Sunrise: Somyurek Scandal

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
SUNRISE, SEVEN NETWORK
16 JUNE 2020

Topics: Adem Somyurek

Sam Armytage
We are joined by former prime minister and Labor leader Kevin Rudd. Kevin, good morning to you. These are shocking allegations these types are outrageous. It’s what was your first thought when you heard all of this? Were you surprised?

Kevin Rudd
Yeah, I first met Somyurek more than a decade or so ago. He was a minor party functionary back then. But obviously, as I said the other night, Frankenstein’s monster has turned into Frankenstein and the level of influence which he’s now secured across the factional network in the state of Victoria is horrendous. And the key questions are legality. The key questions are also Labor Party standards. It’s actually against Labor Party rules to pay for other people’s memberships. So the decision taken by Daniel Andrews to boot him out, the decision taken by Anthony Albanese to have him booted out of the Australian Labor Party were the right responses to this appalling abuse of power.

Sam Armytage
Daniel Andrew is the premier says, insists that he knew nothing. Do you believe that? And Anthony Albanese said on TV last night that he had barely met Somyurek. So they’re all distancing themselves. Do you believe that?

Kevin Rudd
Oh look, the bottom line is if you’re the federal parliamentary leader, it’s entirely reasonable in Albo’s case to state that you’ve had very little contact with such a person. If you dig, I’m sure you’ll find photographs of me with Mr Somyurek as hundreds or thousands of branch members and/or party activists line up for photographs. That doesn’t mean you know them or their individual activities. So it doesn’t surprise me that Albo, coming from New South Wales, has had absolutely nothing to do with this individual. And secondly, in terms of Daniel Andrews, my judgement of Mr Andrews is that he comes from a side of Victorian politics, which is not at all supported by Mr Somyurek’s factional operations. So the claims made by the Victorian premier are certainly ones which I would support, but this is a cancer of the Labor Party that needs to be extracted, and that’s why it needs to be acted on decisively, not just in this case, but to prevent it from reoccurring anywhere.

Sam Armytage
Yes. Kevin, just quickly on this, what does this mean for the future of the Labor Party? We see these factional fights within the party often. I know you went through this in 2013 with the New South Wales Labor Party. I mean, will this sort of stuff just continue while the Labour Party is structured the way it is?

Kevin Rudd
Well, factional power and abusive factional power, to be blunt, is a cancer both within the Liberal Party — look at what happens in New South Wales between the right and left factions — and the Labor Party. And so long as you have Faceless Men — and they usually are men — lurking in backrooms seeking to exercise power secretly, rather than openly and transparently, like having a discussion on a program such as this about what the party stands for, what your views are on the nation’s future, and how do we make a difference to turn the dial on behalf of working families. So long as you have any darkness in either mains political party which enables this sort of factional power to accumulate, it’s a cancer on our democracy and needs to be rooted out on both sides of politics.

Sam Armytage
Okay, Kevin Rudd, thank you. We appreciate your knowledge on this one.