IBAC hearings begin into misuse of taxpayer funds and grants, federal Labor MP gives evidence

Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne is the first witness to begin facing questions at a public anti-corruption commission hearings investigating the misuse of taxpayer-funded staff and community grants.

The Age last week revealed Mr Byrne, the long-standing MP for Holt and a former factional ally of disgraced Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek, was instrumental in ensuring the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission was granted access to video recordings that were covertly, and lawfully, made in his federal electorate office.

The footage raised allegations Mr Somyurek was involved in alleged branch-stacking and other improper behaviour, including directing taxpayer-funded electorate and ministerial staff to undertake party-political activity during official working hours. Mr Somyurek has denied wrongdoing.

IBAC is investigating allegations that Victorian public officers engaged in corrupt conduct by directing ministerial and electorate office staff to perform party-political activities during taxpayer-funded work hours.

Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne will be the first witness to be grilled by IBAC. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

It is also examining allegations public money intended to fund community associations was misused for party-political work or “other improper purposes”.

The hearings began on Monday morning.

Ellen Schreiber, a former electorate officer and ministerial office executive assistant, will be questioned on Tuesday. Adam Sullivan, a former electorate officer and ministerial adviser, will take the witness stand on Wednesday.

More to come.

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