Inga Peulich with her son Paul. Photo: Peter Cox
The Baillieu government faces the uncomfortable prospect of an official probe of Liberal meddling in local government in Melbourne's south-east.
On Sunday, opposition scrutiny in government spokesman Martin Pakula confirmed Labor would ask the Ombudsman to examine the involvement of upper house MP Inga Peulich in the affairs of the Kingston council, especially around last year's mayoral election.
The call follows weekend revelations by Fairfax Media which centred on the ultimately doomed bid by Ms Peulich's son, Paul, to secure the Kingston mayoralty.
Fairfax reported on how Ms Peulich intervened on behalf of Cr Peulich and then sought retribution against Liberal-aligned councillors who voted instead for veteran councillor Ron Brownlees.
In one email Ms Peulich slams Liberal-aligned councillors for putting their local government role ahead of their obligation to the Liberal Party.
''Only a couple of years ago, Mrs Peulich was describing political interference in local government as corrupt, improper and a breach of the [Local Government] act,'' said Mr Pakula.
''Now she's been sprung trying to pull the strings at Kingston, and trying to punish those that don't bend to her will.
''If she's consistent, she won't object to the Ombudsman applying the microscope to Kingston Council, and . . . to her conduct, and to the conduct of her family.''
On Sunday, Premier Ted Baillieu chose his words carefully when responding to questions about the Fairfax revelations.
He described Ms Peulich as a ''very enthusiastic campaigner'' but stressed that the Liberal party did not formally stand candidates in local government, nor bankroll candidates.
''We don't fund candidates in local government, we never have.''
He did not respond directly when asked about Ms Peulich's view Liberal-aligned councillors were obliged to support her son.
''Anybody who is elected to council who happens to be a Liberal Party member is there in their own right and they are there to do the right thing by their community,'' said Mr Baillieu.
Labor's call comes despite its own poor record in local government matters. In 2009 the Brumby government suffered over a damning Ombudsman inquiry into west suburban Brimbank. It it is now bracing for another Ombudsman report on the traditional Labor stronghold of Darebin in Melbourne's north.
Fairfax Media understands that Labor chose to refer the Kingston matter to the Ombudsman rather than to government's independent broad-based anti-corruption commission (IBAC) in part because of the high threshold for a commission inquiry.
Under Mr Baillieu's controversial IBAC, only indictable offences can be investigated and whistleblower complaints about politicians are first handled by politicians.
The Baillieu government built its case for a new corruption-busting body on the back of the ''corrupt'' behaviour by Labor politicians, and around local council sagas such as Brimbank.
Ms Peulich has refused to be interviewed by Fairfax Media. But in a written statement on Friday she defended her right to influence local politics.
''Any person has the right to be involved in our democracy and its processes. Anyone can support any candidate, but it is up to voters to elect them,'' she wrote.
She has denied lobbying for mayoral votes on behalf of her son.