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.
- 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.
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
- In a packed day for the state, Queensland’s government has announced a COVID-Safe State Election Plan; a return to stadium events this weekend; and a one year wage freeze for public sector workers including teachers, nurses, police and firefighters.
- The ACT yesterday announced the territory’s schedule to restart non-contact (Friday June 19) and contact (Friday July 10) sport competition.
- Legal services in South Australia have received an additional $4.8 million in federal funding, following a spike in inquiries throughout the pandemic relating to areas including family and domestic violence matters, elder abuse, social security issues, employment matters and tenancy disputes.
- The Western Australian government announced that it has thus far delivered almost $6 million in financial support to 70 state community groups and local government authorities through the state’s Lotterywest COVID-19 Relief Fund.
- Finally, as students return to Kindergarten to Year 2, the Tasmanian government announced a “bounce back” program to be run by early learning educators.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I want [former Labor Left powerbroker Alan] Griffin destroyed. I want his head cut off and then I am going to piss on his corpse.
Labor MP Anthony Byrne
The best of the revenge texts leaked by Adem Somyurek against his former ally could only ever read like the archetypal ‘Australian politician who thinks they’re a gangster’.
It costs taxpayers millions to fund the factional system. It’s time to cut down on political staffers
“Once again ministerial staffers are front and centre in the biggest political scandal of the day.”
“Early this year, staff of the former sports minister Bridget McKenzie were shown to have played a key role in the systematic rorting of sports grants, after the Australian National Audit Office used its powers to force them to give evidence.”
“This isn’t the first time Dan Andrews’ Labor government has been embroiled in a politically-damaging scandal. Three months before the 2018 election, 17 former campaign operatives were arrested in a series of dawn police raids. It was the most dramatic point in a scandal that had been simmering for nearly all of Andrews’ first term as premier.”
“Well, life comes at you pretty fast in the Victorian ALP. Also, another substance, once it hits the fan.”
“Last week Adem Somyurek was on track to control a big chunk of the federal Labor Party and most of Victoria. This week, he’s out of the party, and the two lieutenants in his mini-faction — Robin Scott (MLA for Preston) and Marlene Kairouz (MLA for Kororoit) — are out of the ministry (and, I would imagine, under threat as preselections are spilled).”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Labor must now beware Adem Somyurek’s poison apples ($) — 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 again — John 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 memory — Barry 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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National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Allan Gyngell will speak in the latest Australia Institute webinar, War is not a Metaphor: Misrepresenting Policy Issues as Security Problems, in conversation with director of the AI’s International & Security Affairs Program Allan Behm.