Andrews government accused of victim-blaming

Labor MP Kaushaliya Vaghela speaks out after Premier Daniel Andrews dismissed her allegations as “just fantasy”.

Andrews government accused of victim-blaming
Premier Daniel Andrews and MP Kaushaliya Vaghela
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Ostracised Labor MP Kaushaliya Vaghela is trapped in a culture war against her own party as colleagues fail to stand up in support of her accusations against Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.

Despite Labor’s ‘believe all women’ stance in the #metoo movement, Senior Labor MP Jacinta Allan fell a long way short of supporting Ms Vaghela.

It’s been acknowledged, indeed it’s been reported, that those statements have not been able to be substantiated with any evidence,” said Ms Allan.

Ms Allan went on to cite her personal experience working with the Premier as ‘supportive’ – which appears in stark contrast to Ms Vaghela’s accusations of bullying and intimidation which were accompanied by screenshots of her earlier complaints to the party.

In the case of circumstances involving Ms Vaghela, there are a number of matters that are involved here,” added Ms Allan. “There is the matter involving a claim against a now-former government staff member and that claim was appropriately investigated and dealt with. That person is no longer a member of staff.

Ms Vaghela levelled serious accusations at the Victorian Labor Party regarding a culture of bullying, intimidation and threats during a series of Tweets last week. Specifically, she noted being ‘afraid’ of the Premier and said that Daniel Andrews would ‘seek revenge’. She also accused Labor of making female MPs that complained ‘disappear’ from public life.

Indeed, the Labor Party are in the process of considering whether or not they will expel Ms Vaghela from the Party after she became the first member to vote against them in forty years.

There are issues around Ms Vaghela’s membership that will be dealt with appropriately,” added Ms Allan. “There’s other reports of matters to do with IBAC and WorkSafe, but they are independent agencies that will pursue those matters on their own times. There is a number of interesting matters here and I would point to the fact that when there was a claim that was made and appropriately investigated – that person is no longer employed by the government.

The media frenzy started after Ms Vaghela decided to support Somyurek’s motion for a proper investigation into the ‘Red Shirts’ affair, with allegations of serious corruption going all the way up to the Premier.

On Twitter, Ms Vaghela cited her reasons for voting to investigate her own party. It was only later, after a vicious backlash, that another series of Tweets detailed how she had been the alleged victim of bullying by the party – something which Daniel Andrews denies.

I believe that political parties should make the laws and not break them,” said Ms Vaghela.

Ms Vaghela accused the Premier of being – amongst other things – a misogynist, and that she was scared of him.

Somyurek Tweeted his support of Ms Vaghela, “I commend Kaushaliya on her courage in telling her story. Unfortunately she is not the only one.”

The Labor Party appears to be closing in on Ms Vaghela, with the threat of imminent expulsion from the Party likely as the matter works its way through the internal disputes tribunal.

Unsurprisingly, Ms Vaghela pointed out that expelling a female member after they complained about bullying is a poor look for Labor.

I supported the motion [to investigate the ‘Red Shirts’ scandal] because I believe the issues raised in the motion exposed the Labor Party to major future risk of corruption. I, therefore, believe I was the only Labor Party member acting in the Labor Party’s interest. I note that there was no binding caucus decision on the motion.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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