Minister sacked over explosive allegations after secret tapes emerge

Victorian Labor minister Adem Somyurek has said that he resigned from cabinet following explosive branch stacking allegations, which he rejects.

"This morning I advised the Premier (Daniel Andrews) of my resignation as a minister," Mr Somyurek said in a statement on Monday.

However, in a press conference later on Monday, Mr Andrews said that he did not give Mr Somyurek an opportunity to resign and had sacked him.

“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.

Former Victorian Small Business Minister Adem Somyurek has announced his resignation. Source: AAP (file pic)

In his statement, Mr Somyurek said his resignation followed the “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."

An investigation by The Age and 60 Minutes alleges the upper house MP 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.

"With respect to allegations made around memberships of the party, I reject those and will be providing a rigorous defence during any party process," he said in the statement.

"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."

In the recordings, Mr 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".

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (centre) with Mr Somyurek (right) in 2018. Source: AAP

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."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he sacked the MP and didn't offer him the chance to resign. Source: ABC

When asked how he learned of the allegations, Mr Andrews replied: “when I watched the program”.

The premier described the allegations made against Mr Somyurek as “completely deplorable”.

“There is no place in my team for him,” he said.

The premier said Mr Somurek offered “no defence” for his alleged actions.

“It was not a meeting where I was having a debate or discussion with him,” Mr Andrews said.

“I was simply doing him the courtesy of informing him in person of the decisions that I had taken. Nothing he could have said, nothing he could is done would have deterred me from the decisions I had made. I had made them.”

Mr Andrews said he’s spoken with Preston MP Robin Scott and Marlene Kairouz, who were mentioned in the 60 Minutes report, and “sought from them an assurance that they have at all times behaved appropriately”.

He added he’s sought termination of Mr Somyurek’s membership with the ALP.

MP quits Labor as it moves to dump him

It has since been confirmed that Mr Somyurek has resigned from the Labor Party as it prepared to boot him out.

Mr Andrews wrote to the national executive of the Australian Labor Party seeking the termination of Mr Somyurek's membership, a move supported by federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

The national executive met at 12.30pm to address the request, but Labor's national president Wayne Swan confirmed in a statement afterwards that Mr Somyurek resigned.

Mr Swan said the committee took "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," he said.

with AAP

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