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Victoria's opposition leader singles out John Cain Jr over Labor redshirts scandal

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Good on Victoria's Liberal leader Michael O'Brien for taking the game right up to Labor, Daniel Andrews and John Cain Jr.

Victorians should be outraged over the scandalous decisions of their Solicitor for Public Prosecutions John Cain Jr.

Michael O'Brien needs your support and encouragement to know that he's on the right track and should keep going hard.

We must all be equal under the law, but that's not the case in Victoria.

Time and again we see Labor figures protected from prosecution - and nothing is done about it.  That must change.

When Gillard and Wilson were sprung over The AWU Scandal in 1995, John Cain Jr wrote this deceptive letter to the Commonwealth Bank, falsely telling the bank that the AWU had no interest in funds Bruce Wilson had siphoned off into one of his slush funds.


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Those funds were handed over to Bruce Wilson's person control - and he returned the money to the companies from whom he'd extorted it in an effort to cover his tracks.  John Cain Jr and Bernard Murphy helped him do it.

John Cain Jr told now Federal Court Judge Bernard Murphy at the time that the funds he'd written about in that letter were "arguably secret commissions".

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So it's no surprise that when Victoria Police sent a brief of evidence against Bruce Wilson, Ralph Blewitt and Julia Gillard to the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions John Cain Jr, he referred the brief to WA Police and no prosecutions of blatantly obvious offending in Victoria have taken place.

This is an outrage - just like the redshirts scandal.

I won't sit idly by and watch our treasured system of justice disintegrate.

How about you?

Here's The Australian's report on the redshirt scandal developments today.


Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has called on the state’s Office of Public Prosecutions to release advice they gave which has resulted in Victoria Police deciding not to lay charges against anyone involved in Labor’s $388,000 “red shirts” rorts-for-votes scandal.

The fraud squad investigation was launched in July last year after Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass found 21 Labor MPs, including six ministers, had misused taxpayer dollars to partially fund “red shirt” campaign staff during the 2014 election.

In a three-line statement released on Tuesday, 15 months after the criminal investigation was launched and almost five years after the 2014 election, police said they had received advice from the OPP and would not be laying charges.No charges will be laid against any person in relation to this investigation,” Victoria Police said. “The matter is now complete”.

Mr O’Brien said it was little wonder “many Victorians think that Labor Party membership comes with a get-out-of-jail-free card.”

“Victorians deserve to see the legal advice from the OPP,” he said.

“We understood Victoria Police had made a very, very strong brief of evidence, and we’d be all interested to know, and I think the OPP deserves the opportunity to explain why it recommended that charges not be pressed.

“The facts were established by the Ombudsman’s report. They’re there in black and white. It’s

frankly extraordinary that there are now no charges.”

Mr O’Brien said it was also not good enough for Victoria Police to release a three line statement rather than taking questions from the media over the decision.

“This is a matter of key public interest,” he said.

“Victoria Police are very happy to come out and stand with the government when the government wants to make announcements.

“I think this is a day Victoria Police needs to come out and explain exactly what’s happened here.”

Asked whether he had faith in Victoria Police leadership and Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, Mr O’Brien said: “I want to see exactly what has happened here. I’m not satisfied with this.”

Asked whether the OPP had succumbed to political pressure, Mr O’Brien said he was not “going to make that allegation”, but singled out Solicitor for Public Prosecutions John Cain Junior, who is the son and grandson of former Labor premiers.

“John Cain Jr would be aware of the sensitivities of this matter, but that’s why I think it is a requirement that John Cain Jr release all the information relating to this decision,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I think Victorians would look at this and say, ‘how on earth can it be that the Ombudsman finds that $388,000 of public money got taken by the Labor Party MPs for their own purposes, and that no charges have been laid.

“This was clearly, in my view, an attempt to obtain financial advantage by deception. There were false timesheets created in order to try to get financial advantage from the parliament.”

Asked by Mr O’Brien in Question Time why he had not compelled his MPs to co-operate with police requests for questioning, Mr Andrews said the Opposition Leader’s “sense of frustration” was well understood.

“I simply refer him to today’s statement by Victoria Police and to the fact that the OPP and Victoria Police are independent of government,” Mr Andrews said.

An OPP spokewsoman said the OPP did not wish to comment.

Victoria Police have been contacted.

Labor paid back the $388,000 ahead of the release of Ombudsman’s report last year.

The Ombudsman’s investigation alone cost taxpayers $744,000, while the government spent more than $600,000 on various legal battles to try to prevent the Ombudsman’s probe going ahead.

In February, police confirmed they would not lay charges against any of the 16 current Andrews government MPs who were involved in the scandal.

At the time, Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said the two men who had devised the “red shirts” scheme were subject to ongoing investigation.

It is understood one of those men was Brumby government treasurer John Lenders.

The Ombudsman found that “the arrangement to employ field organisers as electorate officers was an artifice to secure partial payment for the campaign out of parliamentary funds, and was wrong,” and that $388,000 of taxpayers’ money had been misused.

This prompted Victoria Police to seek independent legal advice, reopen the matter, and launch a criminal investigation, codenamed Ocotillo.

In October 2018, it was revealed that all 16 current Andrews government MPs, acting on the advice of ALP lawyers, had refused to co-operate with requests by police for interviews.