Second Senior Staff Person Lost for a Matthew Guy in Past Eight Days

Matthew Guy
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Less than four months before the state election, opposition leader Matthew Guy in Victoria has lost a second key staff member when his director of communications abruptly resigned.

Lee Anderson, who had been in the job for a year, resigned on Wednesday morning, according to insiders, following a dispute with Nick McGowan, Guy’s new chief of staff.

McGowan was appointed to the position on Monday afternoon, taking the place of Mitch Catlin, who resigned last week after it was revealed in the Age that he had planned to ask a Liberal party donor to pay more than $100,000 to his private marketing company for what were referred to as “supporting business interests.”

Having served as Guy’s chief of staff and best man at his wedding, McGowan will only hold the role for three months before resigning to fight for an upper house seat in the newly created north-eastern metropolitan area.

Georgie Crozier, a Liberal lawmaker, disputed that Anderson and McGowan had a quarrel.

“Lee made the choice in this case. He’s gone back home across the state out of personal choice, Crozier told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m not aware of those justifications.”

While serving in the position, Anderson, a former executive producer at 7 News Melbourne, commuted despite having relatives in Tasmania.

The opposition’s media team member Alex Woff will take his place, while advisor Anja Wolff will be elevated to deputy director of communications.

Crozier denied that Anderson’s resignation meant the Liberals were losing decades of expertise.

I’m really appreciative that Lee has promised to still provide guidance, she added. We have a youthful, motivated team that is excelling; they have learned so much from Lee.

Despite the turmoil in his office, she insisted Guy would lead the party to victory at the election on November 26.

Though a number of Liberal MPs indicated they had no intentions to challenge Guy for the leadership, they voiced worry that the most recent departures were serving as a distraction months before the election.

Given Guy’s criticism of Labor’s red shirt incident, in which legislative staff misappropriated government funds by engaging in political campaigning during work hours, McGowan’s twin responsibilities as candidate and chief of staff have been characterized as “messy” and “high-risk” by many.

One MP observed, “It just takes one campaign-related email during working hours for us to be kicking another own-goal again.” “We can’t afford that at all.”

Guy has stated that McGowan won’t run for office while working regular hours.

This Monday, the opposition leader informed the media that he would no longer be available to comment on Catlin’s plan.

He had earlier disputed that it was an attempt to get around the state’s tough fundraising regulations, which limit donations to $4,210 over four years and demand disclosure for donations over $1,050.

Guy has claimed that Catlin’s job as his chief of staff was taken into account when determining the proposed remuneration.

In a statement to the media on Wednesday morning, Danny Pearson, the minister for government services, listed “at least 54 instances” that Guy had declined to respond to inquiries about the matter.

Less than 100 days remain until Victorians cast their ballots, and Pearson asserted that they had a right to know the full scope of Matthew Guy’s participation.

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