Victoria’s opposition leader Matthew Guy has been unable to reach the media as questions linger over his alleged involvement in a donor scandal.
The Victorian Labor government has asked the state electoral commission, police and corruption watchdogs and the Australian Federal Police to investigate after Mr Guy’s chief of staff asked a donor to pay more than $100,000 to his private company.
The contract was not signed, but the staffer, Mitch Catlin, resigned on Tuesday after its existence came to light.
Under parliamentary privilege, Public Services Secretary Danny Pearson claimed Mr Guy was involved in a plan to “donate to the Liberals through mock contracts”.
“It is up to the authorities to investigate this matter and do their job,” he said.
He said Mr Guy still had questions about the proposal, but the Liberal leader instead left it to the opposition government spokeswoman Louise Staley to face the music on Wednesday morning.
Victorian Liberals are “lucky” that the scandal is being investigated and will cooperate fully, Ms Staley said.
“There are no payments, there is no bad behavior because it didn’t go through,” she told reporters.
The proposed deal, published by The Age newspaper, would have required the donor to pay Mr. Catlin’s marketing firm Catchy Media Marketing and Management more than $8,000 a month for “supporting business interests.”
The wealthy donor has been identified as Jonathan Munz, the founder of the plumbing supply company Reliance Worldwide Corporation.
Mr Catlin is said to have sent the contract drafted by lawyers to Mr Guy’s private email address “as per the original email agreement” and asked Mr Guy to forward it to Mr Munz.
He denied forwarding the email, but Mr Munz has since confirmed receipt.
“I don’t know how many people have received this unsolicited and unwanted email, but when I got it I immediately rejected it,” Mr Munz told News Corp.
AAP has contacted both Mr. Catlin and Mr. Munz’s company for comment.
Under Victorian law, political donations over $1050 must be made public and capped at $4210 over a four-year period for individuals and organizations.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has launched a preliminary investigation into allegations that political donations “may be disguised as alternative payments or funding to political entities”.
“We take the regulation of political donations very seriously,” it tweeted.
Victoria Police confirmed it received the referral from Labor on Tuesday evening and is now reviewing it. The Ombudsman declined to comment when AAP contacted him.