In the wake of bullying claims made by an exiting MP, Victorian government ministers have defended the Labor Party’s culture and leader Daniel Andrews.
Kaushaliya Vaghela, a member of the Upper House, told the Herald Sun that she had been bullied and intimidated by those close to the Premier, and she described claims of a toxic culture and factional infighting.
On Wednesday, Ms Vaghela made history by voting against her own party in parliament to support a resolution proposed by disgraced MP Adem Somyurek.
“And when I did complain I was treated as a nuisance by the Premier’s office,” her statement said.
The decision to send Labor’s 2018 “red shirts” rorts issue to the ombudsman and anti-corruption commission came after nearly two years of turmoil for the party, which had been rocked by claims of massive branch stacking directed by Mr Somyurek and helped by MPs including Ms Vaghela.
Ms Vaghela was one of a number of MPs affiliated to Mr Somyurek who were either not preselected for the next state election or were placed on the upper house ballot in unwinnable seats.
In a message uploaded to social media, the first-term MP, who will either cross the floor to the crossbench or be booted from the party, said she has “suffered in silence for years.”
“It is worrying for me that she said that, and it goes to her state of mind, and I hope, and I can assure her should she need assistance from the government, in any way, to help with her state of mind, we will support her in the way through this.”
Since crossing the floor on Wednesday, Ms Vaghela has not replied to several attempts to speak with the ABC, and she stated in her statement that she would not be speaking to the media any longer.
The assertions, according to a government spokeswoman, “had no basis in fact.”
“A staff member was the subject of a complaint, and proper action was taken. It is wrong to suggest otherwise “In a statement, they said.