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FIRST BLOOD: Dan Andrews minister falls for his sword after just ONE day of IBAC hearings

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A public inquiry into alleged corruption within the government of Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has revealed the first scalp within hours of opening.

Victorian Labor Secretary Luke Donnellan sensationally resigned from cabinet on Monday after the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission heard an allegation that he had paid for other people’s party memberships.

He will take the back seat in disgrace after being thrown under the bus by Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne, who has admitted to doing rampant and repeated ‘branch stacking’.

Victorian Labor Secretary Luke Donnellan has resigned from his post after the first day of a public inquiry by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission

Labor member for Holt Anthony Byrne (left) spent Monday exposing the dirty inner actions of the Australian Labor Party

Labor member for Holt Anthony Byrne (left) spent Monday exposing the dirty inner actions of the Australian Labor Party

Former Victorian minister Adem Somyurek has been accused of stacking branches

Former Victorian minister Adem Somyurek has been accused of stacking branches

The public hearings will also address “accusations that public money intended to fund community associations was misused for partisan work or other improper purposes.”

The hearings are expected to last at least a month and drag on a slew of ALP power brokers — possibly even the prime minister himself.

When he announced his resignation Monday afternoon, Mr Donnellan admitted to stacking branches but denied ever misusing public funds.

“I accept that I have broken party rules as a minister before. But let me be very clear: I have not misused public funds or resources in any way,” he said in a statement.

Mr Andrews released a short statement immediately afterward in which he paid tribute to the ex-Minister for Child Protection and Disability, Aging and Carers.

However, he refused to get involved in the scandal, which has already exposed scathing allegations of dodgy in the Labor party.

“Due to investigations currently underway on foot, I will not comment further,” Mr Andrews said Monday.

Mr Donnellan claimed that he had only resigned for violating party rules because of the allegedly shunned practice of stacking branches.

“I do not believe it is possible or appropriate to maintain my ministerial responsibilities given these rule violations,” he said.

Branch stacking is a practice within political parties in which people are recruited into a branch of a political party to influence who is pre-selected as an election candidate.

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has declined to comment on the IBAC investigation.  He is pictured during the public inquiry into his disastrous hotel quarantine plan

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has declined to comment on the IBAC investigation. He is pictured during the public inquiry into his disastrous hotel quarantine plan

Adem Somyurek (right) and Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (center) were once close allies

Adem Somyurek (right) and Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (center) were once close allies

It comes with the problem of certain factions of political parties boosting membership in view of the pre-selection votes to ensure that the favored candidate gets the job.

In a drama-filled day, the investigation learned that Mr. Donnellan was involved in a factional alliance with former Labor Minister Adem Somyurek and contributed to a pussy used to pay for ALP memberships to control affiliates and gain positions in the parliament for allies.

Over the course of the day, Mr. Byrne made a series of claims suggesting that Mr. Somyurek was an ALP power broker, who was behind a widespread establishment of branches.

“The party got completely out of hand. I’ve seen and heard things I never thought I’d see in a modern Labor party,” he told the inquiry.

“I’m talking about stacking branches, I’m talking about forcing staff to do things they don’t want to do. I was referring to a party that was taken over by one person whose only goal was power and power alone.’

Mr Byrne claimed he blew Mr Somyurek out of fear of driving the party “off a cliff” with the dodgy practice.

Mr Somyurek, who denies the claims, was first elected to the Victorian Parliament in 2002 and was sworn in as Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade in the Andrews administration in December 2014.

An investigation into the alleged stacking of branches by Channel 9’s Nick McKenzie saw him leave the party last year.

Commissioner Robert Redlich speaks at Operation Watts' public hearing on Monday

Commissioner Robert Redlich speaks at Operation Watts’ public hearing on Monday

Counsel who assisted Chris Carr snatched Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne at Monday's IBAC hearing

Counsel who assisted Chris Carr snatched Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne at Monday’s IBAC hearing

Victorian Labor Secretary Luke Donnellan did not survive the first day of the IBAC investigation

Victorian Labor Secretary Luke Donnellan did not survive the first day of the IBAC investigation

He has yet to face the public inquiry, which is being streamed live to homes across the country.

Mr. Byrne told the inquiry that he and Mr. Somyurek had been close allies and would hold ALP fundraisers to pay for the memberships of industry participants.

Both Mr Somyurek and Mr Donnellan once worked in Mr Byrne’s electoral office.

Byrne said in 2002 that he reached out to the party’s socialist left-wing faction to negotiate a deal to minimize branch stacking in the Southeast.

“Stacking branches was corrupt, stacking branches rips the soul out of the Labor party and the community,” he said.

When asked whether Labor HQ turned a blind eye, Mr Byrne replied: ‘I don’t know if I would say turn a blind eye…I would say I felt powerless to stop it’.

Mr Byrne claimed to have tried to distance himself from Mr Somyurek after asking him to hire two mates who allegedly played a role in the then minister’s rise to power.

Mr Byrne claimed he had been asked to pay them a wage despite the couple having no intention of ever doing any real work.

During the investigation, Mr Byrne learned that at one point they had amassed a ‘huge’ number of members of Indian descent to get one into the Andrews government.

He told IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich, QC, that he had hoped that Mr Somyurek would stop the practice if he became a minister, but he declined.

Mr Byrne claimed Mr Somyurek had “relentless focus” on branch stacking and would instruct ministerial and election officials to recruit ALP members while on the clock for taxpayers.

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