Mr Donnellan informed Premier Daniel Andrews of his decision to resign on Monday afternoon after federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne accused him of paying ALP membership fees on behalf of others on the first day of public hearings at the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC).
His resignation marks the fourth MP forced out of Cabinet as part of the secret tapes scandal centred around powerbroker Adem Somyurek.
In a statement, Mr Donnellan said: “I accept that I have previously breached party rules while a minister”.
“But let me be very clear: I never misused public funds or resources in any way, and this has absolutely nothing to do with my staff,” he said.
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Mr Donnellan, who also served as Child Protection and Disability Minister, said it was not possible to remain in the ministry after the revelations emerged on Monday.
“The work to support vulnerable Victorians is too important, especially during the pandemic,” he said.
The Premier responded to Mr Donnellan’s resignation in a statement in which he thanked the outgoing minister for his “contribution to the government”.
“I thank Luke for his contribution to the government in his various ministerial portfolios, particularly his hard work in child protection, disability and ageing,” he said.
“He has been a passionate advocate for vulnerable kids, people with disability and older Victorians and he leaves a legacy of reform of which he can be proud.
“Luke’s work has seen a transformation of the system for children and families in Victoria, investing in hundreds of dedicated child protection workers and navigators to do their important work supporting families and kids – making sure they have the stable foundation to begin their lives.”
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The IBAC inquiry was established to investigate the alleged misuse of taxpayer-funded staff and community grants.
The investigation is looking at whether the public officials, including the members of parliament, engaged in corrupt conduct while in public office by directing their staff to perform party-political work during times when they are being paid from public funds to perform ministerial or electorate work.
IBAC is also exploring the financial and political framework that supports branch stacking.
Branch stacking is the recruitment of large numbers of party members who will then vote along factional lines to support preferred candidates in pre-selection or other political contests.
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Mr Donnellan was accused of branch stacking on Monday by Mr Byrne who described the Labor Party as “completely out of control”.
“I’m referring to branch stacking, coercion of staff being made to do things they didn’t want to,” Mr Byrne said.
“I was referring to a party being taken over by one person whose sole objective was power and power alone.”
Under questioning, Mr Byrne said the “one person” was Mr Somyurek who he alleges coerced staff for a two-year period.
Mr Donnellan was contacted by SkyNews.com.au for comment.

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