Victorian National Party MP Peter Crisp has been accused of committing a litany crimes in order to cover up the fact that he lives in another state.
Crisp has admitted to Peter Rolfe at the Sunday Herald Sun that he lives on his orange grove in Dareton New South Wales.
Victorian law requires that he 1) be correctly enrolled at his “principal place of residence” and 2) that at the time of his election that he be correctly enrolled somewhere in the state of Victoria.
The law also prohibits gaining a financial advantage by deception, a fraud related offence that Crisp appears to have perpetrated on a massive scale. He has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and entitlements as an MP.
His opponent at the last election Russell Savage has always maintained that Crisp had a false enrolment issue.
Crisp had responded to concerns about his false enrolment by insisting that he would move over the border. That was in 2006. As we approach 2009, it is clear that he was lying about his intentions too.
Crisp’s cover story was that he lived in a flat in Mildura, away from his family who lived on the farm. However, top investigate journalist Peter Rolfe has uncovered that it’s actually Crisp’s farm manager who lives in the flat.
A photograph of the residence is above and it’s clearly much less salubrious than Crisp’s multi-million dollar orange grove with magnificent farmhouse just 20 kms away but on the wrong side of the border.
Of course, Crisp’s wife Mary Ann and family live on the farm. As does Crisp. He always did. His deception barely survives any scrutiny at all.
There are two broad issues here. One is a political one, the question of whether in Mildura it’s OK to lie about where you live in order to get elected to a high-paying position of prominence in the Victorian Parliament. Some tell VEXNEWS that it’s not considered a “big deal” in border towns and despite Russell Savage raising the issue, because he didn’t report the fraud to the Police or other authorities that it didn’t go anywhere.
The other is a legal issue. The circumstance Crisp has created clearly amounts to a fraud on Victorian taxpayers. The Sunday Herald Sun says that Crisp could be stripped of his seat. Indeed that’s true. By his own admission and by the facts uncovered by the newspaper, it is clear he is and was at all material times falsely enrolled. Falsely elected. Falsely claiming a parliamentary salary and entitlements ever since.
The Ombudsman, whose role is to investigate public sector corruption, clearly must act. But will presumably only do so if complaints are made to him. Those concerned about the issue need to step up and stop acting so politely. Crisp is a crook. There’s other nice way of describing what he’s done here. He should be brought to justice.