EMBATTLED South-Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Adem Somyurek has missed the first two Parliamentary sitting days since being stood down as a cabinet minister on Saturday.
Legislative Council president Bruce Atkinson told the house on Tuesday he had not spoken to the absent MP but had “read in the media” that the South-Eastern Metropolitan MP was ill.
He said it would be a “contempt of the House” if Mr Somyurek was absent just to avoid scrutiny.
The State Opposition revoked granting a “pair” for Mr Somyurek’s absence – which involves one Opposition member abstaining from voting – because he hadn’t provided a medical certificate.
Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings told Parliament on Tuesday Mr Somyurek – who was Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minister – retained his ministerial salary.
There was an “expectation” Mr Somyurek wouldn’t use his Melbourne CBD ministerial office or ministerial car, Mr Jennings said.
Mr Somyurek was absent from Tuesday and Wednesday’s sittings after being stood down on Saturday pending an “independent” investigation into alleged “intimidating, aggressive and threatening” workplace conduct.
In a statement, he labelled the formal complaint lodged by his chief-of-staff Dimity Paul as “completely baseless and untrue”.
The investigation will be conducted by Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Chris Eccles.
In Parliament on Tuesday, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy asked if the issue was so serious, why it wasn’t referred to Victoria Police.
Mr Andrews, who has temporarily assumed Mr Somyurek’s portfolios, said that it would be decided at the end of the review by Mr Eccles or Ms Paul if the matter would be referred to police.
“In the exercise of that duty of care it is my view, and I am sure it is the view of all members of this place, that every single Victorian worker should feel safe in their workplace.
“I do hope that that can be dealt with quickly, in weeks rather than months.”
Opposition spokeswoman on scrutiny of government Inga Peulich said Mr Andrews had to answer the “hypocrisy” of hiring a withdrawn state election candidate accused of bullying.
The former candidate Helen Constas is employed at Mr Andrews and Mr Jennings’s joint electorate office in Mulgrave.
In a statement, Mr Somyurek said he welcomed the review and “the opportunity to clear my name”.
In 2009, he received a suspended jail term for driving while disqualified.
He did not respond to the Journal News’s calls on Wednesday.
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