Australian politics rocked by explosive corruption allegations

Newstalk ZB /,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Jun 2020, 4:53PM
Sacked Victorian MP Adem Somyurek is no longer considered a member of the Labor Party. (Photo / AAP)

Australian politics rocked by explosive corruption allegations

Newstalk ZB /,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Jun 2020, 4:53PM

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he has referred Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek to the state’s police and anti-corruption commission after sacking the minister over explosive corruption allegations.

Speaking at a media conference this morning, Mr Andrews said he had also written to the national executive of the ALP to seek Mr Somyurek’s termination from the party, and that he no longer considered him part of the Victorian Labor Party, “my team, my caucus, my Government”.

The Premier said today Mr Somyurek had been sacked, effective immediately following allegations he described a female minister as a “stupid b**h” and a “moll.”

“Just after 9am this morning I met with Adem Somyurek and I informed him that I would be writing to the governor to terminate his commission as a minister to essentially sack him from my ministry,’’ Mr Andrews said.

“Mr Somyurek was not offered an opportunity to resign.

“He is not worthy of an opportunity to resign. He was sacked. And that is the fact of the matter. Any statements to the contrary are simply false.”

Mr Andrews said comments made by Mr Somyurek about MP Gabrielle Williams “were simply unacceptable, wicked comments and I simply will not tolerate those sorts of comments or attitudes from any member of my team”.

It comes after the Local Government Minister said in a statement he had offered his resignation to the Premier this morning.

“It follows the publication of numerous personal and private conversations between myself and a long-term friend and factional ally of mine,” Mr Somyurek said in his statement.

“It is clear that I was taped and surveilled in a federal electorate office without my knowledge and that this material was published without my knowledge of its existence or my consent.

“I will be taking steps to seek a police investigation into these matters.

“With respect to allegations made around memberships of the party, I reject those and will be providing a rigorous defence during any party process.”

Mr Somyurek said his resignation was specifically over the language he was recorded using against Ms Williams, and how he described Labor staffers. He has denied allegations of branch stacking.

Mr Andrews dismissed Mr Somyurek’s statement, repeating that the MP had been sacked, and also confirmed he had referred the matter to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission.

“I have also instructed - asked - the Attorney-General to refer all of these matters as canvassed last night on the television and in various newspaper reports today to both Victoria Police and to IBAC and the Attorney-General has written in those terms and those referrals have been made,’’ he said.

“What Mr Somyurek said, what Mr Somyurek has done - so his conduct and his comments - are completely deplorable, they are shameful, and it is on that basis that there is no place in my Government for him.

“There is no place in my team for him. That is what I informed him this morning. I want to be very clear with each and every one of you and through you Victorians, Mr Somyurek was not offered an opportunity to resign. He is not worthy of an opportunity to resign. He was sacked. And that is the fact of the matter.”

Earlier, Labor leader Anthony Albanese declared he has “zero tolerance” for corrupt or inappropriate behaviour after Mr Somyurek was caught on tape calling Ms Williams a “stupid b**ch” and “moll”.

In secret recordings broadcast last night on 60 Minutes, Mr Somyurek also boasted “f**k the Premier … I’ll be just running the joint”.

Mr Somyurek met with Mr Andrews at 9am.

The scandal has already spread to federal ranks after Mr Somyurek made comments about Mr Albanese in the secret tapes. understands Mr Somyurek is considering referring the secret recordings to the Australian Federal Police as he believes that some conversations may have been recorded illegally.

During the recordings, Mr Somyurek also declared, “Who is going to protect Albo?”

Mr Albanese was asked today what action he would take against the Victorian MP, who sits on the ALP’s powerful national executive.

“Well, I have zero tolerance for any corrupt or inappropriate behaviour,'” Mr Albanese told ABC Breakfast.

“Any behaviour that brings the party into disrepute. I think I've shown that with the response to John Setka. I think I have shown that by intervening and then restructuring the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party.

“What we saw last night from this individual, just his comments alone, denigrating the minister who is in charge of combating domestic violence in Victoria, denigrating other colleagues, including people who are working with him, by the way, was quite extraordinary.

“I spoke to Daniel Andrews last night. I spoke to him extensively. I’m very confident that there will be swift action taken this morning.”

The secret recordings broadcast last night include threats to the career of Ms Williams, Victoria’s Minister Prevention of Family Violence.

“I will f***ing force her out of the ministry, that f***ing stupid b**ch, when Andrews goes … She’s a stupid, stupid moll,” he says. “I’m going to f***ing knock her f***ing head off. She’s a f***ing psycho bitch.”

At another point Mr Somyurek was heard describing Young Labor members as “little passive aggressive f***ing gay kids.”

Mr Somyurek was previously embroiled in controversy after he was forced to resign from Cabinet five years ago over bullying allegations made by a female staffer, Dimity Paul.

Mr Somyurek denied the claims that and insisted the accusations she made were “false”.