A rebel MP has accused Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews as well as other Labor members and staff of participating in a "systematic bullying campaign" as part of a factional spat.
Kaushaliya Vaghela moved a motion in the upper house on Wednesday to claim Mr Andrews and Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams bullied her.
Under parliamentary privilege, she said she was "systematically targeted" after she decided to switch from the party's Socialist Left to the right faction, then led by disgraced powerbroker Adem Somyurek, before the 2018 state election.
Ms Vaghela said Ms Williams sent her an "angry" text after she changed factions, questioning her integrity and demanding an explanation.
"Little did I know that the text message was (the) opening salvo to the worst period of my life," she told the chamber in a 20-minute speech.
She said a group of men, led by a "personal friend" of the premier and a staff member from his private office, incessantly harassed and intimidated her in retaliation.
"At events, they would stand over me and invade my space, pointing and laughing, mocking and sneering at me," Ms Vaghela said.
"Their strategy was to bully, harass and intimidate me to such a degree that I would simply walk away from politics."
She said the premier's friend sent her a threatening text message at 2am on April 6, 2019 and another member of the group called her a "circus monkey" on social media.
Ms Vaghela said she made repeated complaints to the premier's office but no immediate action was taken.
"I complained because I sensed that the bullying would lead to violence of some form at some stage," she said.
She said her fears were realised in November 2019 when one of the men grabbed her husband by the bicep "in a state of rage" during an attempt to speak to him away from the group.
Ms Vaghela's claims have been referred to WorkSafe and she intends to hand over relevant text messages and emails this week.
She said she had a "good relationship" with the premier before she defected from his Socialist Left faction but his manner changed when she became a Labor caucus member.
"He was hostile. He would not speak or acknowledge me. He treated me as if I was invisible," she said.
"The premier would brush past me at events, and publicly embrace the bullies and their friends as if to reward and encourage their bullying behaviour."
When the allegations were raised by the state opposition in question time, Mr Andrews rejected her assessment of his behaviour.
"It is not my intention to make a difficult time for anybody more difficult, but I will not sit here and have things that I think are quite wrong put forward as fact," he said.
"I do not, nor have I ever or would I ever, conduct myself in that way."
He insisted the complaint was dealt with "comprehensively" and resulted in the staffer at the centre of the bullying claims losing his job.
In a statement, Ms Williams said she vehemently denied the "politically motivated" allegations.
Ms Vaghela resigned from Labor after crossing the floor last month to support a motion from Mr Somyurek to refer the party's previous misuse of taxpayer funds for the 2014 election campaign to the ombudsman to be re-investigated.
Known as the red shirts scandal, Labor has since repaid the $388,000 misused to pay political campaign staff.
Australian Associated Press
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