MPs cleared of stacking claims
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and former minister Kevin Andrews have been cleared of misusing Commonwealth funds.
The Victorian federal MPs were linked to the misuse of taxpayers’ money to recruit new Liberal party members in reports earlier this year.
It was alleged that Liberal powerbroker Marcus Bastiaan used taxpayer-funded electorate officers to recruit members and boost factional numbers.
The work was allegedly undertaken in Mr Andrews' office. It was not alleged that Mr Sukkar was actively involved in the branch stacking, but the reports did suggest that he benefited from it.
Inquiries were separately launched into the actions of Mr Andrews, who is now a backbencher, and Mr Sukkar.
The review of Mr Andrews’ involvement looked at his “engagement and management” of his electorate officers and any activities his staff were directed to undertake.
Mr Sukkar's review focused on similar staff activities but also “non-travel-related work expenses”.
Separate decisions were published this week, in which the Finance Department cleared both of any wrongdoing.
“Further investigation of the matters within the scope of the review is not warranted as there is not a sufficient basis to form a view that there was serious misuses of Commonwealth resources,” both review reports said.
Allegations about Mr Sukkar misusing expenses will not be referred to the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.
“There is no evidence of serious misuses of work expenses,” his review report said.
The inquiry has been criticised for not hearing evidence from key figures in the scandal.