Theo Theophanous, a senior minister in the Victorian government, has stood aside, pending the outcome of a police investigation into allegations against him.
Theophanous is the Minister for Industry and Trade, Major Projects, and Information and Communication Technology.
He is one of the members for Northern Metropolitan Province in the Legislative Council. He was first elected to the upper house in 1998.
Theophanous did not reveal the nature of the police investigation when he read a prepared statement to the media.
- Listen to Theophanous (85s)
Text of statement from Theo Theophanous.
Following a series of rumours over the last week or so, today I decided to contact the Victoria Police and ask them if a formal complaint, which involved me, had been lodged with them and whether they were inquiring into it. They confirmed that this was the case.
While I have not been advised by police as to the nature of that complaint, I have been advised that police are conducting interviews in relation to the matter.
I have been further advised that Victoria Police may wish to interview me in the near future in relation to their inquiries.
I feel strongly that if a Minister is the subject of a formal complaint which is being investigated by the police, he or she should stand down until the matter is cleared up.
For this reason, I spoke to the Premier this afternoon and informed him that I would be temporarily standing aside as Minister until this issue is resolved.
Further, I will be seeking leave from Parliament this week in order to finalise this matter as quickly as possible.
I have always conducted myself with the highest degree of probity and professionalism and I hold dear the principles of Ministerial Responsibility and Accountability.
I would request that the media allow the police to conduct their inquiries in the appropriate way, without unfounded speculation that could prejudice their inquiries.
It is not for me, but a matter for the police, as to when or if they wish to publicly disclose the nature of their inquiries.
I know that my decision to stand down will come as a shock to my extended family, my friends and the community that supports me. I know that they will be concerned about me and my family and I want to assure them that I have no case to answer. But I equally believe that I have a responsibility as a Minister in such a successful government to act with complete propriety and to step aside until this matter is resolved.
Even though I know that I have done nothing wrong, the test for Ministers in a Government is rightly high. I am aware of my responsibilities to protect the government, and the work it is doing for Victorians.
I trust that the media will afford me and my family the time and privacy to work through this issue.
At this time I am advised it is best not to take questions on this issue as it is a police matter.