Former deputy speaker Don Nardella and former Speaker Telmo Languiller. Photos: Joe Armao, Jason SouthPolice areinvestigating the use of taxpayers’ moneyby the Victorian Parliament’s former speaker and his deputy after they both made questionable expenses claims for their seaside residences.
Victoria Police have confirmed that matters relating to bothTelmo Languiller and Don Nardella had been assessed and had progressed to the”investigation stage” after they were referred in March.
“As the investigations are ongoing we will not be commenting further,” a police statement said.
In February,The Agerevealed that both men were claiming alucrative second residence allowance designed for country MPs,by moving their registered homes away from the western suburbs electorates they represent to Ocean Grove and Queenscliff.
Itwas revealed that Mr Nardella charged taxpayers $98,000 after claiming he had moved to Ocean Grove, which is more than 80 kilometres from his Melton electorate.
Mr Languiller, who claimed more than $37,800 in his second residence allowance for living in Queenscliff, agreed to repay the money immediately after it was revealed he had made the claims.
A report into the expenses scandal by auditors PwC was tabled in State Parliament in March.
The report confirmedMrLanguillerhad intended to move his home base to Queenscliff but, due to family circumstances, he spent little time there.
The report suggested that when Mr Nardella left his Ballarat home after the breakdown of his relationship in 2014 he should have taken the “simpler option” to live in a St Kilda property he owned or in Melton.
MrNardellachose to claim an Ocean Grove caravan as his primary residence because a St Kilda property he owned “was not spacious enough”, theaudit revealed.
The report showed MrNardellamade an arrangement with a family member to pay $200 a fortnight for the caravan so that he could maintain his second residence allowance.
The PwC report also revealed Mr Nardella failed to provide tax returns, travel records to and from his declared home base, and an address for health insurance or banking correspondence.
Former Speaker Telmo Languiller has repaid $37,800 he received under the second-residence allowance. Photo: Jason South
The only evidence Mr Nardella submittedto prove Ocean Grove was his home base was a driver’s licence, vehicle registration, electoral enrolment and receipts for capital improvements.
MrNardellainitially refused to repay the money, butagreed to repay $98,000 at the end of April, after he had been expelled from the parliamentary Labor Party.
Mr Nardella now sits on the crossbench while Mr Languiller recently returned to parliament after taking extended leave. He now sits on the backbench.
Fairfax Media has sought comment from MrLanguiller and Mr Nardella but both MPs have declined to comment.
The Premier’s office has been contacted for comment.