The texts, which are believed to have been sent to Mr Somyurek in 2019, also included a threat to include a former NSW party secretary on “the next Four Corners hatchet job on China”
The messages were read out by Remy van de Wiel QC – the lawyer for Somyurek- during the second day of the Independent Broad-based anti-Corruption Commission.
According to the texts sent to Mr Somyurek Mr Byrne said he wanted to “kill” factional rival Steve Michelson – Bill Shorten’s former advisor – telling Mr Somyurek it was “personal now”.
“I really do want to kill him. This is personal for me now.”
The lawyer for Adem Somyurek read out texts from Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne in which he said he wanted to “kill” a factional rival, during Tuesdays IBAC probe into corrupt conduct among public officials. Picture: Getty Images
Other texts detailed how he wanted to humiliate Mr Michelson during pre-selections saying it was punishment” for the “grief” he was causing himself and Mr Somyurek.
“I also want to humiliate him at the same time as the preselection so he is unemployable as just punishment from the grief he is causing us,”
Byrne said he didn’t remember sending the texts but claimed they would have been in response to Mr Somyurek – who was frustrated at Mr Michelson’s behaviour.
“I don’t keep texts but I reiterate to you Adem Somyurek saw Steve Michelson being a problem,” he said.
Mr van de Wiel put it to Mr Byrne that they were evidence of his own assertion of control over the faction, not Mr Somyurek.
Mr Byrne said, “[that’s] just not true”.
“You would have had to be on the dark side of the moon to not know that Adem Somyurek was in charge of just about everything,” Mr Byrne added.
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Mr Bryne told the hearing the texts to Mr Somyurek were in the context of several conversations between the pair.
“The tone of this was that Adem was saying to Michelson was a threat … and needed to be dealt with.”
When asked about his feelings of hostility towards Mr Michelson, Mr Byrne said: “I think you’d say Mr Somyurek’s feelings and therefore my feelings were very strong.”
In other texts read out, Mr Byrne threatened to make sure former NSW Labor general secretary Kaila Murnain “guest stars in the next 4 Corners hatchet job on China”.
He also called her a “ratf**ker” in the texts.
My Bryne alleged during Monday’s hearing that Mr Michelson paid $5000 in the belief it would help to gain pre-selection for the seat of Issacs.
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Mr Michelson, who resigned from Bill Shorten’s office over a blackface scandal in 2017 strongly denies Mr Byrne’s accusations.
On Monday, Mr Michelson said: “Whilst I have made many donations to the party and to individual campaigns, I have always understood those donations to be for standard and legitimate campaign costs.
“Mr Byrne’s evidence was a report of a conversation he had with Adem Somyurek. It is mere hearsay, and should be treated as such.
“I condemn in the strongest terms anyone who has systemically breached the party’s rules or ­engaged in corrupt conduct.”
Mr Bryne said the texts to Mr Somyurek were in the context of several conversations between the pair.
Mr Byrne’s second day of testimony followed an explosive hearing on Monday in which he alleged Victorian government minister Luke Donnelan paid for people’s Labor Party memberships as a part of a branch stacking process.
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The Victorian Aged Care Minister quit the labor ministry on Monday following the revelations.
Mr Byrne,also told the hearing former government ministers Adem Somyurek and Marlene Kairouz were “coercing” electorate and ministerial staff to engage in branch-stacking.
During his testimony Mr Bryne said Mr Donnelan and Mr Somyurek gave “roughly” the same amount of money to the scheme paying for party memberships.
“I’m referring to branch-stacking, coercion of staff being made to do things they didn’t want to,” Mr Byrne said. “I was referring to a party being taken over by one person whose sole objective was power and power alone.”
Mr Bryne – the veteran federal Labour MP for Holt in Melbourne southeast outer suburbs -also admitted branch stacking, hiring ghost staff and being aware of rigged party ballots.
The IBAC continues on Tuesday afternoon with the start of testimony from Anthony Byrne’s former advisor Ellen Schrieber.

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