A senior Victorian government minister has been accused of branch-stacking using both taxpayer funds and his own cash.
An investigation by The Age and 60 Minutes has revealed upper house MP Adem Somyurek 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.
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 advisor reportedly carried out a similar cash drop-off earlier in the year.
"Well, if he (the advisor) 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, 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.
In one recording, Mr Somyurek boasts of controlling two-thirds of the Labor party in Victoria.
"I'll be just running the joint," Mr Somyurek says.
"It's who I say is going to be the f***ing premier."
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".
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 Victorian state government has been contacted for comment.
Australian Associated Press