Liberal Party MPs resign from NSW parliament following corruption allegations and a confession by one to lying to ICAC.

More crooks bite the dust in NSW, what a lying conniving crew they are!

MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell resign from NSW parliament after ICAC revelations

State Political Correspondent
Tim Owen leaves ICAC yesterday after giving evidence.

Tim Owen leaves ICAC yesterday after giving evidence. Source: News Corp Australia

Andrew Cornwell and his wife Samanatha Brookes arrive at ICAC.

Andrew Cornwell and his wife Samantha Brookes arrive at ICAC. Source: News Corp Australia

TWO suspended Liberal Party MPs have resigned from NSW parliament following corruption allegations and a confession by one to lying to ICAC.

The resignations of Newcastle MP Tim Owen and Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell were announced to NSW parliament.

NSW Premier Mike Baird says by-elections will be held in the two Hunter Valley seats, despite the state election being only seven months away.

“Everyone in NSW, everyone in the electorates has the right to feel appalled, angered and betrayed,’’ said Mr Baird, who earlier called for the two to quit following revelations at the Independent Commission against Corruption of illegal donations paid by property developers.

Mr Owen today admitted lying to ICAC about returning $10,000 he received from property developer and Newcastle Mayor Jeff McCloy.

Instead he says the money was used for his campaign, in breach of electoral funding laws.

Mr Cornwell has also admitted accepting payments from property developers.

Mr Owen and Mr Cornwell last week stepped down from the parliamentary LIberal Party following the allegations at ICAC. Both initially said they would quit politics at the next election.

Mr Baird it was not up to him to decide the future of the MPs, who were no longer members of the Liberal Party.

But the Premier said words could not explain how disappointed and angry he was at the behaviour exposed by ICAC.

Mr Owen, under cross examination at ICAC, today admitted evidence he gave yesterday about a meeting with Mr McCloy was false.

The penalty for giving false evidence to ICAC is up to five years jail.

Questioned by counsel for Mr McCloy, Mr Owen also admitted that he had met with Mr McCloy last Sunday to discuss what he would tell the commission.

Mr Owen yesterday told ICAC he met Mr McCloy in Hunter Street Newcastle in December 2010 and was given an envelope full of cash. He said he thought about it and decided that he should return the money.

YESTERDAY: MP said no to cash

He told the commission that he dropped it back to Mr McCloy’s letterbox with a note which said: “No Thanks.”

Today he admitted that story was false, and the money — $10,000 — was used for his campaign. According to Mr McCloy’s counsel, Mr Owen had wanted to say the amount was $2000 and that he had given it back.

Quoting Mr Owen’s evidence from Monday, Mr McCloy’s lawyer asked “if the words that follow … ‘and then I went back to his house after that and basically dropped the envelope back in his letter box’,’’ were false.

“Yes. It was,’’ said Mr Owen, a former deputy commander of Australian forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“You said ‘I think I just put a little note on it that said no thanks’, that answer was false?’’ Councillor McCloy’s lawyer pressed.

“Correct,’’ Mr Owen said.

He had told Mr McCloy that he would have to get divorced if he admitted taking the money, the hearing heard.

Mr Owen denied he was asked by Mr McCloy to come clean about the cash.

“You said ‘my wife will divorce me. I’ve sworn on a stack of bibles that I didn’t receive any money,’’ Mr McCloy’s lawyer said.

“I didn’t say that to him, no,’’ Mr Owen said.

The two had shaken hands after the meeting, Mr McCloy’s lawyer said.

Mr Owen said he had wanted to make a statement at the end of proceedings yesterday admitting that his earlier testimony was false, but wasn’t given a chance.

He agreed that he and Mr McCloy had made a tentative agreement to give false evidence to ICAC. “I’m not proud of it.”

He said that Mr Cornwell had told him that ICAC had overheard a conversation between Mr Cornwell and his wife about accepting a separate $10,000 in cash from Mr McCloy.

Mr Owen didn’t know if that was why Mr Cornwell had admitted taking the money.

Mr Cornwell last week admitted receiving $10,000 from Mr McCloy, which he said he handed to his Liberal branch treasurer who in turn donated it to the party.

Mr McCloy has denied this and has rejected calls to stand down as Newcastle mayor – calls repeated today by Minister for Local Government Paul Toole.

Mr McCloy is due to give evidence to ICAC later this week.

Mr Cornwell also admitted that being given $10,000 by property developer Hilton Grugeon for a painting worth far less than that was an attempt to bribe him, and that he had obtained a personal financial benefit.



- Steps down in March as federal assistant treasurer over his dealings with controversial company, Australian Water Holdings.

BARRY O’FARRELL (Ku-ring-gai)

- Resigns as NSW premier on April 16 after misleading ICAC over a $3000 bottle of wine.

- Not accused of corruption.


- Steps down as energy minister in December, amid corruption allegations.

- Moves to the cross benches in February.

CHRIS SPENCE (The Entrance)

- Moves to the cross benches in February amid corruption allegations.

- Announces in June that he will not contest 2015 state election.


- Moves to the cross benches in February amid corruption allegations.

- Announces in June that he will not contest 2015 state election.

MARIE FICARRA (upper house MP)

- Allegedly solicited banned donation.

- Moves to the cross benches in April.

MIKE GALLACHER (upper house MP)

- Allegedly hatched a “corrupt scheme’’.

- Steps down as police minister on May 2.

- Joins cross bench.

TIM OWEN (Newcastle)

- Announces on May 12 that he will not contest the 2015 state election because of recurring health issues and ICAC allegations. Concedes banned donors “probably’’ contributed to his 2011 political campaign.

- Moves to the cross benches on August 6 on the first day of new round of ICAC hearings.

- Quits parliament on August 12 after admitting to lying to the ICAC about returning $10,000 to developer and now Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy.


- Moves to the cross benches, resigns as government whip on August 6 after allegations he was offered $10,000 in a brown paper bag by developer and now Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy in his Bentley. He later admits to receiving the money, in addition to a $10,000 bribe from another developer.

- Announces on August 8 that he will not contest 2015 state election.

- Quits parliament on August 12.

With AAP

 ‘Not a nice look': suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen tells ICAC he returned an envelope stuffed with cash to property developer Jeff McCloy

Suspended MP was aware of illegal donations

Suspended Liberal MP for Newcastle Tim Owen has admitted to a corruption inquiry that he knew banned donors helped bankroll his 2011 election campaign.

A second state MP has told a corruption inquiry that property developer and now Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy handed over a wad of cash before the last state election, in breach of laws banning political donations from property developers.

In an explosive day of evidence on Monday, suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that he met Mr McCloy in Hunter Street, Newcastle before the 2011 election, where he was given a “thin envelope” stuffed with $100 bills.

'I must admit I thought, 'Hmm, what do I do with this?',' said suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen of an envelope of cash.

‘I must admit I thought, ‘Hmm, what do I do with this?’,’ said suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen of an envelope of cash. Photo: Phil Hearne

 Mr Owen, who won the seat of Newcastle, said Mr McCloy did not say anything as he handed over the money.

“What? No foreplay?” quipped counsel assisting the commission, Geoffrey Watson, SC.

“I took it at the time and I must admit I thought, ‘Hmm, what do I do with this?’ ” Mr Owen said.

Andrew Cornwell.
Andrew Cornwell. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Days later, he put the envelope of cash in Mr McCloy’s letterbox with a note to the effect of “no thanks”. bloody liar

“It just wasn’t a particularly nice look, I’ve got to say,” Mr Owen said.

The evidence comes days after Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell told the commission that Mr McCloy had given him an envelope containing $10,000 in cash at a clandestine meeting in Mr McCloy’s Bentley.

Mr Cornwell, who has taken leave from parliament and who quit the Liberal Party on Friday, has admitted to the inquiry that he took the money from Mr McCloy and that it went into his own campaign coffers. Since 2009, it has been illegal in NSW to accept campaign donations from property developers.

In another sensational development, Mr Owen admitted that after he gave evidence in a secret hearing at the ICAC in May, he met Mr McCloy at a coffee shop in Sydney.

It is an offence to discuss evidence given in private hearings but Mr Owen claimed he was merely asking Mr McCloy if there was “anything else idiotic” he might have done in relation to Mr Owen’s campaign.

After the private hearing, Mr Owen announced that he would not contest next year’s election.

The inquiry heard that Mr McCloy and another property developer, Hilton Grugeon, jointly paid the $20,000 wage of Mr Owen’s campaign media adviser Luke Grant.

Mr Owen repeatedly tried to distance himself from a raft of illegalities regarding his election campaign funding. Under electoral funding laws, politicians are only guilty of a criminal offence if they were aware at the time they accepted the donation of “the facts that result in the act being unlawful”.

He claimed that he was too busy campaigning, or that he relied on others, including his campaign manager Hugh Thomson, or senior Liberal and former police minister Mike Gallacher, to advise him of the legalities of various donations.

“If they believed it was legal … then I took their word,” Mr Owen said. However, earlier on Monday he admitted  that he had known for years that banned donors helped to bankroll his campaign and it was “clearly not above board”.

“All I can say is, I am dreadfully sorry,” he said. Mr Owen claimed he “didn’t actually ping to the fact that something was illegal” until a few months after election.

He said he had known since late 2010 or early 2011 that Nathan Tinkler’s property development group Buildev helped to fund his campaign, and he was aware the company was a property developer. However, he insisted Mr Tinkler’s company “got nothing out of me, I can tell you”.

On Monday, Mr Watson foreshadowed that the commission would call federal Liberal MP Bob Baldwin, who supported Mr Tinkler’s plans for a coal loader in Newcastle.The inquiry has heard Buildev made donations to Mr Baldwin, but it is not illegal for property developers to give donations to federal candidates and politicians.

 ICAC: NSW MP Andrew Cornwell quits Liberal Party, won’t seek re-election after ‘huge mistake’

Fri 8 Aug 2014, 8:54pm

Newcastle MP Tim Owen stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party on Wednesday.

Photo: Newcastle MP Tim Owen stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party on Wednesday. (ABC: Nick Gerber)

Related Story: MP paid tax bill with developer’s cheque: ICAC
Related Story: Another Hunter Liberal MP drawn into corruption inquiry

Another New South Wales MP at the centre of a corruption inquiry has announced he will not re-contest the next state election.

Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell, who stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party on Wednesday, said he considered the interests of his electorate and his family in making the decision not to stand for re-election.

“Following my appearance at the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) yesterday I have thought carefully about what is in the best interests of the people of Charlestown,” Mr Cornwell said in a statement.

“I have decided that I will not contest the next state election.

“Today, I tendered my resignation from the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division).

“I have sought parliamentary leave from the Speaker because these matters have significantly impacted my family and, while I take full responsibility for my own actions, I need to care for my family during this time.”

The announcement follows Mr Cornwell’s admission he paid his tax bill with a cheque from property developer Hilton Grugeon, which was given in exchange for an overvalued painting.

When asked why he did not refuse what was an illegal donation from a developer or take it to the police, he said: “It was a huge mistake.”

Tim Owen ‘knew’ developers were paying staffer

The evidence before the ICAC made it as “plain as day” that Newcastle MP Tim Owen knew one of his election campaign staff members was being paid by developers, the commission has been told.

Liberal Party campaign staffer Josh Hodges has admitted he knew his work on Mr Owen’s 2011 campaign was being bankrolled by Nathan Tinkler’s development firm Buildev and developer Bill Saddington.

Mr Hodges told the inquiry he was told to issue fake invoices to the development firms for consultancy work, totalling about $10,000.

The counsel assisting the commission, Geoffrey Watson SC, put to him: “You would have known they were property developers and because of that prohibited donors?”

Mr Hodges replied: “Yes.”

Mr Watson then asked: “Did you understand that this was a scheme, the point of which was to avoid the electoral funding laws?”

“I did, yes,” Mr Hodges answered.

Mr Watson tendered text messages and phone records that he said showed Mr Owen knew Mr Saddington and Buildev were paying Mr Hodges’ wages.

One text message Mr Owen sent on February 1, 2011, said: “Would Bill Saddington be happy to start paying him ASAP?”

Mr Watson said it also appeared that Mr Owen intervened when Buildev was late to pay Mr Hodges.

When the money had not come through four months after the election, Mr Owen’s campaign manager Hugh Thomson sent a text message asking him to call “DW” and “lean on him – it’s been promised for months”.

Mr Owens replied: “Will do.”

Phone records show Mr Owen then called Buildev executive Darren Williams, and the inquiry heard the money was then paid to Mr Hodges.

“It’s plain as day looking at all of this that Mr Owen was aware of the involvement of Buildev,” Mr Watson said.

Earlier, Mr Hodges told the hearing he had had discussions with Buildev about its plans to build a coal loader in Newcastle.

Mr Watson asked him if he could see anything wrong with a property developer pitching a proposal to a politician and his adviser while illegally bankrolling that politician’s campaign.

Mr Hodges replied: “He can’t achieve a lot when he’s not in Parliament.”

He said Buildev would have made donations to get “an ear” or “access”, but not an approval for the coal load project.

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Not real journo’s who still have a job, maybe cadets (but not good for resume…mmm)

Maybe old school scribes who wish they could stay in the game!

How about folks like me with no relevant qualifications but gives a toss about the crimes in their communities?

The pay-off is a verdict like today GBC cowardly wife killer.

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I’m thinking along the lines of a Co-ordinator in each state

That co-ordinator runs that states crimes and has authors who get the stories up.

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All I want is to give the best coverage of what is going on in our communities.

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Each state, minimum deserves better coverage. The good people email me why haven’t you covered this rape, or that kidnapping, or the death of a cousin in my indigenous community.

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GBC Trial Day 19.5 (the weekend)

Something to get the chat going for the weekend


Baden-Clay murder trial: Large crowds in court evidence of a healthy legal system, top barrister says


Gerard Baden-Clay

The murder trial of Gerard Baden-Clay has seen a ticketing system introduced to prevent overcrowding

The high level of public interest in the Gerard Baden-Clay trial is nothing out of the ordinary, and in fact makes for a healthy legal system, a top barrister says.

The former real estate agent’s murder trial attracted crowds to the Brisbane Supreme Court, with extra courtrooms opened for people who queued day after day to gain entry, and a ticketing system introduced to prevent overcrowding.

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General says these special arrangements for large-scale trials are made to ensure openness and transparency in the justice system.

This transparency is key to keeping Australia’s legal apparatus – everyone from police to barristers and judges – held to account, says Ken Fleming, QC.

Mr Fleming was the defence barrister for former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel and has worked as a United Nations prosecutor on international war crimes trials.

“Everyone should be held accountable for what they’re doing, and the open scrutiny of it is a very important thing,” he said.

“You just can’t have things going on behind closed doors, because that engenders fear of the unknown.”

Mr Fleming says the “whole delivery of justice” depends on high levels of public interest, because people can see and understand the process.

Seeing mystery unravel part of appeal, barrister says

The courts are not, however, in danger of turning into another form of entertainment – rather, they always have been.

“You only have to think about the French Revolution and the guillotining in the forecourt of the Notre Dame,” Mr Fleming said.

Although some people may attend just to see a mystery unravel, he believes many also have a genuine interest in watching the ins and outs of the legal process.

There might be some prurient interest as well, but I think that’s not the major reason people are there.

Ken Fleming, QC

“You only have to look at some of the British television programs to see how we love a good murder mystery,” he said.

“There might be some prurient interest as well, but I think that’s not the major reason people are there.

“They just have a genuine interest in what’s going on.”

Glen Cranny, a defence lawyer and partner at Gilshenan and Luton Lawyers, also believes a high level of public interest is healthy for the criminal justice system generally.

“People might come for any number of reasons, and some might come for mawkish reasons,” he said.

“Nevertheless, I think the benefits of having an open and transparent system … far outweigh any perverse interest some people may get out of such proceedings.”

Public pressure witnesses face may discourage some: lawyer

Publicity and public interest in a case can also encourage other complainants or witnesses to come forward and give evidence, where they may have otherwise been unaware or not confident enough.

Rolf Harris‘s case in England, for example, involved people who were coming forward as complainants once they, I think, had the courage that there were protections and systems in place for their story to be told,” Mr Cranny said.

But this benefit has a flip-side: that very publicity could make people apprehensive about revealing their story.

“I think there is a tipping point where some people might think they could do without their face or name being splashed on TV as a witness, or as a complainant,” Mr Cranny said.

“They would be happy to be involved in the process in a low-key way, but don’t want to be engaged … in anything that might in some way feel like a circus to them.”

Reputational issues should also be factored in, especially when a person’s conduct, while lawful, may not hold them in a good light.

“We’ve seen in a recent high-profile case … a lot of focus on extra-marital affairs and so on,” Mr Cranny said.

“There are people who are involved in those relationships, who haven’t broken the law, but have become very prominent just through their personal lives.”

Mr Fleming says that while public interest could make some people “a bit reluctant”, he had not seen any evidence of public attendance impacting on witnesses.

“It is on display and in a sense it’s theatre,” he said.

“But once people are resigned to the fact that they will be giving evidence, I don’t think too much stands in their way.”

Opening additional courtrooms and keeping the public away from “where the action is happening” also means witnesses are only faced with a very small and confined audience in the main court, Mr Fleming said.

All previous threads and history including trial can be found clicking on link below

List of Trial Witnesses as they appear here


Brisbane Supreme Court Justice John Byrne has asked a jury to retire to consider a verdict in the trial of Gerard Baden-Clay.

Football match-fixing: How to rig an international football match

Following an investigation by The Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches into football match-fixing, we show how our undercover fixers proposed to appoint corruptible match officials in order to rig international games


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