Ombudsman files application in Supreme Court

Date posted:

The Victorian Ombudsman has filed an application seeking a determination by the Supreme Court as to whether she has jurisdiction to investigate a recent referral from the Legislative Council.

A vote by the Legislative Council on 25 November 2015 referred to the Ombudsman for investigation allegations that ALP Members of the Victorian Parliament misused Members' staff budget entitlements against the provisions of the Members Guide, and any other breach in relation to these allegations.

The referral was made under Section 16 of the Ombudsman Act.

In order to obtain legal clarity, the Ombudsman has elected to seek a declaration from the Supreme Court, pursuant to section 27 of the Ombudsman Act, on whether the matter is within jurisdiction.

“I have formed the view that there is genuine controversy as to my jurisdiction to investigate the matters in the Parliamentary referral," Ms Glass said.

“In the absence of any precedent on the scope of section 16 of the Act, to pre-empt any unnecessary cost being incurred, and given my role as an independent officer of the Parliament, I believe the present application is the most appropriate way to determine the matter."

The Ombudsman has written to the Legislative Council to advise that she will remain neutral on the question, and will be putting submissions to the Court to present both views about the scope of section 16 of the Act. A copy of the submissions will be provided to the Parliament prior to the hearing.

The Ombudsman is not available for interview.

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