Liberal Leader Matthew Guy must resign and pay back millions of dollars, following revelations he used $3.5 million of taxpayers’ money to avoid having to face a judge and explain his role in the Ventnor scandal, admitting that he would lose his job if he did.
In what is potentially criminal conduct, Matthew Guy personally instructed Government lawyers to settle the notorious Ventnor case before it went to court so he could avoid ever having to take the stand.
The explosive revelations shine a light on Matthew Guy’s behaviour as Planning Minister in the former Liberal Government and his actions in the Ventnor case, where he rezoned land then reversed his decision after a public outcry.
In documents tabled in Parliament, Matthew Guy told his lawyers: “This can’t go to court. I shall not be in the job if it goes to court.” Matthew Guy, 19 July 2013
That is despite expert legal advice making it clear that the Government would have won the case if it had gone to court: “This may be winnable at law, but this is a political fight and it is unwinnable.” Matthew Guy, 19 July 2013
To avoid taking the stand and revealing his dodgy deal, Matthew Guy personally authorised a settlement of $3.5 million, massively above what Government lawyers thought was appropriate or justifiable.
The tabled documents also reveal that then Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Attorney-General Robert Clark were in on this outrageous abuse of taxpayer money.
Matthew Guy needs to stop the cover up and explain why he spent $3.5 million of taxpayers’ money as ransom to keep him out of the witness box – what was he trying to hide?
And what did Michael O’Brien, Robert Clark, and John Pesutto, who was the Premier’s General Counsel, know about it? Did they conspire with Matthew Guy to defraud taxpayers?
The massive settlement was so outrageous that the Government’s own insurer, the VMIA, capped its payment at $250,000, telling the Government’s lawyers: “Anything over a certain level is ex gratia and wouldn’t be recommended. $250,000 plus costs is where we are at.” VMIA conference with Government lawyers, 7 August 2013
Quotes attributable to the Deputy Premier James Merlino
“Matthew Guy has used taxpayers’ money as a ransom to avoid going under oath and revealing exactly what happened around the Ventnor kitchen table.”
“Matthew Guy’s behaviour is potentially criminal – he should resign and pay back this money immediately.”
“It’s time Matthew Guy kept to the standard he demands of others.”
“Liberal frontbenchers Michael O’Brien, Robert Clark, and John Pesutto must also come clean on what they knew about this fraudulent use of taxpayers’ money.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020