POLITICAL infighting has led to a bitter divorce between Ballarat Senator John Madigan and the Democratic Labour Party on Thursday.
Crossbench senator John Madigan has blamed a "cancer of political intrigue" for his decision to quit the DLP and become an independent saying the in-fighting and covert political ambition had been a distraction during his time in the upper house.
The party that came back from 36 years of Federal political limbo when Madigan won in 2010 with 2.3 per cent of the vote, for its part hit back and roundly condemned the Senator demanding he give back the Victorian Senate seat.
DLP federal president Paul Funnell said Senator Madigan should "hang his head in shame" after he resigned from the party Thursday morning.
At the heart of the dispute are issues surrounding staff employed by the Senator's office.
Senator Madigan on Thursday took the extraordinary step of tabling in parliament emails sent by his office manager, Victorian DLP executive member Rachael Carling-Jenkins, to the DLP's Victorian secretary Michael Murphy.
He accused Dr Carling-Jenkins - who resigned in August - of being planted in his office by the DLP to undermine him.
In one of the emails, Dr Carling-Jenkins describes herself to Mr Murphy as "spy of the month" and signs off as "Mata (Hari, the notorious spy)".
In a bizarre twist, in February she emailed the Liberal Party in Victoria seeking advice on getting preselection for the state election despite not being a member.
But Mr Funnel told The Courier eight employees had quit Mr Madigan's office in the past six months and multiple Fair Work complaints have been lodged against Senator Madigan.
Mr Funnell added Senator Madigan's mind had been "poisoned against the party" by his new chief of staff and former reporter at The Courier Brendan Gullifer, who joined Senator Madigan's office earlier this year.
Mr Gullifer rejected Mr Funnell's accusation and told media "Senator Madigan is quite capable of thinking for himself and frequently does so".
Despite multiple phone calls, Mr Gullifer refused to speak to The Courier and did not respond to requests to speak to Senator Madigan.