The Age

Former Casey mayor Sam Aziz quits Liberal Party

The Age logo The Age 15/02/2020 13:08:00 Kate Rose, Clay Lucas and Royce Millar
Sam Aziz holding a sign posing for the camera: Former Casey mayor Sam Aziz has resigned from the Liberal Party. © James TaylorFormer Casey mayor Sam Aziz has resigned from the Liberal Party.

Former Casey mayor Sam Aziz has resigned from the Liberal Party following pressure over his role in the land deals scandal being investigated by the state anti-corruption commission.

The resignation came after The Age reported that Victorian Liberal frontbencher Tim Smith called for Cr Aziz and fellow former mayor Geoff Ablett to be expelled from the party.

Cr Aziz posted his resignation to social media, complete with scathing attacks on Mr Smith, accusing him of "irrelevance and a political existentialist dilemma".

Cr Aziz also referred to "Liberal values", including that "a person charged with an offence is innocent until proven guilty. The law must protect people against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and guarantee speedy justice through an independent judiciary".

He entreated Mr Smith to "familiarise himself with the values of his own party".

Mr Smith - the Opposition's high-profile local government and planning spokesman - responded in a statement that he was "genuinely delighted that Sam Aziz has resigned from the Liberal Party ... This bloke Aziz is having a swing at me from Cairo, let's hope he has the ticker to return to Melbourne so he can answer the serious questions the anti-corruption commission has for him."

Cr Aziz recently told The Age that he was in Cairo.

Opposition leader Michael O'Brien and Liberal state director Sam McQuestin had distanced themselves from Mr Smith's call to expel the pair.

"However no politician is above the law and anyone found guilty of serious criminal charges has no place in the Liberal Party," Mr O'Brien's spokesman said.

The Andrews government could sack Casey Council as early as next week when State Parliament resumes sitting. The Labor government this week received a report from Laurinda Gardner, a monitor they appointed to the council to examine its governance. The report advised the government to sack Casey.

Within hours of The Age reporting on Ms Gardner's advice, two Casey councillors, Timothy Jackson and Rex Flannery, had quit. Mr Jackson, a Labor Party member, said he no longer had confidence in the council's ability to make decisions in the best interests of residents.

But current Mayor Susan Serey said the media's focus on if and when Casey would be sacked was unfair. "Whilst I appreciate the need for the extra scrutiny of councillors, especially following the revelations at the IBAC at the end of last year, the ongoing speculation ... has continued to undermine the credibility of councillors," she said.

15. helmikuuta 2020 15:08:00 Categories: - info - regions - hainaut RTBF The Age

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