Flat White

Victorian Labor: you can close your eyes, Dan, but the stench of sleaze won’t go away

8 November 2021

6:37 PM

8 November 2021

6:37 PM

Listening to dumped Victorian Labor cabinet minister, Adem Somyurek, speak today you’d swear you had stumbled into the X Files.   

Somyurek occupies a parallel universe somewhere between ALP headquarters and Mars. That he is completely and utterly comfortable doing so is evidenced by every astounding word that tumbles from his lips.  

This balding Labor hack had a busy day at the Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission making admission after astounding admission regarding his role in ‘industrial scale‘ branch stacking on behalf of the ALP.

Somyurek, the former pin-up Upper House member was booted out of cabinet (yes cabinet) in 2020 after his activities were spectacularly aired on commercial television.

Having denied for months the decidedly unattractive, although not illegal, practice of branch stacking Somyurek today fessed up and sprayed a host of names around in the process. He also admitted to using taxpayer funds, and staff, for Labor electioneering and factional shenanigans. 

It is reassuring to know that factional warfare and the wide misuse of our money is flourishing inside the Labor machine. 

Names familiar and unfamiliar got a mention. Premier Daniel Andrews, cabinet colleague Lisa Neville, deputy federal Labor lead Richard Marles and John Eren, the state Member for Lara, all got a mention — and it wasn’t all that pretty. Even former Premiers John Brumby and  Steve Bracks received passing reference in the context that branch stacking was not unknown during their terms.   In other words, the practice is entrenched and long-standing. 

You see Adem Somyurek is a notorious hater. Very few people in the ALP hate as deeply and intensely as this man. He detests those who threw him under the ALP bus last year and, as often happens amongst this charming bunch of street fighters, the feeling is mutual.

“I don’t have a problem with my staff doing factional work … would I expect they would be doing some things that are factional, yes, but that’s going to have some limits,” Somyurek said. 

“You accept your electorate officers were engaged to some degree in factional work?” counsel for the commission, Chris Carr, asked. 

“I do accept when there is downtime, and there’s a lot of downtime, that they’d be looking at databases … but they’d also be doing personal stuff like gossiping with friends,” Somyurek said.  

At one hilarious moment in proceedings, Somyurek tried to convey the message that his staff — all paid for by Victorian taxpayer — actually cared about the concerns of constituents.

By implication, we taxpayers are also supposed to believe that Somyurek also actually cared about constituents, actual voters — you know, real people. Not a bit of it. Somyurek and doubtless many others in the splintered factions of the ALP could not care less about democracy, political process, the voter or Victoria for that matter.

As the afternoon session resumed with Adem’s forehead glistening under the IBAC lights it was time for a lesson from the star of the show on factionalism in the Labor Party.

Perhaps I misheard this most upright and learned man , but I’m certain he was saying that in internal ALP factional warfare any measure (any weapon) was acceptable. 

In the context of the “collectivist ethos” of the Labor Party, so said Somyurek, it was considered entirely appropriate to shore up your factional ramparts in the inevitable fight against other factions.

Somyurek, being of the Right faction has always been — and was again today — scathing of those on the Left of the Party (read Daniel Andrews).

Evidence provided to IBAC today merely served to confirm what jaundiced voters have always known — Labor cares only about its survival, its internal brawling and its factional allies while at the same time feigning concern for the electors who put them there and who pay them.

As tensions rose during the afternoon, Somyurek paused to give commissioner Robert Redlich a serve over his poor grasp of Labor practices. 

“You’re not a member of the Labor Party are you?” he said angrily as if only those culturally indoctrinated by Labor’s “collectivist ideology” would be able to understand what is at stake.

As this architect of the life and times of contemporary ALP factionalism prepares to appear at IBAC again tomorrow, I will be watching repeats of the X-Files for a dose of calming reality. 

Sleep well, Adem. 

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments