Member for Lowan Emma Kealy denies claims she tried to dodge electoral advertising rules following release of internal email

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy

MEMBER for Lowan Emma Kealy has denied claims from Labor MPs James Merlio and Jaala Pulford that her office attempted to dodge electoral advertising rules.

Mr Merlino and Ms Pulford both tweeted a screenshot of an internal email sent between staff members of newspaper the Hamilton Spectator.

In the internal email, one newspaper staff member wrote to a fellow employee that Ms Kealy's office had “requested that we send all invoices that are currently owing for future bookings for Emma Kealy to her for payment please”.

The email requested that November bookings had October dates on invoices, due to “government rules around the election, they are not allowed to process anything with November dates on”.

The ABC has reported that Mr Merlino also used his floor time in Parliament to call on the Ombudsman to investigate Ms Kealy.

Ms Kealy responded to the allegations in a statement.

“Despite a clear unambiguous statement and unreserved apology from the Hamilton Spectator dismissing James Merlino’s concocted claims, Labor MPs still continue to drag the good reputation of a country newspaper and my staff through the mud,” she said.

“This is a disgraceful smear campaign from a Government in chaos that has stooped to new lows by maliciously drawing a country newspaper into Labor’s rorting mess.

“It’s a desperate act from a desperate Labor Government that will do anything to distract from the fact six Ministers, including the Attorney General, are under investigation by Victoria Police’s Fraud and Extortion Squad.”

The Hamilton Spectator also issued a statement on its Facebook page, stating the content of the email was “inaccurate”.

“The claims in the email misrepresented communication between the Hamilton Spectator and Emma Kealy’s office”, it read.

“Ms Kealy and her office have never at any time requested to have invoices changes, altered or amended.”