Ex-deputy speaker faces $100k bill for rorting expenses
DISGRACED Victorian MP Don Nardella will be forced to repay almost $100,000 he claimed for living in a camping ground cabin 100km from Melbourne.
The former deputy speaker has been given an ultimatum to repay the money before sweeping changes to the entitlements system are introduced to parliament, or be forced to do so.
It follows intense pressure on Premier Daniel Andrews to recoup the money.
Parliament will get powers to force rorting MPs to repay money and an independent tribunal will set politicians' pay and entitlements.
The second residence entitlement, used by Mr Nardella to pocket $174,836 for living in Ballarat and Ocean Grove rather than his electorate, will be available in electorates more than 80km from Melbourne.
His Melton electorate is about 50km from Melbourne.
Mr Andrews said the parliament would use the laws to force the Melton MP to repay the money, or pass a motion under the existing laws.
"Be in no doubt, if he has not done the right thing by the time these bills are in the parliament, just in a few weeks time, then the parliament will take the matter out of his hands,” Mr Andrews said.
The overhaul of entitlements comes after former speaker Telmo Languiller and Mr Nardella were forced to resign for claiming the allowances despite representing Melbourne electorates.
This included Mr Nardella pocketing $98,254 that he has refused to repay for claiming to live in an Ocean Grove caravan park - despite it having a no-residents policy.
But Mr Languiller said he would pay back his $40,000.
As part of the changes, new laws will be introduced immediately to give parliament the power to recover money when an MP has rorted the system, and they will be fined a penalty of 25% for refusing to co-operate.
MPs will also no longer be able to roll over to the next financial year their "electorate office and communications budget” that includes a $10,000 allocation for interstate and overseas travel for official business; spouse travel will no longer be funded and allowances will be put online quarterly for transparency.