1 May 2024

Darren Cheeseman sacked by Premier Jacinta Allen for inappropriate behaviour

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Darren Cheeseman

Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman has been sacked from the Victorian Labor Party but will continue to sit as an independent. Photo: Darren Cheeseman Facebook.

Victorian Labor MP Darren Cheeseman has been sacked by Premier Jacinta Allen for alleged inappropriate conduct towards other staff members.

It comes just three days after the Member for South Barwon was stood down from his position as Parliamentary Secretary for Education by the Premier for similar allegations of misconduct.

On 26 April, Premier Allen said Mr Cheeseman had been asked to resign from the Parliamentary Secretary role “as a result of allegations of persistent, inappropriate behaviour in the workplace towards staff”. Mr Cheeseman offered his resignation as requested.

“Under the Ministerial Code of Conduct, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are expected to behave according to the highest standards of personal conduct in the performance of their duties and to behave in a way that upholds community expectations,” Ms Allen said.

“Under the Code, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must take all reasonable steps to maintain respectful and appropriate working relationships with their staff, staff of other Ministers and MPs, Parliamentary staff, VPS staff, and Ministerial and Parliamentary colleagues.”

However, on Monday afternoon, Ms Allen said she had received new information about further allegations of persistent, inappropriate behaviour.

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“After enquiries by my office, and in consultation with my colleagues, tonight I asked the Member for South Barwon to resign as a member of the Parliamentary Labor Party and he has done so,” she said.

“Following these new allegations, it is now clear to me that there is no place for the Member for South Barwon in my government.

“The wellbeing of staff and their right to a respectful workplace is not negotiable.”

In a brief social media statement on Monday evening, Mr Cheeseman announced his resignation.

“A short while ago, I received a call requesting my registration [sic] from the Parliamentary Labor Party,” he said.

“I have provided that registration [sic].

“I will continue to serve the people of South Barwon as their MP,” he added. “This is an incredibly distressing time for me and my family and I ask our privacy to please be respected.”

Mr Cheeseman has served as the Member for South Barwon since 2018. He has held the positions of Government Whip in the Legislative Assembly, Parliamentary Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, and Parliamentary Secretary for Community Sport. He has also sat on the Legislative Assembly Standing Orders Committee and the Legislative Assembly Environment and Planning Committee.

Before entering state politics, Mr Cheeseman held the federal seat of Corangamite, which covers the regions of the Bellarine Peninsula, the Surf Coast, and the area west of Geelong from 2007 to 2013, and served as a Councillor for the City of Ballarat prior to that.

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