‘He should go to jail': Hanson slams MP
One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson has lashed out over explosive corruption allegations against Adem Somyurek, saying the Victorian Labor MP should have "the book thrown at him", citing her own stint in prison.
"Of course he should go to jail for it," Ms Hanson said on Channel 9's Today this morning.
"He was telling the businessman to forge people's signatures … I hope the book is thrown at him. He should be out of parliament, (Victorian Premier) Daniel Andrews should get rid of him, there should be a full investigation."
Mr Andrews is today expected to address the explosive allegations of branch-stacking by a minister he once described as a "very good friend".
An investigation by The Age and 60 Minutes revealed 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.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has called for an investigation.
"This is obviously unacceptable," Mr McCormack told the ABC on Monday.
"There's obviously questions for Labor to address in this matter. And so they should. And you know, it's just not on ... of course, there should be an inquiry into it."
Footage shows 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.
The adviser reportedly carried out a similar cash drop-off earlier in the year.
"Well, if he (the adviser) 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 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.
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.
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".
Mr Somyurek also describes these young staffers helping him as "patronising and annoying", and "real little f***ing slimy little f***ers, little passive-aggressive f***ing gay kids".'
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 his "very good friend" 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.
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien has described the allegations as a "shocking failure of judgment by Daniel Andrews".
"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," he said in a statement.
Mr O'Brien is calling for Mr Somyurek, Ms Kairouz and Mr Scott and their staff to be stood down and their offices secured pending an investigation by IBAC and Victoria Police.
Speaking on Today, Ms Hanson referenced her own 2003 conviction for electoral fraud that was overturned on appeal after she had spent 11 weeks in jail.
"They threw me in prison on the basis of whether they were members of a political party or members of the Pauline Hanson Support Movement - I got three years for that," she said.
"I was innocent of it and there was no real proof. I was set up and (my imprisonment) was political."
She said if nothing happened about Mr Somyurek "then the public needs to start jumping up and down".
"There is corruption in our political parties and it needs to stop," she said.
"He wanted to control, he thinks he is the kingpin, and when you have a member of parliament who's supposed to be working for the people and he can actually then control who gets into Parliament, that is a problem because they're always beholden."
She added, "Whether Daniel Andrews is going to do anything about it is another thing because maybe this man has got that much dirt on a lot of the other politicians that nothing will happen about it."
Originally published as 'He should go to jail': Hanson slams MP