Adem Somyurek has quit the Victorian Labor Party just hours after he was sacked from ministerial duties and before expulsion from the Australian Labor Party.
Disgraced MP Adem Somyurek has quit the Victorian Labor Party just hours after he was sacked from his ministerial duties and before he faced expulsion from the Australian Labor Party.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Mr Somyurek was sacked from the ministry, counteracting the former minister's claim he resigned, in the wake of the explosive allegations reported in the joint investigation by 60 Minutes and The Age.
A statement from ALP National President, Wayne Swan, said the National Executive Committee met this afternoon to consider the expulsion request by Mr Andrews.
But Mr Somyurek seemingly beat the committee to the punch, handing in his resignation for his membership of the Victorian ALP.
Mr Swan said the committee was now taking steps to ensure Mr Somyurek could never return to the party.
"The conduct of Mr Somyurek is reprehensible and at odds with everything the ALP stands for," Mr Swan said in a statement.
"Noting that Mr Somyurek has now resigned his membership of the Victorian ALP, the National Executive Committee has taken further steps to ensure that there will never be a place for Mr Somyurek in the ALP ever again.
"The ALP National Executive takes these matters incredibly seriously, and will be responding to the wider issues raised over the last 24 hours in the coming days."
Mr Somyurek's factional allies Ministers Marlene Kairouz and Robin Scott were also implicated in the scandal by Somyurek's comments.
But while the Premier referred the allegations to Victoria Police and anti-corruption watchdog IBAC, they've kept their jobs.
Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese earlier described the bombshell branch-stacking allegations against Mr Adem Somyurek as "corruption", insisting he would be expelled from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in addition to his sacking from the ministry.
Mr Albanese said he discussed the minister's expulsion and sacking with Mr Andrews last night, consenting for the premier to proceed with the process of his ministerial and membership termination.
"He will not be a member of the Australian Labor Party," he said.
"We will take immediate action to suspend his membership.
"What we saw last night on 60 Minutes was someone seeking power as and in itself. A corruption of the political process. It has no place in the Australian Labor Party."
Mr Somyurek was also caught making misogynistic remarks against Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams and the LGBTI community, with Mr Andrews slamming the behaviour as "deplorable".
Ms Williams in a statement today said "violent, misogynistic language" must be called out when it occurs.
"I am very grateful for the support I have received from across the community overnight and commend the Premier's actions this morning," she said.
"No matter who you are, no one deserves to be threatened and abused in this way. This language is unacceptable."
The investigation by The Age and 60 Minutes alleged Mr Somyurek handed over thousands of dollars in cash and used parliamentary employees to create fake branch members and amass political influence within the Australian Labor Party.
Mr Somyurek denied allegations of branch-stacking and in a statement said: "With respect to allegations made around memberships of the party, I reject those and will be providing a rigorous defence during any party process."
However, he did apologise for language used in the recordings against Ms Williams and the LGBTI community, admitting it had cost him his job.
Mr Andrews said he met with Mr Somyurek after 9am this morning to inform him he would be writing to the governor to terminate his position as a minister.
He stressed that Mr Somyurek was not offered an opportunity to resign.
"I do think there are comments and conduct by Mr Somyurek that are completely unacceptable and it is on that basis that he has been terminated and sacked today," Mr Andrews said.
"Not just from my ministry, but from the parliamentary party and from the Australian Labor Party.
"I also informed him that it was my intention to write to the national executive via the national secretary of the Australian Labor Party and seek from them a termination of Mr Somyurek's membership of the Australian Labor Party," Mr Andrews added.https://twitter.com/andrew_lund/status/1272356840001527814
Mr Andrews said all of the allegations had been referred to Victoria Police and anti-corruption watchdog IBAC.
He described his conduct as "completely deplorable", including alleged obscene language towards Ms Williams.
"What Mr Somyurek said, what Mr Somyurek has done - his conduct and his comments - are completely deplorable, they are shameful," Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews assured reporters he had provided support to Ms Williams following the explosive content which aired on 60 Minutes.
"I have spoken to Gab a number of times since last night's TV program and I have reassured her of the support that I've also provided to her, the regard I have always had for her and the fact that the things that were said about her are simply unacceptable, wicked comments," he said.
"I will not tolerate those sorts of comments or attitudes from any member of my team. No Victorian should be tolerated if they hold those sorts of views about women and against women."
Mr Somyurek was appointed as the Minister for Small Business upon being reinstated back into Cabinet in 2018 after being sacked for alleged bullying.
Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the Labor government was "corrupt to the core", working to "keep themselves in power" rather than working for Victorians.
"Revelations on corruption within the Andrews Labor Government shows a shocking failure of judgement by Daniel Andrews," Mr O'Brien said in a statement.
"Andrews has twice appointed Adem Somyurek as a Minister, even restoring him back to Cabinet after sacking him for alleged bullying.
"In backing Adem Somyurek, Daniel Andrews put his own political interests ahead of the interests of Victorians. Andrews bears full responsibility for the actions of his Ministers."
Adem Somyurek statement
"This morning I advised the Premier (Daniel Andrews) of my resignation as a minister.
"It follows publication of numerous personal and private conversations between myself and a long term friend and factional ally of mine.
"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.
"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.
"I accept and take full responsibility for the fact that my language on a number of occasions was simply not appropriate.
"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."
Footage aired on 60 Minutes last night alleged Mr Somyurek on April 13 withdrawing $2000 in cash from an ATM, before handing it and dozens of party membership forms, to an adviser working for fellow Labor minister Marlene Kairouz, who then delivers the forms and cash to ALP head office.
WATCH: The full 60 Minutes Investigation here
The advisor allegedly carried out a similar cash drop-off earlier in the year.
"Well, if he (the advisor) gets caught on the street, he'd better not say he's doing f***ing this stuff," Mr Somyurek is recorded saying after the April 13 drop.
Mr Somyurek is also recorded allegedly ordering people to forge signatures and create false statements, in which Labor branch members claim to have paid for their own memberships.
He also talks about directing taxpayer-funded parliamentary employees, meant to be working for other MPs, including Robin Scott, to conduct party political operations.
In the recordings, Mr Somyurek also takes aim at his colleagues including Ms Kairouz, who he describes as holding a "meaningless" portfolio "made up just to make it look like we're interested in the suburbs".
He 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".
The premier isn't immune to the criticism either.
"F--- the premier," Mr Somyurek says in one recording.
The allegations come after Mr Andrews welcomed Mr Somyurek back to the frontbench after the resounding 2018 election win.
Mr Somyurek had been dumped from cabinet in 2015 over allegations of bullying made by his then-chief of staff.
What is branch stacking?
Branch stacking involves recruiting or signing up members for a local branch of a political party for the purpose of influencing the outcome of internal preselections of candidates for federal and state parliament.
It is against Labor rules to pay for other people's memberships.
Party members are required to sign a form declaring they have paid for their own memberships.
- With AAP
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/victorian-labor-mp-accused-of-branch-stacking/2ab85f4f-ab99-4496-86be-dba5ac63622c