John Pesutto was asked about former leadership rival Brad Battin’s appearance alongside an amateur detective who claims there are inconsistencies in Premier Daniel Andrews’ account of a 2013 car crash.
Victorian Opposition leader John Pesutto has sought to downplay state Liberal MP Brad Battin’s attempt to re-highlight Premier Daniel Andrews’ involvement in a car crash that happened nearly a decade ago.
Mr Battin on Sunday held a press conference casting doubt on the Premier’s version of events leading up to the 2013 crash on the Mornington Peninsula that left a 15-year-old with serious injuries.
In referring the matter to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC), the Berwick MP claimed there are inconsistencies with the stories given by Mr Andrews and his wife.
“The evidence for this accident has never been properly collected or tested,” Mr Battin told IBAC in a letter.
“At no stage have we seen the sorts of findings that would allow this case to be closed.
“There are a number of particular aspects of the incident that must be investigated in order to give the Victorian public confidence that the proper processes were followed and crucially, that no favourable treatment occurred which may have provided protection to any person, or persons.”
Asked about the developments on Thursday, Mr Pesutto noted that the matter is now before IBAC, and he is “not uncomfortable” with it.
“Brad is a senior member of the team, he is a strong performer,” Mr Pesutto said.
“He’s felt very passionately about this issue for a long time and he’s taken the step of referring it to IBAC.
“I’m not uncomfortable with that but I do think IBAC should be allowed to do its work.”
On Sunday, Mr Andrews refused to entertain the push and pointed to previous comments made about the infamous crash.
“I have spoken about this extensively. I have nothing further to add,” Mr Andrews said.
“I’ve done plenty of press conferences on this and gone through it at great length, and I have nothing to add, nothing whatsoever.”
In December, after narrowly winning back his seat of Hawthorn, Mr Pesutto edged out Mr Battin by one vote for the Liberal Party leadership.
At the time, Mr Pesutto pledged to guide a “constructive opposition” while ensuring to hold the Andrews government to account.
In 2021, Mr Battin attempted to roll then-leader Michael O’Brien but was defeated 22 votes to 9. He then resigned from the shadow ministry.
Despite these past leadership attempts, a Liberal frontbencher anonymously told The Age that Mr Battin is a “team player”.
“He’s not going to engineer a spill, but I am sure he still has ambitions,” the MP said.
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