Vic Labor 'deflecting' from ethical sins

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Victorian political parties have accused the state Labor government of trying to deflect from its own branch-stacking scandal by proposing reforms for everyone.

Within hours of a joint watchdog report exposing "unethical and inappropriate behaviour" inside Victorian Labor, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed his government would accept all 21 of its recommendations.

Chief among the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission and Victorian Ombudsman's suggestions was to establish a parliamentary integrity commissioner and ethics committee before June 2024.

But Mr Andrews flagged he would go even further, legislating new rules for all parties across the state to qualify for public funding.

These would include memberships being paid through traceable means, mandatory photo ID checks for new members, proof of concession card eligibility, and electoral roll compliance measures.

Opposition treasury spokesman David Davis said the Victorian coalition needed to see the legislation to make sure it is practical and not a political diversion.

"This is Daniel Andrews at his slippery best, deflecting responsibility, trying to put others in the frame," he told AAP on Thursday.

"We don't begin from a position of opposing any sensible suggestions but we think it might well be trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist in other parties but does exist in Labor."

The Greens agree, suggesting the premier was attempting to draw attention away from his party's failings.

"These reforms may be necessary to clean up the industrial-scale branch stacking inside the Labor Party but may not be necessary for parties that already manage their internal affairs appropriately," acting Victorian Greens leader Tim Read said.

Reason Party leader Fiona Patten said branch stacking was not an issue for her party but she was open to the extra reforms if they delivered greater transparency and did not burden minor parties.

"This is for Labor to clean up its own act," she told AAP.

On Thursday, Education Minister Natalie Hutchins denied the wide-ranging reforms would punish other parties for Labor's sins.

"I'd say there's a whole raft of behaviours that have occurred in other political parties, particularly in the Liberal Party, where they will benefit from these changes as well," she told reporters.

Branch stacking is the recruiting of, and usually paying for, new members to a political party to boost a faction's influence and ensure its preferred candidates are preselected. It is not illegal but is against Labor Party rules.

Ms Hutchins revealed she saw the practice within Victorian Labor when she was first elected in 2010 and reported it to the party, leading to it taking "some action".

But she said branch stacking has "very much dissipated now".

Wednesday's scathing Operation Watts report noted branch stacking was not limited to one Victorian Labor faction but evidence of it only concerned the party's moderate faction, previously led by former minister Adem Somyurek.

He and factional ally Marlene Kairouz were found to have breached elements of the ministerial and MP codes of conduct, although neither will face criminal prosecution.

Despite the ombudsman declaring the investigation closed, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy wants it referred to Victoria Police.

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