Police are investigating the use of taxpayers’ money by the Victorian Parliament’s former speaker and his deputy after they made questionable expenses claims for living at their seaside residences.
Victoria Police have confirmed that matters relating to Telmo Languiller and Don Nardella had been assessed and had progressed to the investigation stage after they were referred in March. “As the investigations are ongoing we will not be commenting further,” a police statement declared.
The Age revealed that both men were claiming a lucrative second residence allowance designed for country MPs, by moving their registered homes away from the western suburbs electorates they represent to Ocean Grove and Queenscliff.
Mr Nardella claimed a total of $98,000 after claiming he had moved to Ocean Grove, which is more than 80 kilometres from his Melton electorate.
Mr Languiller, who claimed more than $37,800 in his second residence allowance for living in Queenscliff, agreed to repay the money immediately after it was revealed he had made the claims.
A report on the expenses scandal by auditors PwC was tabled in state Parliament in March.
The report confirmed Mr Languiller had intended to move his home base to Queenscliff but, due to family circumstances, he spent little time there. The report suggested that when Mr Nardella left his Ballarat home after the breakdown of his relationship in 2014 he should have taken the “simpler option” to live in a St Kilda property he owned or in Melton.
The report showed Mr Nardella made an arrangement with a family member to pay $200 a fortnight for the caravan so that he could maintain his second residence allowance.
The only evidence Mr Nardella submitted to prove Ocean Grove was his home was a driver’s licence, vehicle registration, electoral enrolment and receipts for capital improvements.
Mr Nardella initially refused to repay the money, but agreed to repay $98,000 at the end of April, after he had been expelled from the parliamentary Labor Party.
Mr Nardella now sits on the crossbench while Mr Languiller recently returned to Parliament after taking extended leave. He now sits on the backbench.
A government spokeswoman said: “This is a matter for Victoria Police and it would not be appropriate to comment.” Fairfax Media sought comment from Mr Languiller and Mr Nardella but both MPs declined to comment.