Corrections minister Steve Herberts ministerial driver took Jack Russell dogs Ted and Patch to Herberts holiday house
A senior Victorian minister his come under fire for using his parliamentary car to chauffeur his pet dogs to his holiday house in the countryside.
The corrections minister, Steve Herbert, had his driver transport the dogs named Ted and Patch in his parliamentary car from Melbourne to the house in Trentham, 97km north-west of Melbourne. Herbert was not in the car while the Jack Russell terriers were transported.
Herbert issued an apology on Wednesday night, saying, on reflection, this use of the ministerial car does not meet community expectations and I apologise. He did not clarify how many times he had ordered his driver to escort the dogs to Trentham, a historical town located on the Great Dividing Range and described by Tourism Victoria as punching well above its weight in the eating and drinking stakes.
The premier, Daniel Andrews, told ABC radio on Thursday morning that he would not be sacking Herbert, although he conceded the minister had made an error in judgment.
Hes apologised, Andrews said.
Thats the right thing to do. This doesnt meet community expectations.
He said he was yet to speak to Herbert about the incident but said he would be doing so after he returned from Brisbane, where he is attending the Coag domestic violence summit.
The opposition leader in the upper house, Mary Wooldridge, said the situation reflected a law and order crisis in Victoria.
The one thing Victorians dont want in a minister for corrections is someone who makes errors of judgment, she said.
Victorians should also be concerned by reports that Daniel Andrews has not yet spoken to his minister.
She was echoed by the opposition leader, Matthew Guy, who called on Herbert to be sacked.
This minister should go, Guy told reporters on Thursday.
This minister has been caught rorting the system.
Victorian MP and leader of the Australian Sex party, Fiona Patten, said Herbert should repay all taxpayer dollars spent on chauffeuring Ted and Patch around.
Seriously, who would ever think it was OK to have your pets chauffeur-driven at taxpayer expense? she said.
I work closely with minister Herbert, and I know he is a good man, but you have to say that this dog debacle shows a serious lapse of judgment.
However, she did not believe he should resign.
The minister should pay back any funds that were used in these dodgy doggy misadventures and apologise to the Victorian public, she said.
But this government doesnt have the depth in its ranks in the upper house to replace an experienced minister like Mr Herbert talent is a bit thin on the ground right now.