A FORMER staffer has accused Murray Valley MP Tim McCurdy of harassment and bullying.
Lawyers for Jillian McGillivray expect the civil matter to be listed before the Wangaratta Magistrates Court next month.
It has been claimed that Mrs McGillivray suffered mental injury as a result of the alleged incidents last year.
The action — should it proceed — could provide some unwelcome publicity for the government, coming in the middle of campaigning for the November 29 election.
A statement of claim provided to The Border Mail said Mrs McGillivray’s injuries occurred while she worked for the Nationals MP.
But Mr McCurdy is not the defendant in the WorkCover matter — instead, it is the Parliament of Victoria, as Mrs McGillivray’s employer was the Department of Parliamentary Services.
The claim says these injuries are “as a result of repeated, inappropriate behaviour including remarks, comments and questions, excessive workload, unreasonable work demands and as a result of specific incidents of bullying and harassment by Mr Tim McCurdy MP”.
It claims the incidents happened last year on March 12 and April 2, 4 and 18 at Mr McCurdy’s Wangaratta electorate office.
Mr McCurdy has denied any wrongdoing.
He did not respond to a request for comment, but late yesterday a spokesman for the Nationals released a statement on his behalf.
“Mr McCurdy rejects the claims made in the civil dispute between the plaintiff and Parliamentary Services,” the spokesman said.
The claim says Mrs McGillivray’s mental injury has been “manifested by psychiatric-psychological disturbance”, and that she has also suffered from recurrent major depression, insomnia, lethargy and severe anxiety.
She has not been able to work since April 18 last year, having started work in the electorate office of Mr McCurdy’s predecessor, Ken Jasper, about July 14, 2000.
Mrs McGillivray’s case is being handled by Nevin Lenne Gross barristers and solicitors, of Wangaratta.
Practice associate Ty Redmond said the hope was for the matter to be listed in the WorkCover circuit set to start at Wangaratta on November 17.
Mr Redmond said that as yet there was no indication that a pre-hearing settlement could be reached.
“It’s in the early stages and we haven’t had any preliminary discussions as yet,” he said.
“We’re proceeding as we do in all matters as if it’s going to run to hearing.
“We’ve taken steps to prepare for that by subpoenaing Tim McCurdy and a couple of other witnesses.”