Premier Daniel Andrews has walked away from another opportunity to apologise for comments dismissing the Labor MP Kaushaliya Vaghela’s allegations of a toxic bullying culture within the Labor Party as “fantasy”.
Yesterday, senior government Minister Tim Pallas offered a long overdue apology to Upper House MP Kaushaliya Vaghela after he questioned her “state of mind” in response to Ms Vaghela exposing serious allegations of bullying and intimidation of women in the Labor Party.
After her state of mind comment by the treasurer, in a statement, Kaushaliya Vaghela had said, “I have been sickened by the government’s victim-blaming attitude even going as far as questioning my state of mind and my motives by insinuating that I have recently made up these claims because I have not been preselected”.
“I have been bullied from the day I got elected.”
Kaushaliya Vaghela has publicly called for an apology not only from Treasurer Tim Pallas but also from Premier Andrews.
Apologising to Ms Vaghela, Tim Pallas said, “I’ve had the opportunity to look at the transcript of my comments.”
“I regret my choice of words, I think it was pretty poorly structured and I unreservedly apologise.”
But the Opposition is standing firm with Ms Vaghela and wants the Premier to follow suit.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Shadow Minister for Women, Emma Kealy, said it was the height of arrogance for the Premier to wax lyrical on mental health while failing to set a high standard within the ranks of his own Party.
“When these allegations were first reported to the Premier’s office in 2019, they were dismissed and last month when they finally became public, the Premier’s cruel response was to label them “fantasy without foundation”,” Ms Kealy said.
“I believe Kaushaliya Vaghela.
“The Premier must come out and offer a genuine apology, not be forced to as a recommendation of the WorkSafe investigation currently taking place as a result of the toxic treatment of women by his own private Office.
“Every woman has a right to feel safe at work. All women deserve to be heard, to be believed.
“The Premier must apologise and guarantee any investigation into serious allegations of bullying in Victorian Labor will go ahead without interference, intimidation or stonewalling from him or his State Labor Government.”
Kaushaliya Vaghela who was herself a staff member has openly written about the malpractices of branch-stacking in the Labor party.
“I was a former staff member for the Socialist Left faction, so I know all about their branch-stacking activities and their electorate officers being used for factional purposes,” she said in a statement.
“If branch stacking and factional operatives working in electorate officers (sic) is corrupt, then the Socialist Left and all the other factions must be investigated.”
Premier Daniel Andrews gets the backing of the Socialist Left faction in the Victorian Labor Party.