South Australian MP Fraser Ellis found guilty on deception charges

Former Liberal MP Fraser Ellis says he hopes to stay on in state parliament after being found guilty on four counts of deception over his use of the country members’ allowance.

Jul 01, 2024, updated Jul 01, 2024
Fraser Ellis. File photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Fraser Ellis. File photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Ellis, the independent MP for the state seat of Narungga on Yorke Peninsula, was charged in 2021 with 23 counts of making fraudulent claims for the country members’ allowance between May 13, 2018 and June 12, 2020.

The charges stemmed from an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation which alleged that Ellis had claimed accommodation expenses for staying in Adelaide overnight to carry out his parliamentary duties when he was not actually staying in the city.

Ellis had pleaded not guilty on all 23 charges.

In a judgement handed down in the Magistrates Court on Monday morning, Ellis was found guilty on four counts and not guilty on the remaining 19.

Ellis told reporters outside court that the result came as a surprise.

“I did not expect the outcome having sat through that trial, I showed up today and hoped to be fully acquitted,” he said.

“I need a chance to talk to my legal team, understand the judgement and just dissect the reasoning behind the magistrate’s decision so that I can make an informed decision about whether I appeal and what the next steps are.”

The court will return on September 4 for sentencing submissions, which could decide whether Ellis stay on as an MP or not.

Asked if he believed his position in parliament was tenable, Ellis said: “I believe so.”

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“I’m extremely proud of my record as the Member for Narrunga, I think over my six years in the job I’ve done my absolute best to put the community first,” he said.

“I’m proud of all the investment we’ve attracted into our region and community assets – today doesn’t change that.

“I’m proud to stand up for my record in Narrunga and I’ll keep doing that for as long as I’m permitted by the community and allowed to. I intend to continue to serve until I’m told otherwise.”

Ellis resigned from the Liberal Party in February 2021 after revealing to parliament that he had been charged with offences resulting from the ICAC investigation into the country members’ allowance.

The move plunged the Marshall Government into minority. Ellis has since sat as an independent MP and won re-election in 2022.

Topics: Fraser Ellis
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