Adem Somyurek
(Image: AAP/Daniel Pockett)

HOW TO BYRNE A FORMER ALLY

In his first apparent payback ploy, Adem Somyurek has leaked more than two years’ worth of filthy texts from federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne, a former ally who earlier announced plans to cooperate with police and IBAC investigations after secret recordings in his Melbourne electorate office proved crucial in toppling Somyurek.

Both The Australian ($) and The Age have today’s “exclusive” list of texts, none of which, you’ll notice, are quite on par with branch stacking. They include, but are by no means limited to, Byrne:

  • calling former colleague Sam Dastyari a “crooked, corrupt fuck” (July 31, 2017, i.e. pre-Dasha’s downfall).
  • hoping — amidst a failed preselection battle for factional ally Jane Garrett — that Premier Daniel Andrews “enjoys the victory” and it “signs his death warrant politically’.’
  • planning to “dynamite” left factional rivals’ attempts to recruit Afghan community members by meeting with an Afghan ambassador.
  • calling Bill Shorten a “white Anglo Xavier boy. He’s never put anyone into parliament. And he’s never thanked me for getting him preselected after Conroy tried to […] me’’

Byrne, whose relationship with Somyurek had reportedly frayed over the past six months, has since accused his former ally of cherry-picking:

Somyurek has selectively released a handpicked selection of my text messages to him sent over two years just hours after I made a public statement that I had contacted authorities and would assist with their corruption investigations into him. That speaks for itself.

IN CASE LABOR DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT: The Guardian’s latest expense scandal reports that Chris Bowen billed taxpayers for a four-hour trip around Adelaide, where he spent most of his time at a party fundraiser but also had a press conference and, according to a spokeswoman, multiple stakeholder meetings.

POST-BREXIT PLANS

Australia and the UK have begun formal negotiations for a post-Brexit free trade deal, with The Sydney Morning Herald reporting that UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss will emphasise travel reform for professional workers in order to grow movement, investment and competition in the two countries’ services sectors.

Additionally, to spruik negotiations — which reportedly might consider the unlikely possibility of free travel — Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has written something of a love letter to the UK-Australian relationship in London’s Daily Telegraph (via The Sydney Morning Herald).

NOT ALL BANGERS AND MASH: According to the ABC, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has returned Foreign Minister Marise Payne accusations of spreading COVID-19 disinformation and political manipulation, countering evidence of China’s state-run Twitter operations with Australia’s denial over China’s allegations of racist incidents in a domestic travel warning.

ALBO GOES IN TO BAT FOR DETAINED EX-CON

According to The Australian ($), Anthony Albanese has written to Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge to resolve the three-year detention of an Iraqi-born, Australian-raised man currently in Villawood.

The man, whose 19-year-old humanitarian visa was revoked in 2016 after serving five years in jail over gang-related convictions, has been found by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to “pose no threat to Australia”; Albanese is now calling for a decision after earlier “seeking an update to the review of his case in September 2019 wherein we were advised that his application was still being processed”.

IN ROUGHLY THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION: The Queensland government has passed a bill denying bail for repeat youth offenders; this push to increase the number of incarcerated young people comes just one year after Four Corners discovered children were being held in isolated adult watch houses due to overcrowded youth detention centres.

STATE VIRUS WATCH: QUEENSLAND’S BUSY DAY

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I want [former Labor Left powerbroker Alan] Griffin destroyed. I want his head cut off and then I am going to piss on his corpse.

Labor MP Anthony Byrne

The best of the revenge texts leaked by Adem Somyurek against his former ally could only ever read like the archetypal ‘Australian politician who thinks they’re a gangster’.

CRIKEY RECAP

It costs taxpayers millions to fund the factional system. It’s time to cut down on political staffers

“Once again ministerial staffers are front and centre in the biggest political scandal of the day.”

“Early this year, staff of the former sports minister Bridget McKenzie were shown to have played a key role in the systematic rorting of sports grants, after the Australian National Audit Office used its powers to force them to give evidence.”


Remembering the red shirts scandal — and how nothing much changed because of it

“This isn’t the first time Dan Andrews’ Labor government has been embroiled in a politically-damaging scandal. Three months before the 2018 election, 17 former campaign operatives were arrested in a series of dawn police raids. It was the most dramatic point in a scandal that had been simmering for nearly all of Andrews’ first term as premier.”


How ethnic power replaced unions in the Victorian ALP — and what might happen next

“Well, life comes at you pretty fast in the Victorian ALP. Also, another substance, once it hits the fan.”

“Last week Adem Somyurek was on track to control a big chunk of the federal Labor Party and most of Victoria. This week, he’s out of the party, and the two lieutenants in his mini-faction — Robin Scott (MLA for Preston) and Marlene Kairouz (MLA for Kororoit) — are out of the ministry (and, I would imagine, under threat as preselections are spilled).”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Son of independent MP who backed CFA revamp bill got fireys union job

Old jobs may have to go in PM’s recovery plan ($)

Experts warn of housing ‘time bomb’ when Covid rent laws expire and welfare halves

Shooters support means Labor is gunning for Eden by-election win ($)

Greens push to ban dirty political donations and restore democracy

Trump administration sues John Bolton to delay release of book

First human trial of University of QLD COVID-19 vaccine days away ($)

US admits flaws as UN human rights body set to debate racism

New Beijing outbreak raises fears for the rest of the world

China and India agree to peacefully solve border tensions after fatal clash

THE COMMENTARIAT

Labor must now beware Adem Somyurek’s poison apples ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “Whatever joy followed the toppling­ of a much-hated power­broker inside the Labor Party was quickly tempered by trepidation about what will certainly follow. Those who know Adem Somyurek, who have been fighting him for years and warning others about him, are confident there will be retribution — there will be other soiled reputations, careers wrecked and rolling Labor instability from now until the next federal­ election.”

Take it from one who’s been burnt attempting tax reform: now’s the time to try againJohn Hewson (The Sydney Morning Herald): “My main mistake as opposition leader in advocating broad-based tax reform in the early 1990s — as a key element of the Coalition’s Fightback campaign for broad government reform — was to misread the politics. I assumed that Paul Keating could be held to his word, particularly his public support for a consumption tax after his “option c” — defined by a 12.5% consumption tax — had been scuttled by a motel room deal between Bob Hawke and ACTU leader Bill Kelty.”

The chokehold of slavery on settler memoryBarry Corr (Overland):Scott Morrison’s recent qualification of his statements regarding the history of slavery in Australia, apparently limiting his denial to NSW, tells us a lot about the use of history in settler societies. It’s possible that the popular idea of sugar and cotton plantations of the Caribbean and southern states of the USA have distorted our understandings of slavery. As frequently pointed out, Governor Phillip’s instructions on slavery were clear; there was to be no slavery in NSW, the colony was to be an experiment in penitentiary reform.”

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