October 25, 2023 2 min read


Former Australian MP Jailed for Gambling with Taxpayer Money

Northe’s gambling problem was likely due to mental health problems he experienced

Former Australian MP Russell Northe was slapped with a prison sentence after using his position to gamble with taxpayer money. The court handed the ex-politician a 21-month sentence in spite of his ongoing mental health problems.

Northe is a former Victorian MP who became a member of the Nationals’ parliament in 2006. However, he left the party in 2017 because of mental health problems. Despite that, he didn’t quit politics and was elected as an independent a year later.

As an independent, Northe was allowed to use taxpayer money to cover expenses. Unfortunately, the 57-year-old man couldn’t resist the temptation that access to such money offered and misused it to gamble.

According to the lawsuit, the former MP created fake invoices and bank statements in an effort to cover up his tracks. Over two years, he claimed AUD 173,400 (roughly $109,900 in USD) in fraudulent expenses. Northe directed the money to his Tabcorp and Ladbrokes accounts and lost all of it by placing thousands of losing bets.

Northe was originally charged with this crime in September, following an investigation by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC). A year later, the man pleaded guilty to two charges of misconduct in public office.

Northe’s Addiction Was Caused by Stress and Isolation

Northe’s gambling problem was likely due to the mental health problems he experienced. Described as a sophisticated man by Judge Michael McInerney, the ex-MP struggled with isolation because of his position.

Northe was notably geographically isolated from his family, causing him to develop addictive tendencies. He incurred further stress because of Australian wildfires, which worsened his condition. Despite being described as a hardworking MP, Northe eventually became addicted to alcohol and gambling.

Unfortunately, the defendant was not a very good gambler either, eventually racking up debts totaling $400,000 ($253,500 in USD).

Northe’s condition caused further concerns about his sentence. Christin Tom, the former MP’s lawyer, pointed out that the sentence may worsen Northe’s condition. However, Judge McInerney pointed out that these mitigating factors had been taken into consideration. In addition, the former MP will have to serve a minimum of 12 months in prison before being eligible for parole.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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