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12 Oct, 154 tweets, 56 min read
I'll start the #OpWatts thread here, although still waiting for the stream to start. I'll be using abbreviations today to make things easier and cram more in.
W - Witness
CR - Commissioner Redlich
CA - Council Assisting
SC - Somyurek's Council

And with that, stream's up!
Today's witness (W) is Adam Sullivan, a former staffer of Adem Somyurek. CR is now running through the formalities of the day.
Witness to be asked about employment, duties, party political work, factional activity, processes/manipulations, ALP membership
(cont) falsification of documents, ballot papers, public funds used for party activities.
Very much the same stuff Byrne was questioned about, and quite a thorough list.
Witness now being sworn/affirmed, then we're away!
Witness confirms he is aware and understands his rights and obligations to CR.
CR recounts that witness cannot dodge questions due to secrecy obligations, which is probably why some stuff happens off stream, that's my guess anyway.
And it's over to CA for Qs!
CA starts off asking about witness background.
Confirms political involvement started at Uni, around 2013 Fed election. Witness wanted to get involved, got into Labor politics during 2014-15.
Joined Labor party March of 2013.
Got involved in volunteering.
Witness was living in Fed electorate of Holt at the time (Byrne's electorate) and went to a branch meeting there.
Began volunteering for Byrne during 2013 election.
CA asks about campaigning on university campus, witness confirms yes, but post 2013.
CA - Labor? W - yes
Witness began working for Tim Richardson after state Labor won the 2014 Victorian election.
Later employed as an electorate officer in Byrne's office.
Had a "broad brief" of duties.
CR intervenes to confirm earlier roles were electoral office jobs - Yes.
CA now asks about activities detailed so far to IBAC by Byrne, asks witness if they witnessed similar activities.
Witness confirms he did, and lists several items.
CA asks about funding and where it came from.
Witness says funding from MPs - Somyurek, Byrne, Michaelson
Witness confirms money handed to him, $700 from Byrne, $2000 from Somyurek, $4-5k from Michaelson, and cash was deposited to the "kitty"
Witness confirms was employed by Somyurek at the time, then moved on to Kairouz office.
CA now focusing on time in Byrne's office up to 2017.
CA asks about where funds came from during this time.
W - Can't give precise examples, but saw money going into the kitty.
CA pressing him for specifics. Witness claims was aware, but didn't witness directly.
Witness says quite believably that he was too junior to be trusted to witness such things at that stage of his career.
CA asks if witness has been in any dodgy/criminal activity prior to that, Witness claims no.
CA asks about shame at any activities. W - yes.
CA asks about a specific example now. Misappropriation of electoral office budget in Somyurek's office. Witness mentions purchase of stamps on parliamentary budget, for office mailout work. Stamps were used for party mailouts, Tim Richardson's campaign.

Purchases were deliberately spread out over time to avoid scrutiny. Over 10k stamps involved, the majority went to Richardson's election campaign.
CR intervenes to ask CA to detail the process before pursuing this matter further.
Witness is now detailing the differences between parliamentary and party work. Electoral officers sign off on the parl expenses. And budget must be signed off by parliamentary services as legit.
CR asks about oversight/audits from PS on the office
W - can't recall
Aaaaaaand we're back in #SuperSecretStreaming mode for now, will let you know when it's back up.

(It would be nice if they could put up a countdown so one knew if one had time to rush or even saunter downstairs for a coffee refill 😑)
And no coffee time, straight back into it. And somebody has been named, and that name won't be mentioned in further evidence, just "Mr Byrne's staff member."
CA asking how did W come to be involved in "those sort of activities"
W - didn't imagine doing "those activities"
Back to the stamps, was it Nick McLennan who approved it, W claims that it came via Somyurek through McLennan
CR wants to know if W had direct knowledge Somyurek was involved - "No"
CA asking if W would have checked with Somyurek if he had doubts.
W - seemed ordinary

CR intervening to draw an inference about improper activities going on, being known about, and not objected to by all parties. Witness accepts this.
CR also wants to know the volume of the misappropriation via stamps
W - estimates $11-14k
CA going back in time now to ask about W moving from Byrne's office to Somyurek's office.
#RedShirts gets brought up again.
Ooooooo "Rogues Gallery"....spicy!
Witness is discussing Somyurek not having an Electoral officer at the time. Not exactly clear here but.....
(cont) seems that Somyurek may have been only employing rogues who had no oversight and full control, and in the #RedShirts environment it looked bad, so the witness was installed there.
CR is intervening here to try and clarify this.
CA asks about the relationship between Byrne and Somyurek at the time. Witness confirms still congenial. Somyurek himself called witness to request transfer to his office. Byrne and Somyurek later conferred and agreed to it.
Request came out of the blue for the witness.
CA - was Byrne surprised when you informed him of Somyurek's offer? W - "No"
CA - why were you hesitant to accept working for Somyurek?
W - He had a reputation at this time for some dodgy behaviour. His office had a "dysfunctional" reputation.
McLennan found it taxing.
W - I felt i was being set up to fail. Am i supposed to clean this up? Or go in and enable what's going on already to continue.
Shaun Ginsbourg, council for the witness(will use CW for this) intervening.
Asking witness to describe a "functional office" for context.
CW asking for specific examples of legit activities of an electorate officer. Witness is listing the kinds of things you would be expecting, activities for connecting the people's representative with the people.
CW asks about proportion of time spent on legit activity
W - Byrne's office had a high degree of legit activity, occasional factional work.
And back to CA now. Back to the hesitancy of working for Somyurek.
W - felt he would have put Somyurek offside, and admits to wanting party advancement, would have hurt that.
CA asks about political career ambitions. Witness confirms he did, and upsetting Somyurek would likely have hampered that ambition.
Witness describes leaving in April 2018 to work for Kairouz, until end of 2018.
Started with Tien Kieu Jan 2019, until Jan 2020
CA now asking about other people working with him at the time in Somyurek's office, a bunch of names get run off, I'm not even going to bother trying to catch them.
All working as electorate officers, a mix of fulltime, part time and casual employment.
Starting with Ms Chianshey?
Her attendance was sporadic and may have been noticed, causing problems.
And #SuperSecretStreaming mode has been activated again. We'll be back shortly, or not.
And we're back, and discussing electorate officers being seen to be employed with no work to do, presumably to do with how many Somyurek had employed.
CR intervenes to ask who did the constituent work for Somyurek.
W - essentially none, they didn't visit the office.
CR asking about the activities of electorate officers, and witness saying that there is very little they can do without direction from the MP
CR infers that electorate officer funding is being poorly used, and the witness agrees.
CW wants to intervene, CA is pre-empting
The topic is "office clean up" and whether it's literally intended or metaphorically intended, we're going to keep going and lay it out for now.
CA asking if lower house members are busier than upper house members.
W states those members are more in the mind of public.
Witness goes on to describe a Labor caucus arrangement where division of labor is made among lower/upper houses. And factions are involved here, presumably why CA is pursuing this line of questioning.
CA asking about difference in $ for electoral officer allowance.
Witness believes the electorate officer allowance was same for upper & lower house.
Witness describing staff arrangements, either 1 f/time and 2 p/time, or 2 full/t and 1 p/time.
CA - Is there any obligation to use the maximum allowance?
Witness - No
CA asks if there was no volume of work in Somyurek's office, there wasn't a justification for full employment. Witness agrees it's a fair statement.
CA asks for examples of MP's who didn't use their full allowance. Witness agrees some examples, but no direct knowledge
CA asking about Hamdi Kooyew? now.
He was part time, but generally attended when he was rostered on.
CA asking what activities he was involved in.
W - On the phone with other party people, occasional face to face with constituent visitors.
Now asking about a Pira? Even CA gave up trying to say it.
He was a Monday employee, working between Somyurek and Byrne's office.
Mr Hirako now, witness says he was punctual, but not full time, another one living far from the SE suburbs office.
CA now asks if W witnessed any factional work. W can't positively confirm, but suspects it was going on.
CR intervenes seeking direct evidence, witness can only assume, speculate.
CA asking about community organisation connections for these part timers.
Witness states he wasn't initially aware of any connections, but later discovered connections to some migrant community groups, who could have been useful for factional activities.
CA now asking about Pina?
Seems to have replaced the witness when he moved to Kairouz.
CA says records suggest she was employed full time at the same time witness was employed in Somyurek's office mid 2017-April2018.
CA seems to be looking for a non attending full time staffer.
CA is stepping through it now after CW intervened to clarify dates.
Witness seems to be ignorant of Pira's full time status, definitely didn't see her in that office on a full time basis.
CA really wants to nail this down as a clear cut case of misappropriation. Witness was under impression she was overseas.
And here comes the office cleaning issue!
CA asking about physical state first.
W - decrepit, run down, complete with cobwebs. Part of it resembled a warehouse. "Not a model of cleanliness."
CA - appeared to be not regularly cleaned(Think I can see where this is going)
Witness describes doing some cleaning himself, due to the lack of actual constituent work to do. Tidying, organising, vacuuming. Sorting out the cockroaches in the kitchen.
($5 says CA have cleaner invoices for Somyurek's office.)
Here we go, CA now asking witness did he see signs anybody had cleaned the office while he was not present. Witness says just the bathroom maybe.
CA - did you see Somyurek in his office at all?
W - maybe just once in the 9 months.
CA now pushing the angle that Somyurek was a poor attendee of his own electoral office, compared to other MPs and ministers. Witness agrees.

And we're going to take a break here, as the topic is about to change. Will be back in about ten minutes
And we're back! And some stuff has happened off camera I think, but not sure it was substantial, seems to have been IBAC conferring among themselves.
Oooooo, here we go! Somyurek's father turned up to the office to collect on an unpaid invoice for cleaning the electorate office. I knew CA was going somewhere on this, just too focused.
CA asks if cleaning by family members is common practice, Witness confirms it's not.
Now we're back to Pira? again. And asking about her employment, and a termination payout?
Witness did not see her at his first week of working at Somyurek's office.
Feb 2018-April 2018 she was hired as a casual.
She was paid ~ 6 weeks as full time daily casual.
CA asking if she was seen at all during that time.
Clarifies "did she attend the office?"
Witness doesn't recall seeing "that sort of attendance(daily)"
Recalls occasional attendance, CA drilling down for specifics.
Witness - few hours, 1-2 days/week
Also an hour or so 3-4 days per week, but far from 9-5 Mon-Fri attendance.
CA asks about the type of work she was doing.
"Nothing that would approach typical electorate officer work"
She was on the computer, but NFI what she was up to.
IBAC clearly has some examples of misappropriation they intend to prosecute, and this is one of them. They give the witness a chance to lie, then get very specific.
CA is moving on now to the general topic of factional work by the witness.
Witness confirms he performed "factional work" in Byrne's office. CA lists a bunch of membership activities to define factional work for the purposes of what's being discussed right now, witness agrees to it
CA asks if factional work was done by witness in other offices.
Witness states that he did not do factional work in other offices.

And we're having technical difficulties with the video feed for the witness, so we're taking a short break again.
And we're back again with Adam Sullivan on video feed! Back to the questions.
CA back to the topic of "factional work" and who W did it for.
Initially none of it for Byrne, but in 2017(maybe late 2016) started to get somewhat involved in membership type activities.
CA now clarifies, he wanted to know about prior to employment in Byrnes office, and witness confirms that he had no involvement or engagement prior to working for Byrne.
CA brings up Red Shirts again for context. Was the witness conscious of it, aware of mention of it.
Witness states that Red Shirts was not discussed, nor any caution of that investigation damping branch stacking or factional activities.
CA asks witness to confirm he was politically engaged during this time, witness agrees
CA asks witness to confirm Red Shirts awareness
CR now intervenes to obtain witnesses understanding of the issues of the #RedShirts case, and why it was improper. Witness accurately describes the crossover and conflict between parliamentary and party political work. Seems he knew full well it was wrong.
CR wants to confirm that witnesses understanding of the Red Shirts issues was informed, and that it's similarly wrong for branch stacking activities along the same vein. Witness agrees.
CA - Did anybody ask about the wrongness of branch stacking?
Witness describes a "negligible effect" on Labor party behaviour. Sounds like Labor saw it as a separate side issue, and as long as they didn't do exactly the same thing again, they'd be fine. WOW.......
Witness now talking about the red shirt whistle blower.
A newcomer, with nothing much to lose. Witness describes that within his circle there was more investment, more skeletons, and nobody was going to blow any whistles.
"Mutually assured destruction" gets a run.
CA now pursues witness's introduction, while a cleanskin.
Witness describes a morally and ethically bankrupt practice, but not really answering. CR now intervenes to refer him to an earlier answer where you had to play by the dirty rules if you had ambition, and the witness agrees with this characterisation.

CR still pushing on this, wants to know if the witness had a factional alignment prior to working for Byrne. Witness confirms he did, SDA/Young Labor and it was part of moderate Labor, and Mod Labor split after witness joined Byrne's office, and witness stayed with them
CR still on Red Shirts, wants to know if similar irregularities were going on during the ombudsman's investigation. Witness uncertain.
CR wants to know if membership activities were new to witness when he joined Byrne's office, witness describes it in grey terms.
Now the MAC(Membership Admin Committee) gets mentioned again. Witness substituted for Nick McLennan for him previously in 2016, then later joined it himself while at Byrne's office, unsure.
CR intervenes again to ask about commonality of MAC appointments.

Witness can't give direct answer to this, but believes common practice for electoral officers to be appointed to the MAC.
CR wants to know about crossover of fed and state officers here into the MAC.
Witness confirms some federal electoral staff were appointed to MAC.
CR pushing now to understand how MAC operated. Asks if different factions would seek to have reps appointed, witness agrees.
CR asks if decisions of the MAC committee had to be a consensus activity, witness confirms.
CR also asking about membership decisions.
CR asking witness to confirm he was sitting with other factions at the MAC table, witness confirms. And this is regarding the approval or rejection of specific membership applications.
CR asks if witness knew other MAC members were aware of "irregularities"

Witness asks for clarification, and CR gives the example of awareness of "incorrect residential address on a membership application" and discusses Ms Schribers earlier evidence of how she was responsible for cross checking such details.
CA now puts to the witness that if a bunch of members suddenly show up at a meeting, its likely a sign of branch stacking being attempted, and that's the purpose of the MAC.
Witness says the MAC is more about correct process than prevention of stacking.
CA pushing that MAC has a quasi role in preventing branch stacking as a reasonable consequence of their set out role, witness doesn't really wanna go there, he's sticking with his earlier version.
CA is going to restate it again now.
CA says MAC exists to prove that applicants are genuine applicants for membership, Witness agrees with this.
CA says when a meeting is suddenly deluged with people when it usually struggles to get a Quorum, it's solid branch stacking evidence. W agrees re Quorum part
Witness agrees with CA that normally 1-2 people turning up to a branch meeting to join up would be fairly normal.
CA pushing that meetings where dozens of people turning up should be interpreted as a warning of a stacking attempt. Witness reluctantly half agrees.
CA pushing that operatives should have been smart enough to spot this, witness disagrees saying that not all were alert enough to interpret this.
CA - could you have sat on MAC for a few months and not perceived branch stacking happening. Witness agrees is fair statement
CR intervenes again to state that branch meetings were the most obvious place to identify branch stacking, and the branch secretary would be best placed to spot it. Witness agrees.
CR now refers to Macklin/Bracks report "branch sec's were often co-ordinators of stacking"
Witness agrees that is a fair summary of the problem.
CR goes on that governance of membership applications was virtually non existent and asks witness to comment.
Witness won't go that far, some governance existed. But claims that structures had been co-opted into b/s.
CR continues that "governance was absent by the MAC"
Witness says it goes beyond that, but agrees.
CA asks witness if he was ever a branch secretary, witness confirms he was, for fountain gate or endeavour hills, doesn't remember exactly.
Witness was "factionalised" at the time
CA now asking about a Kirsten Salah and an instance of 13 members joining at once?
Witness confirms she was involved, and employed at an MP's office.
CA - Is there a pattern of people being factionalised, working as elect officers, and also branch secretaries?
W - Yes
Sorry had a Twitter blip there and missed some stuff

CR now chasing up a substantial portion of MAC members, maybe 2/3? that were doing party work as parliamentary paid staffers. Witness agrees
Had another blip on my end, the tweets are going through, but says they aren't. Anyway, we're having lunch break now as the topic is about to change, and will be back at approx 2.30pm

And we're back live!! No mucking about, CA clarifies that witness was officially employed as a parliamentary staffer, and not a party employee or factional officer. Witness agrees.
CA - did it work this way in practise?
It kind of did, kind of didn't......
The witness describes how it was nominally "parliament first" but often factional activities came first, and factional loyalty was ever present.
Now moving on to the move to Kairouz office and why that happened. No clear answer on that, just seems to have been suggested
The suggestion came from Somyurek according to the witness. CA now asking about the move to Tien Kieu's office. Witness spoke with Somyurek about going back to his office, and Somyurek suggested the move to Tien Kieu. And a CV was sent to Ceasar Melham.
Hail Ceasar!
CA digging into the details of this, witness says it seems the deal for the move was already done, but the CV needed to be sent so it looked above board.
CA now digging into the power/position of Melham and his influence.
CR intervening to comment how odd it would be for factional considerations to be taken in to account for a parliamentary staffer relocating to another office. The witness does not dispute this.
CA now addressing Labor Nat conference issues.
Some uncertainty about eligibility of members to vote for national delegates. I can't add any personal info here either, got NFI. But possibly only members from branches, and possibly 12 month or longer memberships need eligibility.
We are now looking at a letter that's on screen prepared by the witness. Its about the national conference, mentions a "strong Turkish voice" at the conference floor, and is factional business as confirmed by the witness, and was prepared during public money office time.
Witness says it was something he did of his own initiative, and believed others were doing it from other factions.
CR intervenes to ask about the other letters, witness says he can't be sure others did it on public time.
CA says Somyurek wasn't worried as he believed...
he had the power to collect those ballots and fill them out according to factional desires, so member persuasion wasn't really required, and the witness agrees.
CA now back into SMS messages again.
"210 ballots needed to fill out"..."get sullivan's(witness) help"
CA asks Witness if he remembers doing this specific activity, but admits it's entirely possible.
CA asks if this generic activity was something the witness has done. Witness can't recall a specific instance.
CA puts "it's sufficiently run of the mill it's not memorable"
Witness agrees with this characterisation. Describes it as ballot harvesting and describes the specifics of it. He also recalls doing it within Kairouz office while working there.
CR intervenes to ask if cooperative members would supply blank ballots. Witness agrees
Witness describes it as more efficient, and prevents factions from being in the dark about the outcome of the ballot. WOW, that's cold...........
Witness council (WC) now intervening to further clarify why ballot harvesting was done. "To control the outcome" seemingly.
CR intervenes to confirm it was done in office hours, witness agrees, including while working at Kairouz office. Kairouz was in the office at the time. Took considerable number of hours of public time.
CR asks about other offices, witness has no direct knowledge.
I think it's pretty easy to believe this went on in every office, every faction, but the witness rightly won't speculate it definitely happened. Fair read between the lines it did though.
CA now after a number of instances of "ballot harvesting activity"
Witness now informing council there was also a TWU rep during at least one of these sessions.
CA now discussing exhibit: message from witness to Somyurek. CA puts it to the witness that he's speaking as if he was working from Byrne's office.
Witness clarifies this.....
Since Somyurek's office was dysfunctional, he was working for Somyurek, but out of Byrne's office.

WC intervenes here and asks for a private conversation with the witness. Stream still up, but audio disabled.
WC continues now to clarify the message details.
WC asks witness what Somyurek's interest was in these national ballots.
Witness confirms when asked that Somyurek was running for a position in the Nat. Executive. Also states at the time Byrne would have desired this outcome.

CA wants to confirm that Somyurek was aware witness was working out of Byrne's office, witness agrees.
Now we're looking at more messages. I might miss some of this, they aren't readable on screen.
It's about Turks being chased, and Pinar who is following up.
Seems Pinar is a 100% factional operative by what's coming out. She was in the office when factional activity happened there, esp ballot harvesting.
CR intervenes to ask what other electorates and MPs were involved. Witness can't supply direct knowledge.
CR puts it that Somyurek was attempting to solicit votes from other electorates, but witness points out that there is state/federal overlap and not necessarily improper.
CR wants to confirm that only Byrne was cooperating with Somyurek, witness agrees
Witness describes the turkish community mentioned in the text msgs. Clarifies that it's #NotAllTurks and some would have been aligned with Socialist Left faction.
CA asks were there lists of members believed to be controlled by the faction, witness confirms.
CA also asks if the lists contained the recruiter/controller info for members, witness confirms.
CA asks if this fell largely along ethnic lines, witness confirms.
CA asks if ballots were filled and returned to members for mailing, or processed directly?
W - directly.
CA confirms that democratic process was bypassed via this ballot harvesting. Witness agrees.
Witness goes on to describe members who were not legit via others paying the membership were effectively bought, and so the ballots were effectively "owned"
Witness described not using this method as a "lost investment" since money was paid specifically paid to obtain control of ballots. More OUCH.
CA now asks if bulk ballots were taken by hand to head office, head office must have been in on the process. Witness agrees.
CA asking about appointments of those working in head office, were they factional.
W - 100%
Witness confirms when asked that it's exactly why a blind eye was turned to this irregularity. "Everybody was factional"
Now we're on to "ballot reissuing"
Apparently a "template letter" existed for reissued ballot requests.
(This is really wrong, individual members should have been responsible for this. I think 40% reissue rate came out on Monday from Byrne's evidence)
CR intervening again to ask about reissues.
CR asking if any reissues were used for duplicate voting, ie cancelling the original vote of one party, and a 2nd party votes in their place. Witness says he believes that didn't happen, and they were honest ballot mistakes.
Witness nominates Pinar as following this up.
Witness describes Pinar as close and well known to the Turkish community, and an appropriate person to follow up with members who resubmitted ballots.
CA confirming reissued ballots were sent to members registered address. Factions would help arrange this via template.
(Seems for a bonafide member, this reissue process wouldn't need electoral office involvement at all, but I may be wrong here)
CA now zeroing in on the time taken for ballot harvesting, and asking about short cuts taken.
"Were signatures forged?"
W - potentially
CR intervenes to give a reminder to the witness to be accurate with his evidence.
Witness replies that, paraphrasing here "He didn't know for sure because he didn't want to know."

WC is intervening here to complain the witness was unfairly summised. CA asks again.
CA - "were signatures forged?"
W - Didn't witness it, but wouldn't surprise him.
CR intervenes "did you become aware of it occurring?"
Witness - slowly became aware of it.
CR pushing to know how he became aware of it.
Witness can't be specific, just suspicions
Witness now refers to maintaining plausible deniability of others forging signatures.
CA asking about ballots being reissued via an agent who collected them from head office.
Witness - May have been some capacity for this to be done, not aware of any specific examples.
Exhibit 359 now in play. A graphic of ballot reissue rates within various electorates. And a pie chart showing 34% of all reissues coming from just 9 moderate labor branches.
4.4 reissues per branch for "all others" and 34 reissues on average for moderate Labor branches
CA puts it to the witness that certain moderate right Labor branches had abnormally high reissue rates.
Bit of confusion from the witness because Casey central branch didn't exist at the time (2018) but I think he's splitting hairs here.
Witness is explaining this as "caused by a messy and inefficient faction" rather than anything sinister.
Further describes it as a train wreck of a situation.
CA now showing exhibit 74 - messages between witness and Somyurek in April 2017, and specific members.
Seems witness was trying to get in touch with Pinar to grease the wheels of ballot delivery or collection. (Potentially some language barrier issues at play.)
Later message has a name of someone else for collection?
Further messages contain pickup tally counts.
CA seems to be using this to establish that ballot harvesting is quite time consuming, and was also done on public time.
CA confirms with the witness that it's "business as usual" and normal factional activity, witness agrees.

CA now asks about a witness text message to Somyurek with lots of membership stats on it, including membership stats.
"5.5k received
quota = 124
% of votes 41.8%
reissue = 668"(may be slightly inaccurate)
Seems to be an update on "path to victory"
CR intervenes again to discuss if this info was being collected to determine if any activity was required to get the desired outcome(paraphrasing)
CA is pushing that result manipulation was the purpose of having these figures
CR wants to know if it was public info.....
....Or a sneaky info feed from head office. Witness unsure of the answer to this question.

And we're going to take a break, and CA announces he has quite a bit more ground to cover. See you shortly!
Aaaaand we're back!!!!!
CA introduces exhibit 75 - further text messages from April 30(2018?)
Regarding collection of ballots from Mr Yigit, who apparently had ~100 ballots on him.
Witness confirms this appears so.
Somyurek was aware and ok with this ballot collection
CA puts it that it was widely known as an "all hands on deck" situation to get Somyurek elected to national executive - Witness agrees, also describes it as organised chaos, and as many people as possible were contributing.
CA going back to MAC now.
CA puts it that once MAC has been passed, it's easy to just renew memberships, and keep control of the votes, and there's a strong incentive to keep renewing.
Witness agrees, and says absolutely the case when branch stacking got you in to parliament in the first place
CA now asking about the possibility of "deceased members" being used for ballot harvesting and stacking.
More text messages are being shown now. An exchange regarding a member who might be deceased, and a request for renewal forms and more money.
CA asks the source of the money, witness confirms from Somyurek or Byrne, via the kitty in Byrne's office.
"can't find Mehmet on CC(Campaign central)"
Effectively CC is the electoral roll. Limited access to this database. Witness says was unaware of access restrictions
WOW, Nick McLennan's login to CC was shared among multiple branch offices, that's BIG. Almost certainly breaches of AEC laws going on there.
McLennan had legit access via his work for Senator Kitching.
It seems fair for parties to have this to verify m'ship details.
CA now asking why a message would be sent "don't renew" regarding a deceased membership.
Witness Council interjecting about this question. Claims it's an internal ALP process question and not related to witness conduct.
CR is clarifying that it's about culture, & valid
CR insists that IBAC must be allowed to include bad cultural practices in any reports that it issues, and will let the question stand.
CA asks again "why would there be a possibility of a deceased person having a membership renewed."
Witness clarifies that party was not aware of deceased status. But CA is going somewhere else with this, he seems to be pushing that there might have been signature forgery involved here, as the deceased member wouldn't have sent a form if dead.
CA basically saying, how could we renew a form that couldn't be signed, because the member was too dead to sign?
Witness gets it now. And CA is pouncing. "You seem to be aware this could happen, and want to prevent deceased members from submitting forms to head office?"
CR intervening now to ask why the party would need to intervene with a "do not renew" instruction if correct processes and laws were followed.
Seems there was some dodgy signing of renewal forms going on here, and CA is pushing for details, witness claims no knowledge
Comment: It's becoming clear that Sullivan is more aware now of how much dodgy stuff he was involved in than he was at the start of the day. Clearly many routine activities he performed were far from legitimate.
CA back to the messages: we've got 110 members to renew, can only do 10 per day, got 10 days to do them all.
Witness explains that it's some kind of clerical thing that head office would only accept ten per day, presumably for logistical reasons.
CA offering exhibit 84 - texts from may 2018, near end of renewal season. ".....Waiting for the forms, will also need money."
CA asks if this refers to money for memberships, witness agrees.
Witness can't recall specifically, too "run of the mill"
OUCH again.
Seems that the witness travelled to Parliament to collect this money.
Witness can't recall, but admits it's likely that's what occurred.
CA points out this work was done while witness was working for Kairouz, witness confirms this.
CA now asking about pre-filled renewal forms.
Witness confirms that Somyurek had a contact that could supply these, enabling forms to be taken to members homes and merely signed, or even to have signatures forged, then returned
Witness agrees, but didn't see forgeries.
CA wants absolute clarity that Somyurek had a head office contact sending out pre-filled renewal forms getting sent out to branch offices, and printed and distributed. Witness agrees.
Witness also agrees it would be tempting to forge signatures
CR intervenes to point out that as these memberships were bought, and not really active party members, it would be easier to justify short cuts and forgeries for those membership renewals.
Witness agrees that's reasonable in the circumstances.
CA now pushing that the witness seems uncomfortable with some of these irregularities, and the witness agrees. Witness goes on to explain how politics is, philosophically, a reflection society is imperfect, and some mental gymnastics can lead to bad behaviour.
CA asks if the witness considered getting out of politics. Witness agrees, but was reluctant due to the "sunk cost" aspect of what he had done thus far.
Eventually left in 2019.
CR now asking about time spent in Kairouz office while working for her.
CR wants to know more about the role in Kairouz employment, and CA is picking that up now.
Mostly it's been about national conference activities. Witness agrees there was probably other factional activities, but can't recall specifics.
CA now asks about his time in Tien Kieu's office, and if it was proper work or factional. Witness admits that factional work continued during his time in Kieu's office.
CR intervenes to ask what % of time was factional with Kairouz.
Witness says it varied day to day.
At times could be 90-100% of his day, then 0% at other times.
CR involving himself again, to ask if any of his employers asked him about expectations of duties as an electoral officer.
Witness says had an induction with Kieu's office, but no formal discussions.
Witness also says that expectations discussions were a rolling thing, and would change over the course of employment.
CR wants to know if he was told by anyone at any time that he must not carry out factional work. Witness says "No." Just no, no qualifications. OUCH.
CR brings up Red Shirts again, and the line drawn between parliamentary work, and party work, and the parliamentary directive laid down during the fallout.

CR: "Did Byrne, Somyurek, Kairouz or Kieu draw your attention to this directive, and how it should change your work?
W - No
CA now pointing out that the directive is from 2018, not 2017, so Byrne and Somyurek are not directly implicated by the previous answer. But CR pushes on and clarifies that this point was never raised at any time with any of them, Witness agrees. OUCH
CA asks witness if he continued to take instructions and directions to undertake factional activities until the time he finally left Kieu's office.
CA also asks during the time in Kairouz office if she ever directed him to undertake factional activities.

Witness recalls his earlier testimony where ballot papers were filled out in Kairouz office, in her presence, so it seems that she was completely aware of the situation.
CA now asking about witnesses resignation and who he told. Told Kieu, but not Somyurek until after.
CA asks why Somyurek needed to be told at all, was he your defacto boss? Witness agrees in a sense he was.
CA asks if he was apprehensive to tell him. Witness agrees, didn't expect Somyurek to take the news well.

LMAO, Witness called A.S. "Mein Fuhrer" in texts 😂😂😂
CA pushes that it's an extreme tag, but the witness says that he was powerful and dictatorial, so it was appropriate as a reference in a private conversation.
CR asking about why the witness saw himself as a servant of Somyurek during his time with other MPs.
He's not saying it, but there seem to be 2 employment structures here: Parliamentary and factional, and on the factional side, Somyurek was the boss of a LOT of people, even Kairouz referring to him by that name.
CA now pursuing the witnesses feelings about politics and any future desires he might have. Witness seems disenchanted and disappointed with how it turned out.
CA now asking the witness for feedback for a better system for staffers.
"More funding for IBAC" 😂😂😂 #smooth
Witness describes the situation as bound by rules, but rules that aren't followed, without police on the beat.
(IMHO, the Dreyfuss report in the 90's nailed this stuff, and Labor just ignored it all)
And there it is: Party 1st, people 2nd. OUCH. (My absolute pet peeve.)
It looks like we're done for the day now, but witness may not be released from summons due to Somyurek's council possibly wanting to cross examine him later. This will have to wait until all other witnesses have been heard.
Witness council now commenting on this summons adjournment, he understands the situation. Looks like the summons is paused, pending any request by Somyurek's council for a cross examination.
CR now thanking witness for evidence against his interests. Hearing adjourned!
That's it for this week. Hearings will resume next Monday at 10am (10:30am for the stream) and unsure of witnesses yet, presumably this will be updated towards the end of the week. Thanks for all those following and commenting, apologies if I missed them, it's hectic work!

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More from @PoliBard

12 Oct
OK and we're back live with #OpWatts at IBAC. And interestingly, it's a (Continued) cross examination of Byrne by Somyurek's council.

And we're back into the text messages, with a perjury warning to spice things up.

Here we go......
We're getting into text messages regarding the evidence given yesterday about Somyurek's assistance/non interference in the Dandy council mayoral race.

"The dipstick Jen" 😂😂😂😂

"To remind him who runs the show" 😬

Council suggesting Byrne is the chief, not Somyurek
"Where we cut Michaelson's throat" - spicy texts.
Council pushing hard that Byrne is the master, Somyurek the apprentice.

"Was Michaelson a potential threat to you?" - clever question to push that angle, but Byrne not delivering the ideal response.
Read 27 tweets
11 Oct
Somyurek thread. Here's some grabs from the presser where Dan announced he had sacked him for branch stacking, then took questions. It's one of the most brutal pressers he's ever had to face, and some interesting questions got asked.
#OpWatts #IBACDan
Here Dan gets asked about whether Scott and Khairouz will be stood aside pending investigations, but apparently no, different rules for them.
Sumeyya really picks up her stride here, and pushes Dan to justify why Kairouz in particular should keep her job, given her commentary trashing her own portfolio. But Dan holds out and says he's been personally reassured by her that her behaviour was above board.

Scorn ensues 😂
Read 13 tweets
11 Oct
Questions to Byrne are starting now, going over his history with the ALP, and the positions he's held.

I'll thread these now that the examination proper is starting
Recounting the timeline of events following the revelations from the Age and 60 Minutes, including the handing over of party admin to the federal branch of the party. Byrne confirming comments he made at the time that he hoped there would finally be a clean up
"I thought the party was completely out of control"
"Referring to branch stacking, coercion of staff, referring to a party basically being taken over by one person"
Council - "Which person"
Byrne - "Adam Somyurek"
Read 98 tweets

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