News National Labor to review Labor: National executive takes over Victorian branch
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Labor to review Labor: National executive takes over Victorian branch

Labor's national executive is to step in to clean up the Victorian branch, taking over preselections and appointing two administrators. Photo: AAP
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Labor’s national executive is to step in to clean up the Victorian branch, taking over preselections and appointing two administrators.

Three frontbenchers have been forced out of the Victorian state cabinet over a branch-stacking and in-fighting scandal.

The national leadership is expected to decide at a Tuesday night video hookup to appoint former premier Steve Bracks and former federal minister Jenny Macklin as administrators to oversee the clean up until the end of January.

A draft resolution said all voting rights in the Victorian branch would be suspended until 2023 and federal and state preselections would be run by the national executive.

“I have no confidence in the integrity of any voting rolls produced for any internal elections in the Victorian branch,” Premier Daniel Andrews wrote to the executive.

“Accordingly, we must suspend those elections and begin a long and critical process of validating each and every member of the Labor Party in Victoria as genuine, consenting and self-funded.”

An initial report on new integrity measures would be due in July while a final report would be submitted in November.

There will be a big clean out of the Victorian Labor branch.

The draft motion said the national executive had asked that new measures ensured that the Victorian branch solely comprised “genuine, consenting, self-funding party members”.

Mr Andrews earlier said he expected reform.

“No one should underestimate my resolve to deal with these issues properly to make sure that we make really significant reform,” he told reporters.

Party powerbroker Adem Somyurek has been banished from Labor after being caught handing over cash and using parliamentary staff to create fake branch members and amass political influence.

Two of his allies – Robin Scott and Marlene Kairouz – have also resigned from the ministry.

The scandal exposed by 60 Minutes threatens to seep through federal Labor ranks.

Even so, there was no mention of Mr Somyurek or the Victorian crisis during a long federal Labor caucus meeting in Canberra on Tuesday.

The factional heavy claimed to be protecting federal MP Anthony Byrne in whose office some of the footage was filmed.

A state Labor MP has called for the Australian Federal Police and ASIO to investigate the covert recordings.

Mordialloc MP Tim Richardson is concerned, given Mr Byrne is the deputy chair of the powerful parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.

“We don’t know who put those recordings in. We don’t know what’s been compromised,” he told reporters.

“That’s a great concern for our commonwealth and our national security.”

adem somyurek labor branch
Adem Somyurek, who denies the allegations, has quit the ALP.

Former senator Stephen Conroy alleged Mr Somyurek intimidated federal Labor MPs including Tim Watts, Julian Hill, Joanne Ryan and Rob Mitchell.

“The intimidation of federal MPs is to be absolutely deplored,” he told Sky News.

Mr Somyurek was also recorded claiming Labor MP Josh Burns relied on his support.

“It’s not true and I am my own person in the Labor Party,” Mr Burns told the ABC.

“I think that there are clearly issues, though, that we need to deal with as a party.”

He said an arm’s length inquiry was needed to restore trust.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten says the party thought it had stamped out branch-stacking until the “shocking and reprehensible” Victorian scandal erupted.

“The party has been trying to clean up branch stacking across Australia and … well, we thought it had, but clearly it hadn’t in Victoria,” Mr Shorten told Nine.

“Every person’s credentials need to be checked again. Did they pay for it, their own membership?”