Image for Mantach affair would never have happened if Tasmanian Liberals had acted

• Mantach pleads guilty to 44 charges in Melbourne

• Hodgman Government and Liberal Party need to answer serious questions about Mantach’s past in Tasmania

The theft of $1.53 million from the Victorian Liberal Party which has played out in court today would never have happened if the Tasmanian Liberal Party had acted eight years ago.

Labor Leader Bryan Green said former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach – who pleaded guilty today in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to 44 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception – had allegedly previously taken funds in Tasmania when he was the former Liberal director.

“Serious questions remain about how Mr Mantach was ever appointed to the position in Victoria when he allegedly took party money in Tasmania for his personal use,” Mr Green said.

“In 2008, he was kicked out of the position of Tasmanian Director when it was revealed he was forced to pay back almost $48,000 in party funds.

“The Liberal Party and the Hodgman Government are still yet to answer questions about the secrecy around Mr Mantach’s past and how much of that information was shared with their Victorian colleagues.

“Clearly this would never have happened if the Tasmanian matter had not been covered up by the Liberal State Executive, of which Will Hodgman was a member.

“Clearly there was a level of silence and secrecy around the Tasmanian matters - including a failure to disclose to the Australian Electoral Commission - and the Premier is yet to explain why it was not referred to police.

“Additionally, the true reasons behind Mr Mantach’s departure were kept secret from rank and file Liberal members and fabricated in Liberal Party publications.

“In light of this sorry trail of events, the claims of Will Hodgman and Eric Abetz that they knew nothing simply do not hold up.”

Guardian: Former Liberal state director says he never tried to hide $1.5m party scam Damien Mantach told police no one in the Liberal party raised red flags about his false invoices as he used holes in its financial system to siphon off money