Retired Australian MP Russell Northe has acquired a 21-month jail sentence after utilizing over AU$170,000 (US$107,993) in public funds to feed his playing dependancy. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Spending time behind bars
A former Australia MP who misappropriated political funds to feed his playing dependancy has acquired a 21-month jail sentence. Russell Northe was a Victorian Legislative Meeting member for 16 years earlier than stepping away in 2022. He pled responsible to 2 counts of misconduct whereas being in public workplace.
cried because the choose imposed the sentence
His responsible plea meant that the 57-year-old obtained a extra lenient sentence after utilizing over AU$170,000 (US$107,993) of public cash to fund his playing. He cried because the choose imposed the sentence; Northe can apply for parole after 12 months inside.
An investigation by the Impartial Board Based mostly Anti-Corruption Fee led to Northe getting hit in 2022 with prices regarding 45 offenses. This was subsequently lowered to only two prices in January 2023 following the general public workplace misconduct responsible plea.
Northe equipped false financial institution statements and receipts in an try to not return cash to the Victorian Electoral Fee, claiming he spent AU$195,863 (US$124,422) working his Morwell electoral workplace when solely AU$17,050 (US$10,831) had been legit bills. The fee conducts unbiased monetary audits to find out how a lot cash really went in direction of bills and initially signed off on Northe’s claims.
The authorities finally found that Northe positioned 1000’s of wagers utilizing public cash by way of Ladbrokes and Tabcorp apps, racking up important debt within the course of. In an try to cowl up the misappropriation of public funds, Northe tried to assert that the cash was for bills like hiring, workplace tools, and lease.
Since Northe’s offenses got here to gentle, he has been working at an area grocery store, incomes about AU$700 (US$445) per week.
In handing down the sentence, Decide McInerney weighed the intense nature of the crimes and Northe’s state of mind on the time of the offenses. He described the conduct as “subtle, protracted, and brazen” whereas additionally acknowledging the responsible occasion’s poor psychological well being and the hardships he’ll face in jail as mitigating elements. Northe might be on suicide watch when he begins to serve his sentence, with a report from his psychiatrist in January stating that the previous MP wasn’t match to face trial as a result of his psychological sickness.
Decide McInerney attributed a few of Northe’s struggles to the stress regarding the Morwell mine fires in 2014 that led to widespread chaos, in addition to the bushfires in 2019 that burned over ten million hectares of land in southeast Australia.
stepping away as a result of his playing dependancy, stress, and despair
Northe was a member of the Nationwide Occasion between 2006 and 2017, finally stepping away due to his playing dependancy, stress, and despair. Native media reported on the time that Northe had gathered debt of greater than AU$750,000 (US$476,438) to greater than 30 native businesspeople, pals, constituents, and even his parliamentary chief Peter Walsh.
He served as an unbiased in public workplace and secured re-election within the subsequent state authorities poll. He determined to not participate within the 2022 election and in his last parliamentary speech, he pushed for extra assist for folks in Victoria who’re battling dependancy and psychological well being points.