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Vic state MP hires children as staffers

A Victorian MP has hired her teenage children on taxpayer-funded salaries to work in her electorate office, saying there is “plenty of online training” for them to learn the job.

Independent upper house MP Catherine Cumming told the Herald Sun she “obviously” had a lot of trust issues and felt the need to “surround myself with people I can trust and who are capable of doing the job”.

Her 18-year-old daughter is now earning a taxpayer-funded salary while still at high school.

Federal MPs aren’t allowed to employ family members, but there are no such rules in Victoria.

Ms Cumming has also employed her niece, her “long-time friend” and her friend’s 21-year-old son.

She got elected as part of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party at the 2018 Victorian state election, but she quit the party almost immediately.

Liberal MP Tim Smith said the rules needed to be changed after Ms Cumming’s actions.

“It’s just not on to use the Parliament of Victoria, and indeed the people of Victoria, as an ATM to help your family,” he told 3AW on Friday.

Ms Cumming told the Herald Sun there was “plenty of online training” for her children to learn how to manage electorate business, adding she was also “learning how to be an MP”.

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