Last weekend's damning 60 Minutes/The Age investigation revealed shocking allegations of branch stacking, harrassment and bullying in the Victorian Labor Party, resulting in the sacking from cabinet and resignation from the party of disgraced minister Adem Somyurek.
But the investigation revealed much more than that.
It also revealed Somyurek's homophobic comments against two young ministerial staff, an ugly side of politics not often in the public domain.
In the recordings, Somyurek described these young men as "real little f---ing slimy little f---ers, right ... little passive-aggressive f---ing gay kids."
The comments show that Somyurek, despite using these staffers for his own personal and political gain, bullied them behind their backs, held disdain for them, and did not have their best interests at heart.
This type of hypocrisy, bullying and harassment isn't new to politics; and is often sustained by the structures around it.
As Emma Husar wrote: "As soon as you knock off one Obeid, one Somyurek, you find another."
On Thursday, an MP said that this type of behaviour is the reality of politics - "yes, it's unpleasant. It's politics."
This incident reminds of me of what happened earlier this year with the death of Wilson Gavin, the president of the disendorsed University of Queensland Liberal National Club. Wil, like the staffers involved in this case, was a gay man and politically involved.
Known for his adversarial approach to politics, he led a protest opposing an event run by an LGBT group, Rainbow Families Queensland. He received widespread contention for protesting at the family event, and the party figures around him ducked for cover.
News emerged that Gavin had died the following morning. Police did not treat his death as suspicious, and this triggered debate about the toxic and harmful impacts of politics and social media.
Gavin's family released a heartfelt statement, confirming his suicide and describing a young man who "worked tirelessly". It also stated: "To young, politically motivated people of all persuasions ... seek kind and wise mentors who will guide you, and not use you or wash their hands of you."
The Wil often reported on was different to the one beloved by his family. Described as a young man who loved "serving at a soup kitchen every Saturday ... [and] teaching kids in Mongolia. He would regularly give the last note in his wallet to a homeless person." The political system did not sustain Wil in this way, and what emerged was adversarial and toxic.
Two of the staffers involved in the Somyurek scandal were my contemporaries during student politics. They were eager to please, ambitious and got in deep within factional workings.
Indeed, in the 60 Minutes report you could see how well versed they were in the process: "You sit them down and go, 'Oh, there is factions and this is how this works, and you're in this faction and it's the best faction'." one said.
Jenna Price wrote that the solution to improve party politics is "to look at expanding the ways in which we bring people into politics".
Another solution is creating a political system that is based on mentoring, guidance and learning. This means that toxic power plays, factional warfare, bullying and harassment cannot be sustained and supported by party structures.
There are young people wanting to engage in politics, but stories like this turn them away.
Kind and wise politicians, progressive and conservative alike, please stand up and lift the standard.
Nurture people's desire to being part of something bigger themselves - do not limit it to factional infighting. Guide them as you would have liked to be guided, do not take them down a path for your own political gain. Respond better into the future by mentoring and guiding young people, not holding disdain for them.
- Jack Whitney is co-convenor of the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.