Victorian small business minister Adem Somyurek has been forced to resign by premier Daniel Andrews following allegations that his minister bullied a staff member.
The premier said the government had “breached its duty of care” over the incident, involving Somyurek’s former chief of staff, Dimity Paul. He asked the minister to resign because “I had lost confidence in him”.
“There has been inappropriate conduct,” the premier said. “[Paul] is owed an apology. I want to apologise to her for the way she was treated.”
Andrews initiated an investigation into Somyurek’s actions two months ago, following a complaint by Paul. The minister denied the allegations, but the premier decided his position was “untenable” after the report was handed down today. It found that during a meeting in his office in February this year Somyurek grabbed his chief of staff by the arm to stop her leaving, then admonished her by shaking her head from side to side with his hand on her chin, telling her to “calm down and put a filter on it”. The incident was found to be isolated and there was no further physical contact.
Somyurek is expected to make a statement this afternoon.
A new minister is expected to be chosen by the end of the week.
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