Labor leader Peter Malinauskas has serious questions to answer about precisely what he knew about complaints made by several staffers, including junior trainees, in the electorate offices of some of his Labor MPs – and what action he’s going to take now the revelations have been made public.
Documents released under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws to the ABC have revealed a series of staff ‘grievances and or dispute avoidances’ in the electorate offices of five Labor MPs – Jayne Stinson, Katrine Hildyard, Nat Cook, Tung Ngo and Tony Piccolo – over the past three years.
According to the documents, Member for Light Mr Piccolo had four formal grievances lodged by electorate office staff with the Department of Treasury and Finance since 2019 (two trainees, an office manager and a casual assistant).
Other complaints raised by staffers in Labor electorate offices include:
- Member for Hurtle Vale Nat Cook (a trainee) 2019
- Member for Reynell Katrine Hildyard (an assistant) 2018
- Member for Badcoe Jayne Stinson (a trainee) 2021
- MLC Tung Ngo (office manager) 2018
Treasurer Rob Lucas said the revelations were ‘very concerning’ and followed documents released under FoI to The Advertiser which relate to a trainee staffer’s concerns about her treatment within the office of the Member for Badcoe, Ms Stinson – around the time Ms Stinson resigned from the Opposition frontbench.
“There are now, clearly, very serious questions to answer about what appears to be a toxic culture within the Labor Party,” said Mr Lucas.
“Labor leader Mr Malinauskas made a point of declaring he wouldn’t be the leader that looks away or sweeps things under the carpet. He admitted publicly back in March that he spoke to Ms Stinson about the fact one of her staff had asked to be transferred, and that person is now in the office of Mr Koutsantonis.
“I am advised that the employee did raise some concerns about her treatment in Ms Stinson’s office, that appropriate support was provided to her but it was only when a satisfactory resolution could not be achieved that she was assigned to Mr Koutsantonis’ office.
“I am also advised that over the last three years, a number of issues have been raised by staff in Ms Stinson’s office to the Electorate Services section of Treasury. These staff have subsequently left, which has resulted in some turnover in her office.”
“But it begs the question – if Mr Malinauskas knew about issues in Ms Stinson’s office, did he know about the litany of concerns in the offices of these other Labor MPs? And if not, why not?
“And now that these significant number of concerns have been made public, and he’s sought to take the high moral ground in relation to behavioural standards – what is he going to do about it?”