Kaushaliya Vaghela wants an apology from Daniel Andrews

By Our Reporter
Kaushaliya Vaghela. Pic source: https://www.facebook.com/KaushaliyaVaghelaMP

Kaushaliya Vaghela, the first Indian-born member of the Victorian Parliament, who has been a Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Council since 2018, is dominating headlines for a while now.

On February 9, when Vaghela, in a sensational move, crossed party lines to pass a motion that will probe the red shirts scandal within the party, news about her resigning from Labor emerged in the media.

The motion was moved by former Labor MP Adem Somyurek, asking the Ombudsman to investigate the role of Premier Daniel Andrews in the scandal. Somyurek alleges the red shirts scandal was designed by Andrews ahead of the 2014 election.

Post the motion, Vaghela put up a statement on Twitter, saying that being a former staff member of the Socialist Left faction, she knew “all about their branch stacking activities and their electoral officers being used for factional purposes. If branch stacking and factional operatives and working in electoral offices is corrupt, then the Socialist Left and all the other factions must be investigated.”

She further added, “The Upper House motion gives the Ombudsman and ultimately IBAC the power to expand their terms of reference to include all factions in the Labor Party. I am a migrant in this country and thought that everyone was equal when it comes to the law, apparently some people are more equal than others.”

In a further statement on February 14, Vaghela noted that the Labor Party is “moving to have me expelled for supporting a motion that aims at weeding corruption in all sections of the Labor Party….It should also be noted that I have gone public with a systematic bullying complaint.”

In response, Andrews told the media that “a complaint was made, the complaint was dealt with appropriately, the member has then decided to run a commentary about other matters”. The matter is now with WorkSafe.

Now, Vaghela is demanding an apology from Andrews for having suffered in silence for a few years and having been treated shabbily for making the bullying complaint in 2019.

In an exclusive interview to ABC’s 7.30 program airing Thursday, Vaghela said, “I want the Premier to acknowledge what they have done to me and apologise to me.”

She also told the program she is speaking up because she does not women to be ‘silenced’.

“We need to send the message — speak up, you will be believed, there’ll be a fair process and you won’t be called names, you won’t be called crazy. That is what I want from this,” Vaghela told the ABC.

Vaghela, who was dropped from preselection for the state’s upcoming November election, denies raising these issues as a result of this. She said she made the complaints in April 2019 but was not taken seriously.

On its part, a Victorian government spokesperson told ABC’s 7.30 program, “In 2019, Ms Vaghela raised concerns about members of the Victorian community – the Premier’s office provided the appropriate support to the member at this time.  In 2021, Ms Vaghela lodged a formal complaint about the conduct of a staff member — that matter was dealt with appropriately and the staff member was dismissed.

“All members of staff are expected to abide by the Ministerial Code of Conduct.”

(The interview airs on 7.30 tonight on ABC TV and ABC iview)

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