Labor's hit on Guy backfires as woman's private details are published
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Labor's hit on Guy backfires as woman's private details are published

The Andrews government is in damage control mode after a mother and daughter's personal and financial information was published on the parliamentary website in a huge document dump Labor ordered while gunning for Opposition Leader Matthew Guy.

Speaker Colin Brooks was given the task of removing sensitive personal information from the 80,000 documents tabled this week about Mr Guy's botched rezoning of farmland near Ventnor while planning minister several years ago.

Some documents were removed from the website on Thursday, after it was reported that they contained the medical and financial records of a lawyer involved in the dispute when Mr Guy was planning minister, and her child.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday morning that the government had apologised to the woman, and that the privacy breach was inadvertent.

“Some documents have been included in there that shouldn’t have been, that’s inadvertent and it’s unfortunate,” Mr Andrews said on Thursday.

“We’ve apologised to the person that’s involved,” admitting that he had not personally spoken to her.

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The accidental release of personal information blunted Labor's attacks against Mr Guy's decision to settle the Ventnor dispute out of court, costing taxpayers $3.5 million.

Former Victorian Privacy Commissioner David Watts told 3AW radio the government might have exposed itself to the risk of a class action.

A gigantic load of 32 boxes of documents on the Ventnor rezoning decision,  tabled on Monday,  is still being scanned and uploaded to the web.

The Andrews government tabled 32 boxes of documents revealing previously secret details of Matthew Guy's dealings as planning minister.

The Andrews government tabled 32 boxes of documents revealing previously secret details of Matthew Guy's dealings as planning minister.

Photo: Jason South

Mr Guy said the release of the woman’s personal information, including details about her young daughter, was disgusting and “a snapshot into the Premier’s soul”.

He called on Mr Andrews to resign for his “abuse of power”.

“There is no Victorian he won’t hurt in order for his reckless pursuit of power to be his primary goal,” Mr Guy said.

“God knows what other information, whatever private and personal data on Victorians is now tabled for every Victorian to read in Hansard.”

On Thursday morning, government minister Jacinta Allan was obliged to move a motion in Parliament to give the lower house Speaker the power to remove private and confidential documents.

“What we’ve seen is the inclusion of the personal details in these documents [that] was clearly inadvertent,” she said. “As soon as this was brought to the attention of the relevant individuals they have been removed from the publication online.”

Ms Allan accused the opposition of improper conduct by taking the personal information to the media rather than alerting the lower house Speaker.

But shadow attorney-general John Pesutto hit back, saying the government had released the documents to “the world at large”.

Labor used its numbers in the lower house to order the release of the Ventnor documents several months ago.

The files revealed Mr Guy chose to settle a lawsuit over the botched rezoning out of court.

The documents suggest he did this out of fear he would lose his job if the dispute was fought out in court.

Mr Guy ignored the advice of his own planning department when as minister in the Baillieu government in 2011 he rezoned farmland near Ventnor to residential, but later overturned the decision in the face of public backlash.

A woman whose husband was a Liberal Party member had bought the land in the expectation that its value would rise from the rezoning.

She took legal action against Mr Guy.

On Thursday the government used its numbers in State Parliament's lower house to pass a "censure motion" against Mr Guy, a tactic that has no practial implications.

It called on him to resign and repay the $3.5 million in taxpayer funds he used for the out-of-court settlement.

Meanwhile, the opposition used parliament's Question Time to hammer the government over the publication of the private information.

Mr Guy accused Premier Daniel Andrews of mounting a "reckless pursuit of political vengeance".

"This partisan political stunt was in your name," he said.