, Mr Ashton said.
He also added the investigation was not driven by the date of the election.
“We want it done as quickly as we can so the community can have some outcome, and the complainant. It is not being driven by the election timing,” Mr Ashton said.
The scandal took place when Labor used taxpayer money in the form of parliamentary allowances to partially pay party campaign staff, known as red shirts, ahead of the 2014 election.
Ombudsman Deborah Glass said in March while the scheme was an “artifice”, Labor MPs did not set out to deliberately deceive, and the party has repaid $387,842 to parliament.
The comments came as Labor on Thursday unveiled plans to enable kindergarten children to have access to lessons in a range of 15 languages, if elected on November 24.
The n-first bilingual initiative is estimated to reach 5000 youngsters – with 29 kindergartens to offer Aboriginal languages, and 27 to offer Auslan – and is dependent on Labor retaining government.