“For this government to be out there peddling garbage like they’re peddling at the moment that there’s some sort of equivalence – well, it’s just a bit rich.”
Staley declined to answer details and release the full email chain in which Guy’s private Hotmail account was included in a discussion about “the agreement”. Staley said the opposition would let police and integrity agencies do their work and cooperate fully.
Victoria Police confirmed the referral would be assessed. IBAC and the ombudsman declined to comment.
Munz, whose family was estimated to be worth $1.24 billion in 2019, made his fortune as the founder of plumbing supplies company Reliance Worldwide Corporation. The horse racing figure funded a High Court bid that unsuccessfully sought to provide the Victorian government’s COVID-19-related restrictions on movement were unconstitutional. Companies have controlled have made large donations to the Liberal Party, including a $100,000 donation in 2017-18.
In a statement, Munz said: “I do not know how many people received this unsolicited and unwanted email, but when I got it, I rejected it out of hand.”
Integrity is a central election issue ahead of the November state poll, with the opposition attempting to cast the Andrews government as unethical after the IBAC and ombudsman found Labor had a rotten culture.
Coalition MPs expressed nervousness about the potential political damage that could be caused by the episode. In particular, they were worried that Guy was susceptible to attacks on political integrity because of the “lobster with a mobster” dinner, where he dined with an alleged mafia boss, and scandals as a planning minister in the Baillieu-Napthine government.
Victorian Government Services Minister Danny Pearson said Guy’s position had been severely compromised but said it was up to police and integrity agencies to consider whether he acted improperly.
“Last time around, he ran a strong campaign on law and order, yet was found to be having dinner with alleged members of the mafia. This time around, he’s running a strong campaign on integrity, and he’s been shown to have none,” Pearson said.
In his referral letter to the agencies, Pearson said the “attempted entering into of an agreement involving the disbursement of funds in a political context for ‘supporting business interests’ naturally invites consideration” of a finding of potentially corrupt conduct.
Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan told reporters: “Matthew Guy really needs to come clean as quickly as possible with the Victorian community about his role in this extraordinary secret arrangement that would have sought to subvert the strict donation laws in our state.”
“Quite frankly, I think the sooner he answers these questions the better,” she said.
“It’s a demonstration that he has completely committed himself now and for any future role,” Allan said.
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