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
Sydney
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.

LIBERAL CASUALTIES OF NSW ICAC:

ARTHUR SINODINOS (NSW Senator)

- 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.

CHRIS HARTCHER (Terrigal)

- 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.

DARREN WEBBER (Wyong)

- 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.

ANDREW CORNWELL (Charlestown)

- 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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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell falls on sword and resigns over bottle of wine


CANYOURECALLNOWBARRY

Significant memory fail? yeah right, a $3000 dollar bottle of wine is pretty forgettable. NOTE he went from empathetic statements of having not receiving it, saying he would remember  if he did (maybe drank it and wrote the thank-you note and can’t recall, who knows, but he came to power on the back of atrocious corruption with the Labor government, to today being caught out with a letter he wrote thanking Nick Di Girolamo for the booze. AT least he is doing the right thing by going.

What do you think of all this readers?

HE HAS BEEN RECALLED TO APPEAR BACK AT ICAC AT MIDDAY TODAY. STAY TUNED FOR MORE

11.34pm

ICAC has been told the $3,000 bottle of wine was left at Mr O’Farrell’s door:

Counsel Assisting Geoffrey Watson SC has provided details to ICAC of the delivery of the 1959 bottle of Grange to Barry O’Farrell’s house.

He’s produced documents from Direct Couriers showing that the delivery was made on 20 April 2011.

The wine arrived at Mr O’Farrell’s Roseville home at 4.31pm after leaving Australian Water Holdings at Bella Vista at 3.38pm.

The parcel was one bottle of wine addressed to Mr O’Farrell.

ICAC was told it was left at the door, as directed.

Mr Watson says ICAC investigators have spoken to the courier who made the delivery but he has no “independent recollection” of the event.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to resign over ‘massive memory fail’ at ICAC

 Video: Barry O’Farrell will resign as Premier over ICAC evidence (ABC News)

Related Story: O’Farrell denies receiving $3,000 bottle of wine
A handwritten letter and envelope from NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to AWH executive Nick Di Girolamo expressing thanks for a bottle of wine.

A handwritten letter and envelope from NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to AWH executive Nick Di Girolamo expressing thanks for a bottle of wine.

16-04-2014 4-07-50 PMNew South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell says he will resign owing to a “massive memory fail” when giving evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday.

Mr O’Farrell has been unable to explain to ICAC a call from his phone to an Australian Water Holdings (AWH) executive who allegedly gave him a $3,000 bottle of Grange wine.

ICAC alleges the company AWH lobbied Mr O’Farrell over an agreement with the state-owned Sydney Water to roll out water infrastructure.

AWH is accused of corruptly billing Sydney Water for expenses and using the money for political donations, executive salaries and various other expenses.

PENFOLDSAWH executive Nick Di Girolamo yesterday told the inquiry he sent the Premier a $3,000 bottle of wine in 2011 to congratulate him after the election.

The bottle of Grange dated May 24, 1959 – Mr O’Farrell’s birthday – does not appear on the Premier’s pecuniary interests declaration for the period.

However, at ICAC Mr O’Farrell denied receiving the wine at all, telling the inquiry: “I’m not a wine connoisseur”.

The Premier also said he had no recollection of the 28-second call made from his phone to Mr Di Girolamo in 2011 around the time he was allegedly sent the wine.

Mr Di Girolamo had earlier told ICAC that Mr O’Farrell phoned him to thank him for the gift.

At a press conference this morning, Mr O’Farrell said ICAC had been presented with a note signed by him to Mr Di Girolamo, thanking him for an expensive gift of wine.

He says that while the evidence he gave to ICAC was “truthful”, “I do accept there is a thankyou note signed by me” to Mr Di Girolamo.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says he will resign

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says he will resign

Profile: Barry O’Farrell

  • Elected Premier on 26 March 2011
  • Elected as NSW Liberal Leader in April 2007
  • Represents the electorate of Ku-ring-gai
  • Elected to NSW Parliament in 1995
  • Served as NSW state director of the Liberal Party in the mid 1990s
  • Worked as a public policy advisor at both state and federal levels in the late 1980s and early 1990s

 

“I’ve accepted that I’ve had a massive memory fail. I still can’t explain either the arrival of a gift that I have no recollection of or its absence, which I certainly still can’t fathom, but I accept the consequences in an orderly way,” he said.

“A new Liberal leader will be elected to take on the position of NSW.”

He said that he did not seek to “wilfully” mislead ICAC, and, “As someone who believes in accountability, in responsibility I accept the consequences of my action”.

He continued: “As soon as I can organise a meeting of the parliamentary Liberal Party for next week, I will be resigning the position and enabling a new Liberal leader to be elected – someone who will then become the Premier of NSW.”

Mr O’Farrell has been recalled to ICAC to give evidence at midday today.

Honour and integrity rarely seen: Tony Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Mr O’Farrell had demonstrated “integrity” by resigning over what he said was an innocent and inadvertent misleading of ICAC.

“We are seeing an act of integrity, an act of honour, the like of which we have rarely seen in Australian politics,” he said.

 

“I admire him tremendously for this, although I deeply regret the necessity for it.”

He described Mr O’Farrell as a “friend”, who had always strived to do the “right thing” by NSW.

“I have known Barry for two decades. He has been a friend of mine throughout that time,” he said.

“He has been a great servant of the Liberal Party, a great servant of the people of NSW and of Australia.

“He has constantly worked to do the right thing by the people of NSW and we were together as recently as last Friday in China winning trade and jobs for our country and our state.

“Obviously, as we now know, he innocently, inadvertently misled ICAC yesterday and he has taken the utterly honourable step of resigning as Premier.”

 

MP Angela D’Amore BUSTED Senator Ruth Webber BUSTED…


A never ending list of greedy privileged politicians scourging away, snouts deep in the trough as far as they can dig. But it does not end when they leave parliament? NO they just continue on the gravy train. Why the bloody hell do they get these benefits anyway? They are well paid. The bloke at Harvey Norman does not get free 50 inch TV’s for all the good service he gave while there. No he moves on.Why the friggin hell should these well connected mob get such a privilege. The old excuse has always been oh well we need to get the best candidates, we need to reward them… bullshit.They got rewarded with excellent pay. Nobody made them become politicians. Stay in the private sector, with all your skills…They are there purely for the “networking” and conditions. That is why they leave when they lose power. The ego cannot handle it.Nothing to do with serving the community.They become “Advisers” (a good word, but really means introducer to power brokers) I hate the system. I know what can we do, because when you look at it, a great career move for a want to be mover and shaker, with LIFE LONG benefits…BUT FOR SOME, THAT IS EVEN NOT ENOUGH…they dig for even more

I may make a NEW segment  politician watch, on all the shonky bastards…Remember the slogan, keep the bastards Honest? that was a joke, “Keep the rorts going”, that’s what it should of been

Member for Drummoyne, Angela D'Amore arrives at an earlier Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing

AN “angry and frustrated” Premier Kristina Keneally has sacked her corrupt MP Angela D’Amore from the Labor party after ICAC found she rorted staff entitlements.

Ms Keneally has refused to ask Ms D’Amore, who can remain as an independent, to resign from parliament in light of damaging findings from the ICAC.

The Labor party will seek a new candidate for Drummoyne after sacking Ms D’Amore from the party.

“These are serious findings and what I would say to the people of Drummoyne is this – I acknowledge that the member for Drummoyne has broken that fundamental trust between the community and their elected representative,” Ms Keneally said.

The premier faced a barrage of questions over why she wouldn’t demand Ms D’Amore, a factional ally, resign from the parliament.

She said such a demand was not within the powers of the premier’s office.

Related Coverage

Ms D’Amore was found to have acted inappropriately in falsifying sitting day relief entitlement forms so her staff could work in her parliamentary office when they should have been working in her electorate office.

Ms D’Amore is parliamentary secretary to the police minister and the sister-in-law of controversial retiring MP Joe Tripodi.

A statement from the ICAC said the DPP should consider charged Ms D’Amore with two offences of misconduct in public office.

The commission report found that “Ms D’Amore instructed or authorised (Agatha) La Manna and another temporary staff member, Karen Harbilas, to complete false claims for sitting day relief during 2006 and 2007, which resulted in the staff members concerned receiving combined payments from parliament of $4,500 to which they were not entitled.”

The ICAC also found Ms D’Amore to have been an unreliable witness.

And this, in Victoria, greedy bloody pigs, well paid pigs, who still dig in deep in the trough after they go, enjoying a free ride!

Former senator Ruth Webber has been enjoying the high life since losing her seat in 2008, She must not of known about the free dental plan!

A LITTLE-known former Labor senator who went on a two-year taxpayer-funded flight of fancy has been forced to repay almost $20,000.

Ruth Webber, who lost her seat in 2008, chalked up 147 flights costing $116,000 under the Gold Pass scheme for retired federal MPs.

Ms Webber took one flight every five days on average and while taxpayers picked up the bill, she earned more than 200,000 frequent-flyer points.

But Department of Finance officials decided Ms Webber took too many trips and ordered her to repay $18,855 for 20 flights.

Ms Webber questioned why bureaucrats didn’t warn her she had exceeded her allowed number of flights.

Records show Perth-based Ms Webber took 37 business-class flights to Melbourne, 21 to Canberra and 18 to Sydney. There were 35 flights between Melbourne and Canberra, and 19 between Sydney and Canberra. She took a four-day return trip from Sydney to Hamilton Island.

Related Coverage

The department confirmed there was “no purpose test” for the free flights beyond the fact they should not be for commercial use.

Former MPs are not required to tell the department the reason for the flight.

The documents do not reveal Ms Webber’s reason for taking the flights. She could not be contacted yesterday and has previously declined to comment about her retirement travel.

The revelations come as the Gillard Government is considering the future of the Gold Pass scheme, which costs taxpayers $1.2 million a year.

A top-secret report by former public servant Barbara Belcher recommends sweeping changes as part of a wider overhaul of MPs pay and entitlements.

Special Minister of State Gary Gray has urged Cabinet to close down the Gold Pass scheme for new MPs and curb its use for existing MPs.

One option is banning holiday travel.

There is a fierce battle inside the Government, with some MPs desperate to keep the scheme.

Travel documents also show former National Party leader Ian Sinclair and his family took 112 flights between January 2009 and June this year costing $46,000, including 24 flights to the holiday resort of Lord Howe Island where he has a cottage.

Millionaire former Howard minister Geoff Prosser has charged taxpayers $28,000 for 40 flights between Perth and Broome.

MP Angela D'Amore BUSTED Senator Ruth Webber BUSTED…


A never ending list of greedy privileged politicians scourging away, snouts deep in the trough as far as they can dig. But it does not end when they leave parliament? NO they just continue on the gravy train. Why the bloody hell do they get these benefits anyway? They are well paid. The bloke at Harvey Norman does not get free 50 inch TV’s for all the good service he gave while there. No he moves on.Why the friggin hell should these well connected mob get such a privilege. The old excuse has always been oh well we need to get the best candidates, we need to reward them… bullshit.They got rewarded with excellent pay. Nobody made them become politicians. Stay in the private sector, with all your skills…They are there purely for the “networking” and conditions. That is why they leave when they lose power. The ego cannot handle it.Nothing to do with serving the community.They become “Advisers” (a good word, but really means introducer to power brokers) I hate the system. I know what can we do, because when you look at it, a great career move for a want to be mover and shaker, with LIFE LONG benefits…BUT FOR SOME, THAT IS EVEN NOT ENOUGH…they dig for even more

I may make a NEW segment  politician watch, on all the shonky bastards…Remember the slogan, keep the bastards Honest? that was a joke, “Keep the rorts going”, that’s what it should of been

Member for Drummoyne, Angela D'Amore arrives at an earlier Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing

AN “angry and frustrated” Premier Kristina Keneally has sacked her corrupt MP Angela D’Amore from the Labor party after ICAC found she rorted staff entitlements.

Ms Keneally has refused to ask Ms D’Amore, who can remain as an independent, to resign from parliament in light of damaging findings from the ICAC.

The Labor party will seek a new candidate for Drummoyne after sacking Ms D’Amore from the party.

“These are serious findings and what I would say to the people of Drummoyne is this – I acknowledge that the member for Drummoyne has broken that fundamental trust between the community and their elected representative,” Ms Keneally said.

The premier faced a barrage of questions over why she wouldn’t demand Ms D’Amore, a factional ally, resign from the parliament.

She said such a demand was not within the powers of the premier’s office.

Related Coverage

Ms D’Amore was found to have acted inappropriately in falsifying sitting day relief entitlement forms so her staff could work in her parliamentary office when they should have been working in her electorate office.

Ms D’Amore is parliamentary secretary to the police minister and the sister-in-law of controversial retiring MP Joe Tripodi.

A statement from the ICAC said the DPP should consider charged Ms D’Amore with two offences of misconduct in public office.

The commission report found that “Ms D’Amore instructed or authorised (Agatha) La Manna and another temporary staff member, Karen Harbilas, to complete false claims for sitting day relief during 2006 and 2007, which resulted in the staff members concerned receiving combined payments from parliament of $4,500 to which they were not entitled.”

The ICAC also found Ms D’Amore to have been an unreliable witness.

And this, in Victoria, greedy bloody pigs, well paid pigs, who still dig in deep in the trough after they go, enjoying a free ride!

Former senator Ruth Webber has been enjoying the high life since losing her seat in 2008, She must not of known about the free dental plan!

A LITTLE-known former Labor senator who went on a two-year taxpayer-funded flight of fancy has been forced to repay almost $20,000.

Ruth Webber, who lost her seat in 2008, chalked up 147 flights costing $116,000 under the Gold Pass scheme for retired federal MPs.

Ms Webber took one flight every five days on average and while taxpayers picked up the bill, she earned more than 200,000 frequent-flyer points.

But Department of Finance officials decided Ms Webber took too many trips and ordered her to repay $18,855 for 20 flights.

Ms Webber questioned why bureaucrats didn’t warn her she had exceeded her allowed number of flights.

Records show Perth-based Ms Webber took 37 business-class flights to Melbourne, 21 to Canberra and 18 to Sydney. There were 35 flights between Melbourne and Canberra, and 19 between Sydney and Canberra. She took a four-day return trip from Sydney to Hamilton Island.

Related Coverage

The department confirmed there was “no purpose test” for the free flights beyond the fact they should not be for commercial use.

Former MPs are not required to tell the department the reason for the flight.

The documents do not reveal Ms Webber’s reason for taking the flights. She could not be contacted yesterday and has previously declined to comment about her retirement travel.

The revelations come as the Gillard Government is considering the future of the Gold Pass scheme, which costs taxpayers $1.2 million a year.

A top-secret report by former public servant Barbara Belcher recommends sweeping changes as part of a wider overhaul of MPs pay and entitlements.

Special Minister of State Gary Gray has urged Cabinet to close down the Gold Pass scheme for new MPs and curb its use for existing MPs.

One option is banning holiday travel.

There is a fierce battle inside the Government, with some MPs desperate to keep the scheme.

Travel documents also show former National Party leader Ian Sinclair and his family took 112 flights between January 2009 and June this year costing $46,000, including 24 flights to the holiday resort of Lord Howe Island where he has a cottage.

Millionaire former Howard minister Geoff Prosser has charged taxpayers $28,000 for 40 flights between Perth and Broome.

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