No Confidence: Vic Labor in the hands of administrators
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has declared "no confidence" in the integrity of the ALP's own membership roll in an extraordinary letter demanding a suspension of rank and file preselections until 2023.
In a dramatic bid to "clean house" after branch stacking allegations, the ALP national executive will now determine who is preselected as Labor candidates for the next federal election, while a full audit of every member is conducted.
ALP National President Wayne Swan confirmed the news on Tuesday night, saying the party's National Executive branch has endorsed administrators to run the party and recommend how it can be "restructured and reconstituted so that the branch membership comprises genuine, consenting, self-funding party members."
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews had privately declared "no confidence" in the current ALP membership roll in the state amid fears it was hopelessly tainted by fake members and branch stacking.
In a letter obtained by news.com.au, Mr Andrews outlines those fears to the ALP's national executive for the first time, insisting the extraordinary measures are necessary to "guarantee integrity and probity in all our affairs".
"I have no confidence in the integrity of the voting rolls that are produced for any internal elections in the Victorian branch,'' the Victorian Premier writes.
"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.
"I cannot accept another review that, while well-intentioned, cannot and will not deliver the profound reform that is required.
"I have asked Steve Bracks and Jenny Macklin to serve as administrators of the Victorian Branch while this process is undertaken."
On Tuesday night ALP President Wayne Swan confirmed that an emergency meeting of the ALP national executive had taken place and endorsed the new administrators, Steve Bracks and Jenny Macklin until 31 January 2021.
"The conduct exposed in recent days is reprehensible and at odds with everything the ALP stands for," he said.
"The National Executive takes these matters incredibly seriously, and the gravity of this step cannot be understated."
It comes after Mr Andrews also wrote to the ALP executive on Monday advising of his intention to charge Mr Somyurek under the ALP rules, possibly a moot point because he has already quit the party.
"I write to notify you of my intention to charge Mr Adem Somyurek with offences under the Australian Labor Party Branch rules, and to request the National Executive hear and determine those charges, and if satisfied that offences have been committed, expel Mr Adem Somyurek as a member of the Australian Labor Party,'' he said.
"Reports broadcast on 60 Minutes on 14 June 2020 … show Mr Somyurek making threats about a Cabinet minister, and derogatory remarks about Members of Parliament, Young Labor members and others.
"The reports also identify significant evidence of offences relating to party memberships. In my view, the ALP should not have a member who conducts himself in this manner. I will write to you shortly in relation to the charges.
"I also advise you that the Victorian Attorney-General has referred all of these matters to Victoria Police and the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission."
As a result, the ALP national executive will take full control of the Victorian division after days of turmoil over secret tapes featuring Labor powerbrokers boasting of controlling who becomes federal MPs and who is dumped.
The decision will empower Labor leader Anthony Albanese to effectively pick and choose Victorian candidates through the ALP national executive for several years.
The intervention follows the sacking of former minister Adem Somyurek after 60 Minutes broadcast surveillance footage of him plotting to control preselections and declaring "F**k the premier" in relation to Mr Andrews.
He also described a female Victorian minister as a "psycho b*tch" and vowed to knock her head off.
The allegations of branch stacking and dirty deals have claimed two further ministerial scalps in the 48 hours since the program aired by MPs who deny wrongdoing but vowed to fight to clear their names.
An official announcement outlining the historic intervention into the Victorian ALP is expected to follow a phone hook up of the ALP national executive to be held on Wednesday.
Earlier, Labor leader Anthony Albanese did not mention the extraordinary drama playing out as the ALP's national executive committee held a phone hook up to determine next steps.
Despite blanket headlines around the country over the secret tapes that have already claimed the careers of three ministers in Victorian Premier Dan Andrews' government, not a single Labor MP or senator wanted to discuss the scandal.
Asked today on Channel 10's Studio 10 whether the Labor Party will effectively have to "wipe out the Victorian branch and take over" Mr Albanese said some form of federal intervention was guaranteed.
"Well, there will be a need for some national involvement. And Daniel Andrews is asking for that,'' Mr Albanese said.
Originally published as Dan declares 'no confidence' in leaked letter