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Department clears Liberal MPs of misuse of taxpayer funds for staff

Finance hired an independent reviewer to examine the arrangements and talk to Mr Sukkar and Mr Andrews.

Both men participated voluntarily and provided written responses and other relevant documentation, the department said.

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It was alleged former Victorian factional operative Marcus Bastiaan directed taxpayer-funded staff to run branch stacking operations while working in the electorate offices. Staff receiving public salaries are not allowed to do party political work.

Mr Bastiaan has since quit the Liberal Party.

Leaked private messages between the MP’s offices also appeared to show Mr Sukkar personally approving of the removal and replacement of an electorate officer working for Mr Andrews who did not want to participate in the branch stacking work.

Mr Sukkar has emphatically denied the claims.

He told Sky News in September he was very confident of his position and that was why he had asked the Finance Department to investigate the allegations.

“I’m very confident of the outcome of the review, we’re providing all of the information that the Department has requested and we will continue to work with them,” he said.

He has been asked for comment on the investigation’s outcome.

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