Vic Labor powerbroker sacked after branch-stacking allegations

UPDATED: Branch stacking claims levelled against a former Victorian minister have been referred to the state’s anti-corruption watchdog and police.

Former Victorian Labor minister Adem Somyurek has denied branch-stacking. Photo: AAP/James Ross

Former Victorian Labor minister Adem Somyurek has denied branch-stacking. Photo: AAP/James Ross

Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday sacked Adem Somyurek from cabinet after explosive allegations from a 60 Minutes and The Age investigation.

Somyurek then resigned from Labor before it could boot him over the allegations.

The reports allege the upper house MP handed over cash and used parliamentary employees to create fake branch members and amass political influence within the Australian Labor Party.

Somyurek denies the stacking allegations and wants police to investigate the recordings used in the expose.

Andrews told reporters the issues canvassed in the reporting were referred to police and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

“I’d be confident they have both the powers and resources, the will, and they are at arm’s length from government and I think that is the appropriate step to take,” he said.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy wrote to Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich on Monday.

“The programme and articles contain a number of serious allegations about the conduct of public officers,” Hennessy wrote.

Victoria Police has confirmed it will “assess the complaint and work with IBAC to determine how best an investigation might proceed”.

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The watchdog has confirmed it has received a referral from Hennessy and it is under consideration.

Somyurek said “the conversations published without my knowledge or consent were with someone who I trusted about internal party matters”.

“There are many robust discussions that occur on any given day in the Labor Party across all factions,” he said in a statement earlier today.

In the recordings, Somyurek labels the Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams a “stupid bitch” whom he will “f***ing force … out of the ministry”.

He also describes the young staffers helping him as “patronising and annoying”, and “little passive-aggressive f***ing gay kids”.

“I accept and take full responsibility for the fact that my language on a number of occasions was simply not appropriate,” Mr Somyurek said.

“While Ms Williams and I have been at odds factionally for many years, I should not have used the language I did about her and I apologise to her unequivocally.

“Further, I am deeply sorry for language I used regarding highly valued and exceptional young people who are members of the LGBTI community.

“These comments have quite rightly cost me my job.”

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Somyurek’s actions, along with sexist and homophobic remarks, had no place in the party.


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