Victoria’s parliamentary Speaker and Deputy Speaker have resigned their posts after they were found to have claimed a controversial allowance designed to support country MPs.
This week Speaker Telmo Languiller agreed to pay back $37,000 in second residence allowances he claimed while living on the coast south of Melbourne instead of his western suburbs electorate.
But on Saturday he said offering to repay the allowance was not enough and would resign.
“No matter what difficult personal circumstances I may have been going through, I have to recognise it as an error of judgement and I accept that I should pay the price for that error of judgement,” he said.
By Saturday evening, the Deputy Speaker Don Nardella also fell on his sword after facing similar questions about his second residence allowance.
It was found Mr Nardella claimed about $100,000 in allowances for living an hour away from his electorate in Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula since April 2014.
Mr Nardella said he had “acted in accordance with all rules regarding Member of Parliament allowances” but had decided to withdraw his position as Deputy Speaker.
The second residence allowance is designed to support country MPs who live more than 80km from the city and who maintain a second home in Melbourne.
Both Mr Nardella’s and Mr Languiller’s electorates are within 80km of the city.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the allowance will be investigated to see if changes need to be made.
“It is self-evident that the second residence allowance is meant for regional MPs who must travel to Melbourne for Parliament,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
“For that reason, I have asked the Special Minister of State to urgently determine what changes are required so what has occurred in these instances does not happen again.”
As Mr Languiller and Mr Nardella move to the backbench, the role of Speaker and Deputy Speaker will have to be filled.
Mr Andrews says the party will nominate candidates at the next regular caucus meeting.