MPs who refused interviews cleared of ‘red shirt rorts’

EXONERATED: Lara MP John Eren.

By Luke Voogt

Police have exonerated two Geelong-based MPs caught up in the “red shirts rort”.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton on Thursday cleared Lara MP John Eren and Legislative Council member Gayle Tierney of any criminal wrongdoing.

“The Fraud and Extortion Squad have determined no charges will be laid against any of the electorate officers involved in this manner,” DC Patton said.

“No charges will be laid against any of those 16 members of parliament who were examined in this matter as well.”

The matter relates to Labor’s misuse of $388,000 of public funds during the 2014 state election.

Ombudsman Deborah Glass released a damning report that found Labor had wrongly used the public funds to campaign for votes.

Labor repaid the money when the ombudsman tabled her report in March 2018.

Ms Glass’s report named Mr Eren and Ms Tierney alongside a number of other MPs as beneficiaries of the scheme.

DC Patton took the “unusual” step of naming all 16 MPs police had exonerated due to “public interest“ and extensive media reporting of the scandal, he said.

He said police requested interviews with the 16 MPs, all of which declined, and that investigators had insufficient proof to charge any of them.

Police were still investigating two people “who allegedly orchestrated or designed these arrangements”, DC Patton said.

“They are not current members of parliament and they were not field organisers,” he said.

“It’s our intention that we will be criminally interviewing those individuals. “

A government spokesman said it would be inappropriate for Mr Eren or Ms Tierney to comment further after the Indy sought comment from them.

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