Daniel Andrews has been grilled about damning claims that he allegedly knew about a rort of taxpayer funds.
Daniel Andrews has batted away questions about damaging allegations made against him by former minister Adem Somyurek.
Mr Somyurek, who appeared in the witness box at an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission hearing, quit Labor last year before he could be expelled following a Nine Network investigation that caught him handing over cash and using parliamentary staff to allegedly create fake branch members.
During Monday’s hearing the controversial ex-minister alleged the Premier said “do you want to win an election or not?” when concerns were first raised about the scandal in 2014, dubbed the red shirts rort.
But Mr Andrews refused to answer questions when asked about the explosive claims on Tuesday morning.
“I’m not getting into a debate or a discussion about evidence that’s been led by that witness or any other witness,” he told reporters.
“I wouldn’t be doing that if a court case was on and I won’t be doing that with IBAC and I’ve been very consistent with that.”
Former premiers John Brumby and Steve Bracks, who were both mentioned by Mr Somyurek in the hearings, responding to the claims within hours.
Reporters questioned Mr Andrews why he refused to have any response on the record, to which he said that former premiers had “greater scope to be able to talk about all sorts of things”.
“With the greatest of respect to them, they’re not the current premier,” he said.
“Being the current premier … it means you’re somewhat limited in the commentary you can provide … I will direct you to those comments but I’m not going to add to them.”
Mr Andrews said the last time he spoke with Mr Somyurek was when he left the ministry in June last year.
In 2018 Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass’ investigation into the red shirts rort found Labor had misused $388,000 of taxpayer money to pay political campaign staff ahead of the 2014 election.
Mr Andrews refused to say whether he had been called to IBAC but said he would front the witness box if asked.
“Of course, every Victorian should participate fully if they’re asked … If you want to know who’s going to appear at IBAC or who has already, then the people to talk to are IBAC,” he said.
IBAC’s Operation Watts is exploring whether public funds were used to fund political work – work that benefited the Labor Party.
Mr Somyurek will continue to provide evidence in public hearings on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.