Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said he will take 'full responsibility for the 'disgraceful' behaviour unearthed by a brutal report released by the state's anti-corruption watchdog.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and Victorian Ombudsman (VO) released its investigation into branch stacking allegations within the party but have stopped short of recommending criminal charges, noting 'although we consider the conduct to be egregious, the difficulties in proof are such that we cannot recommend prosecution'.
"As leader of the party and leader of our state I take full responsibility for that conduct. That is what the top job is about and I apologise for it," Andrews said.
The report uncovered 'egregious' and 'extensive misconduct' by Victorian Labor MPs, including rampant nepotism as well as widespread misuse of public resources.
It also detailed a culture of branch stacking dating back decades, lending weight to previous allegations levelled at the Labor government.
According to the report, Andrews agreed that branch stacking was 'not limited to one faction' and occurred 'across the board' but he 'denied any personal knowledge of or involvement in such practices'.
The 233-page report makes 21 recommendations, including legislating a parliamentary ethics committee, tightening the definition of permissible work for electorate officers and banning MPs from employing close family members in their electorate office.
Andrews said his Labor government would accept all 21 recommendations and would 'go well beyond' them in terms of reform.
"The report tabled today shows is absolutely disgraceful behaviour," he told reporters at the press conference," he said.
"Behaviour that does not meet my expectations or the expectations of hard-working members of the Victorian committee."
The report made a key recommendation to establish a parliamentary ethics committee and a parliamentary integrity commissioner as part of sweeping reform changes.
The investigation was the first ever conducted jointly by IBAC and the VO.