Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Victorian Opposition denies Labor leaked secret Baillieu recording -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The Victorian Opposition Leader has broken his silence over allegations that Labor staffers stole sensitive audio recordings from a journalist.

Daniel Andrews has admitted that senior staff listened to a taped "off-the-record" conversation between the journalist and former Premier Ted Baillieu, in which he criticised his Liberal colleagues.

Details of that conversation were later emailed to hundreds of Liberal MPs.

Mr Andrews says the situation is, quote, "a dirty mess" but he's denied the party was responsible for the leak.

In Melbourne, Lisa Tucker reports.

LISA TUCKER: The dictaphone was lost at the ALP state conference in May after a Fairfax journalist recorded a conversation she had with Ted Baillieu off the record.

In it he was heavily critical of a number of his colleagues.

In June, the recording was emailed to hundreds of Liberal Party members, allegedly from within Liberal ranks.

This morning, Labor leader Daniel Andrews admitted that the recorder was found by Labor's assistant state secretary, Kosmos Samaras.

The Opposition Leader told Fairfax Radio that Mr Samaras was among a number of people who'd been recorded at the conference.

DANIEL ANDREWS: He should have returned the tape recorder, but his anger at having been recorded without his consent - he's not the only person on the tape as his statement makes clear.

There were a number of other people on the tape. Two shadow ministers - a shadow minister for water and the shadow minister for health. The minister for health was on the tape, the Premier Denis Napthine was on the tape as well.

What I know and what I've established is that the two shadow ministers were on the recorder, they were taped and they had not provided their consent - they had no idea.

LISA TUCKER: Fairfax editor in chief, Andrew Holden, says the journalist did nothing wrong.

ANDREW HOLDEN: It's neither unethical nor illegal and there are certainly circumstances where I would actually want my reporters to tape conversations.

LISA TUCKER: Daniel Andrews says his chief of staff listened to the recordings and legal advice was sought about what to do with it.

DANIEL ANDREWS: The contents of the tape recorder and the tape recorder itself was destroyed.

And I used that term destroyed because what happened - I'm informed by the officials at head office - is that the tape recorder was opened up, the hard drive - apparently these things have got a hard drive in them - was taken out and it was cut up with scissors into small pieces and put in the bin.

Every copy, every item off the tape recorder was deleted.

LISA TUCKER: Mr Andrews says he had no involvement in the matter and doesn't know how the contents were leaked to Liberal MPs.

DANIEL ANDREWS: I wish I knew, because if I knew I would be here telling you chapter and verse from the start to the finish. I do not know how this was leaked by the Liberals to other Liberals.

RADIO HOST: Hang on, hang on this isn't about the Liberals.

DANIEL ANDREWS: No, no. Well they circulated it. Neither does the Liberal Party, they don't know how this got out.

LISA TUCKER: Just four months out from the State Election, the Coalition Government has seized on the matter as a test of Daniel Andrews' character.

But political analyst Nick Economou says the scandal won't be of any interest to most voters.

NICK ECONOMOU: The Government is anxious to try and make an issue of this because it's trailing the Opposition in the polls but I think that for most voters the accusations of skulduggery are made all the time and I think most voters are quite impervious to it.

LISA TUCKER: So this is something that will be far from their minds in four months time?

NICK ECONOMOU: Yeah correct. Voters when they got to the polls are interested in how the government has performed, whether it has shown a) that it's been united, b) that it's been disciplined, and c) that it's being functional.

LISA TUCKER: Daniel Andrews says he regrets that the dictaphone was not returned to the journalist in the first place but says no one involved will be sacked.

The matter is being investigated by Victoria Police.

ELEANOR HALL: Lisa Tucker.