Ringwood MP Will Fowles returns to parliament next week as an independent and with a new mission after the conclusion of an investigation into assault allegations.
Police have closed a probe into allegations made against the exiled Labor MP over a reported incident in Melbourne’s CBD in 2023.
Mr Fowles has consistently rejected the assault allegations, which were referred to police by the then-premier Daniel Andrews, who also forced Mr Fowles from the parliamentary Labor Party when the investigation began.
On Tuesday, Victoria Police said a methodical investigation had concluded without any charges.
Mr Fowles today said he would not be dwelling on the past but that he was determined to improve what he described as deficient parliamentary processes for when an MP faced allegations.
“Of course I’m disappointed with aspects of what has occurred,” Mr Fowles said.
“But for me, far more important than anything that has happened to me is the opportunity to make sure that the processes are rigorous and well established for the next time a complaint is made against a member of parliament.
“It is not enough to be able to make these things up on the fly.
“We need to focus firmly on getting the processes right for future events.”
Mr Fowles remained a member of the wider Labor Party but Premier Jacinta Allan earlier this week said he would not return to the parliamentary party.
“The wellbeing of staff and their right to a safe workplace is not negotiable and we will always act on any allegations of a serious nature,” she said in a statement.
But Mr Fowles said he could not rule an attempted return in or out.
“That is something I will give consideration to, as with all these other matters, over the coming months.”
He said he would work constructively with all sides of parliament.
“I’m not a bomb thrower,” he said.
He thanked his family and friends for their support during a “challenging time” and vowed to continue working for his constituents on the issues cost of living, housing pressures and rental availability.
In 2019, Mr Fowles was involved in an incident in Canberra where he kicked down the door of a hotel room and later took leave of absence to deal with addiction and mental health issues.
He apologised at the time and said he was ashamed of his actions.