REFERRING Coalition MPs, including the North East’s Tim McCurdy, to police over alleged rorting is fair, according to a Labor rival.
Jaclyn Symes defended the action of Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino, who on Monday said Labor had given police a list of 18 Coalitions MPs it says misused office staff on campaigning before the 2014 election.
The action followed police launching a fresh probe into the Labor Party, whose MPs were found by the Victorian Ombdusman to have misused $388,000 in taxpayer funds.
“Some people could describe it as tit-for-tat,” Ms Symes said.
“I think ‘what’s fair for one should be fair for all’ is probably a better description.
“The Ombudsman was not permitted to look into the other parties because the numbers in the Upper House prevented that, but if there appears to be evidence of allegations of other parties engaging in similar conduct, which may or may not be crossing the line, it’s not for me to judge (but) having everyone looked at fairly is appropriate.”
Ms Symes would not say what evidence may exist in relation to Mr McCurdy, due to the police investigation.
The Nationals MP has labelled Labor’s action as a “laughably desperate act”.
Ms Symes was an adviser to Opposition leader, now Premier Daniel Andrews, in 2014 but took leave for the election campaign as she sought an Upper House seat.
“Did I wear a red T-shirt...that said vote for our candidates...yeah sure,” she said.
“We should be proud of our red shirts, it’s our volunteer base.
“We have red shirts, the Greens have green shirts, the blues have blue shirts, Cathy McGowan has orange shirts.”
Ms Symes was commenting during a visit to the Chiltern Athenaeum where she announced a $15,000 grant to help digitise World War I records of the town’s service personnel.
The money will allow the details of 320 returned and diseased diggers to be told in electronic form.
The Athenaeum’s chairman Kevin Mayhew said tablets at the museum would allow visitors to access the stories which will also be linked to his institution’s website.
The project, which will also include interviews with long-time residents, is expected to be up by Christmas.
Ms Symes also on Wednesday inspected a $280,000 boat ramp upgrade at Bundalong.
The Majors Lane access to Lake Mulwala is being widened and lengthened to allow more boats to be more easily put into the water.
A Wangaratta Manufacturing Cluster was also flagged by Ms Symes.
The government and Australian Industry Group have united for the body that aims to help firms and will have an oversight committee involving Wodonga and Wangaratta council representatives.
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