Eddie Obeid: The rise, reign and fall of NSW’s most notorious political powerbroker

Eddie Obeid was renowned as a fearsome Labor kingmaker
His business and political empires became entwined
An ICAC finding of corruption lead to his prosecution

Obeid has been sentenced to five years’ jail, with a minimum of three years, for misconduct in a public office in relation to his family’s secret business dealings at Circular Quay.


Update 1.28pm 15/12/16

‘Bail is refused’

“I direct Mr Obeid be taken down [into the cells],” Justice Beech-Jones says.

After loosening his tie and handing his watch to his lawyers, Obeid was led from the dock in court five in the historic Darlinghurst Supreme Court by corrective services officers.

Justice Beech-Jones says Obeid’s lawyers have not established “exceptional circumstances” exist to warrant a grant of bail pending his appeal against conviction and sentence.

“I do not accept Mr Obeid’s appeal rises any higher than being reasonably arguable,” he says of the merits of the foreshadowed appeal.


Eddie Obeid to be stripped of parliamentary pension as Baird government reacts to his sentencing

  • Sean Nicholls

Former Labor minister Eddie Obeid is set to be stripped of his annual $120,000 parliamentary pension following his sentencing for wilful misconduct in public office.

On Thursday, Obeid was sentenced to a maximum 5 years in jail with a non parole period of three years.

Shortly afterwards, Premier Mike Baird announced MPs convicted of a serious offence during their time in office will lose their parliamentary pension, even if they quit before charges are laid.

The announcement means Obeid is set to be stripped of his lifetime annual pension worth more than $120,000 a year.

Presently MPs convicted of a serious offence – punishable by at least five years imprisonment – can keep their pensions if they are not charged while in office.

“The crimes of Eddie Obeid and his cronies are the most serious instance of official corruption we have seen in our lifetimes,” Mr Baird said.

“Regardless of political affiliation, any MP who commits a serious offence while in office should face the consequences, and should not be shielded simply because they resign before being charged.

“We will work cooperatively with the Opposition and cross-bench MPs over the summer recess to bring forward amendments that repair this glaring anomaly, and we will make sure they capture Obeid and any others who find themselves in his situation.”

The change will require an amendment to legislation to be put to parliament early next year.

The Baird government has also indicated it will claw back the estimated $280,000 legal assistance he was given for this particular ICAC inquiry.

MORE TO COME

Click here to read full sentencing judgement


Eddie Obeid sentenced for Circular Quay corruption

Michaela Whitbourn

‘Sanctity of jury verdict’

Justice Beech-Jones says the “public interest upholding the sanctity of the jury’s verdict” is a factor weighing against granting bail.

The corrupt former Labor kingpin’s lawyers have also suggested he should be granted bail because he is facing a committal hearing on other corruption charges next year.

The Supreme Court judge says it can be accepted it will be harder for Obeid to prepare for that case while in jail.

The judge decides

Justice Robert Beech-Jones is now delivering his decision on whether Obeid should be granted bail. It’s a busy morning for the Supreme Court judge.

Justice Robert Beech-Jones delivers his decision in the Eddie Obeid sentencing.
Justice Robert Beech-Jones delivers his decision in the Eddie Obeid sentencing.  

The final, final point

It feels like Obeid’s barrister is holding out the promise of a “final” point but there is always another one to be made.

Guy Reynolds, SC, says Obeid will appeal not only his conviction but his sentence.

And yes, he still wants “a release order or bail” pending that appeal. If he doesn’t get it from Justice Beech-Jones he is likely to ask the Court of Criminal Appeal to decide on that point too.

‘Unreasonable verdict’

Obeid’s barrister Guy Reynolds, SC, says he is moving onto his “final” point.

Not only does Reynolds say the jury was misdirected by Justice Beech-Jones, he says the jury’s verdict was “unreasonable and cannot be supported by the evidence”.

It’s good to cover all one’s bases.

Reynolds says he is “grateful” to the court for allowing him to set out the grounds of appeal, as “aggravating” as it may be.

He reiterates he is seeking bail for his 73-year-old client pending an appeal.

Eddie Obeid outside court this morning.
Eddie Obeid outside court this morning. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Still here

Oh yes, we’re still here in court. Obeid’s barrister Guy Reynolds, SC, is fleshing out his submission there has been a miscarriage of justice.

Obeid has no intention of going to jail and his legal team wants Justice Beech-Jones to grant bail today.

Get comfortable. This could be a while.

Back to top

Obeid to be stripped of pension

The Herald‘s state political editor Sean Nicholls has the exclusive: the Baird government will strip Obeid of his annual $120,000 parliamentary pension following his jail sentence for misconduct in public office.

Read the full story here.

Someone's having a good day, and it ain't Eddie.
Someone’s having a good day, and it ain’t Eddie. Photo: James Alcock

No love lost

Former Labor premier Kristina Keneally is out of the blocks early to offer her views on Obeid’s jail sentence. She’s not mincing her words.

It ain’t over

Usually when a person is sent to prison, they are taken away from the courtroom almost immediately by corrective services.

Not so in the Obeid case. His lawyer, Guy Reynolds, SC, is in full flight about the alleged miscarriage of justice suffered by his client. He wants bail.

An impassive Obeid remains in the dock as Reynolds and Justice Beech-Jones engage in a robust discussion about the latter’s summing up to the jury.

What next

An appeal is already in the offing but for the time being Obeid is going to jail for a maximum of five years, with no possibility of release for three years.

What next? Glad you asked. Obeid and his entrepreneurial middle son, Moses, have been charged over a separate deal exposed at ICAC, relating to the very fortuitous creation of a coal mining tenement over their rural property in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee.

The deal netted the Obeid family $30 million, ICAC heard.The men will face a three-week committal hearing starting on May 29 to test the strength of the prosecution’s case and determine if they should stand trial.

Moses Obeid outside the Supreme Court earlier this year.
Moses Obeid outside the Supreme Court earlier this year. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Appeal, anyone?

Obeid’s barrister, Guy Reynolds, SC, has leapt to his feet and, as foreshadowed, is already flagging an appeal.

He says there has been a “miscarriage of justice” and they will need to trot off to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

“The prospects of Mr Obeid succeeding … on appeal are extremely high,” Reynolds says.

Back to top

Jail only appropriate penalty

Obeid will go to jail, Justice Beech-Jones says.

“Given the nature of the offending and notwithstanding Mr Obeid’s personal circumstances, I am satisfied that, having considered all possible alternatives, no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate,” he says.

“Mr Obeid, will you please stand up.”

Five years

Justice Beech-Jones has sentenced Obeid to a maximum of 5 years in jail, with a three-year non parole period.

‘Not an opinion poll’

This is it. “Conclusion,” Justice Beech-Jones says clearly.

He says sentencing is not conducted via “opinion polls”.

“If Mr Obeid had not willfully abused his position as a parliamentarian, then his life and career would be a testament to the values of hard work, family and public service. Instead, his time in public life has produced a very different legacy.”

Life expectancy

And we are inching closer. Justice Beech-Jones says a jail sentence should not be reduced because it would consume “most of an offender’s remaining life expectancy”.

Medical conditions

The court hears Obeid suffers from a litany of medical conditions. He had a stroke earlier this year, has had type two diabetes “for years”, has high blood pressure and colonic polyps.

He also tripped on a coffee table earlier this year and was taken to hospital.

However, the conditions are “stable and controlled”, according to medical evidence.

But expert evidence tendered by Obeid’s legal team says it is “unlikely that … Obeid would receive appropriate medical treatment in custody if he was incarcerated”.

Justice Beech-Jones says he accepts Obeid would receive “a superior level of care in the community” but he is satisfied “he would receive an adequate level of care” in jail.

Eddie Obeid outside court this morning.
Eddie Obeid outside court this morning. Photo: Daniel Munoz

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All in the family

Justice Beech-Jones says the evidence suggests the Obeid family is “exceptionally close” and would be hit hard by the jailing of the patriarch.

But he notes it was Obeid’s decision to prioritise the interest of his family above his duty to the public that led to his offending.

A parliamentarian cannot use their position to “afford generosity” to their family or associates, he says.

‘Mitigating factor’

Obeid enlisted 55 character witnesses in his fight to avoid jail. Justice Beech-Jones says they are evidence of “prior good character”, which is a “mitigating factor” in sentencing.

However, he says in cases of corruption the “need for deterrence is particularly strong” and the references will be “afforded less weight”.

‘Deliberate breach of trust’

Justice Beech-Jones is getting closer to delivering those final words: to jail or not to jail.

He says the essence of the offence of misconduct in public office is a “deliberate breach of trust”.

The seniority of the public official is relevant, along with the nature of the breach.

The Supreme Court judge is surveying relevant cases, and says they demonstrate the “onerous duty” imposed upon parliamentarians and ministers.

Eddie Obeid outside court this morning.
Eddie Obeid outside court this morning. Photo: Daniel Munoz

The penalty

Now we’re getting down to it. Justice Beech-Jones is setting out the principles for sentencing Eddie Obeid.

In NSW the offence of misconduct in public office is not codified in an act of Parliament – it is simply part of the common law (law made by judges).

That means the maximum penalty has not been set out in legislation and is technically “at large”, meaning life.

But in other states, where the offence has been codified, the maximum penalty is about seven years. This is relevant but the court is not “limited” by that, Justice Beech-Jones says.

He says there is “no difference in substance” between a politician receiving a bribe to advance someone else’s interest and using their position to line their own pockets.

‘Makes no difference’

It makes no difference to Obeid’s criminality whether he was acting to advance his own financial interests or those of his family, Justice Beech-Jones said


Eddie Obeid: The rise, reign and recession of NSW’s most notorious political powerbroker

Analysis

12.20pm 15/12/2016

The sentencing of former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid is a day of reckoning for a man who once wielded his influence to build and destroy the careers of premiers and MPs in New South Wales.

Key points:

  • Eddie Obeid was renowned as a fearsome Labor kingmaker
  • His business and political empires became entwined
  • An ICAC finding of corruption lead to his prosecution

Obeid has been sentenced to five years’ jail, with a minimum of three years, for misconduct in a public office in relation to his family’s secret business dealings at Circular Quay.

Edward Moses Obeid was born in a village in northern Lebanon in 1943, and after moving to Australia as a child, worked as a cab driver and at local Arabic-language newspaper El Telegraph.

Within a few years he was running that newspaper, and was recruited by Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson to join the party in 1972.

ABC investigative journalist Marion Wilkinson’s book The Fixer describes how Obeid was soon providing invaluable advice to Richardson on how to politically organise ethnic communities.

It was Mr Richardson who gave Obeid the necessary backing to see him elected to the NSW Upper House in 1991, and he rose through the ranks to become the minister for fisheries and mineral resources from 1999 to 2003.

But it was his creation and control of the so-called Terrigals sub-faction of the Labor Right that would go on to dominate NSW Labor for the better part of two decades.

One king to rule them all

The sub-faction was formed, with Obeid its undisputed king, at a now infamous meeting at his beach house in Terrigal in 1992.

It went on to use its numbers relentlessly to fundraise, control pre-selections, guide policy and elevate chosen MPs to the frontbench.

At the height of its powers, the Terrigals sub-faction was instrumental in installing and removing a series of premiers — namely Morris Iemma, Nathan Rees and Kristina Keneally.

Mr Iemma has said his premiership became “untenable” because he could not convince the Terrigals to approve his preferred ministerial reshuffle.

Mr Rees was rolled after standing up to the sub-faction by sacking Ian Macdonald and Joe Tripodi from the ministry.

Just before he was knifed, Mr Rees famously said: “should I not be Premier by the end of the day, let there be no doubt in the community’s mind, no doubt, that any challenger will be a puppet of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi.”

How the empire unravelled

But Obeid’s influence was broader than the parliamentary caucus.

His diary entries from 2007 to 2009, tendered to Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearings, show a revolving door of developers, union bosses and business figures queuing up to seek appointments with him.

With a string of business and property interests in both Australia and Lebanon, Obeid was already wealthy when he entered Parliament and he continued to build both his financial and political empires while an MP.

And it was the mixing of his political and business ties which eventually led to him being convicted on June 28 this year of misconduct in a public office.

Obeid was found to have lobbied the then-deputy chief executive of the State Maritime Authority, Steve Dunn, over Circular Quay leases — without revealing that his family secretly owned a series of harbourside cafes in the Quay.

The Crown said Obeid knew Mr Dunn from when he had been fisheries minister, and argued that he misused his position as an Upper House MP to “dupe” Mr Dunn into believing he was acting on behalf of constituents.

The court found he was in fact trying to stop a competitive tender process for the leases to financially benefit his own family.

Prosecution not to be scoffed at

The prosecution stemmed from a corrupt conduct finding by the ICAC.

In his findings in the ICAC inquiry into the Circular Quay leases, assistant commissioner Anthony Whealy described the former MP’s actions as demonstrating “the moral vacuum at the core of his political being”.

When the ICAC first handed down its finding, Obeid scoffed that he believed there was “less than a one per cent chance” that he would be prosecuted as a result.

Even when charged, he still said he had “no concerns whatsoever” and was “very confident” he would not be convicted because he was innocent.

The court found otherwise.

Labor has done its best to exorcise itself of Obeid, ending his influence and calling for the courts to throw the full force of the law at him.

But no matter how hard it may try, Obeid’s fingerprints will forever remain all over a chapter of its political history in NSW.

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ICAC: Former NSW minister Ian Macdonald to be prosecuted over Doyles Creek mine licence

Wipe that bloody smile off your face McDonald, there will be no happy meals in jail when they finish with you (well apart from the I’m dying, have 34 cancers, amnesia and dementia and so on, which will be a disgraceful defence to those that suffer from those diseases

Long time waiting for this, with more crooks to come, including the outrageously corrupt and greedy Obeid Tribe


Wipe that bloody smile off your face McDonald, there will be no happy meals in jail when they finish with you (well apart from the I’m dying, have 34 cancers, amnesia and dementia and so on, which will be a disgraceful defence to those that suffer from those diseases

Long time waiting for this, with more crooks to come, including the outrageously corrupt and greedy Obeid Tribe

Update Thu 20 Nov 2014, 4:57pm

ICAC: Former NSW ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald to be prosecuted after corruption findings

Former New South Wales Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald have been ordered to appear in court after prosecutors decided to act on the findings of the state’s corruption watchdog.

Mr Obeid is being prosecuted for alleged misconduct in public office relating to restaurant leases at Circular Quay in Sydney.

Mr Macdonald is being prosecuted for two alleged offences of misconduct in public office over the awarding of a mining licence.

In June, Mr Obeid was found to have acted corruptly by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which said he “misused his position as an MP” to lobby ministers and a senior public servant over the retail leases.

The commission heard Mr Obeid had a secret stake in cafes and restaurants in the area through his brother-in-law, and he failed to disclose the stake when he lobbied other Labor ministers not to put the leases to a competitive tender when they expired in 2005.

“A court attendance notice was served on Mr Obeid this afternoon, following advice received from the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions,” ICAC said in a statement.

The court notice alleged Mr Obeid induced Stephen Dunn, a senior manager with the Maritime Authority of NSW, to “deal favourably” with Circular Quay Restaurants’ tenancies.

Mr Obeid fronted the media assembled outside his Hunters Hill home and said he would plead not guilty to the charges laid against him. Fraud from day 1, and the were ALL scared of him if you did not go past EO you got nothing back in the day in NSW parliment. Barely made a speech ever it at all, but was a POWER BROKER…WTF with the gutless party tribe (robbo)

“Those inquiries are nothing but sham inquiries that wanted to make ICAC look good,” he said.

He maintained his innocence and said he welcomed the prosecution.

“I have no concern whatsoever that in a court of law we’ll be able to fight the evidence, and I’m very confident,” Eddie Obeid said.

“I’m looking forward to telling the evidence we have. I’m innocent in every instance.”

ICAC’s Operation Acacia investigated Mr Macdonald’s decision to award the Doyles Creek mining licence in 2008, when he was resources minister.

The commission heard the then-Labor minister “gifted” the licence, in the Hunter Valley, to then-chairman of Doyles Creek Mining John Maitland without a competitive tender and against departmental advice.

The corruption watchdog recommended both Mr Macdonald and Mr Maitland be charged.

ICAC said a court attendance notice had been served on Mr Macdonald earlier today, after the DPP provided advice that Mr Macdonald should be prosecuted for two offences of misconduct in public office.

Mr Maitland was being prosecuted for being an accessory to misconduct in public office, ICAC said.

The action follows widespread criticism of a lack of prosecutions resulting from the commission’s corruption findings.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said it was “about time” Mr Macdonald was prosecuted.

“Ultimately, what you need to see is prosecutions,” he said.

“Those prosecutions coming forward is going to give great confidence to the community.

“That is exactly what they want to see – if someone does the wrong thing and if they abuse public office, if they act in their own interest, if they undertake corrupt activity, well, there are consequences and they need to face them.”

The notice alleged Mr Macdonald “did in the course of and connected to his public office wilfully misconduct himself by granting Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd consent to apply for an exploration licence under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable cause or justification”.

He was also involved in misconduct “by granting to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd Exploration Licence No. 7270 under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable justification”, the court notice alleged.

A court attendance notice was also served on Mr Maitland for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office “in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

Mr Macdonald has previously described the ICAC findings as “false” and “based on guess work and conjecture”.

Mr Maitland has also rejected the findings.

The matters are listed for mention at the Downing Centre Local Court on December 18.


 

Thu 20 Nov 2014, 12:34pm

Former New South Wales government minister Ian Macdonald has been ordered to appear in court after prosecutors decided to act on a corruption inquiry’s findings.

Mr Macdonald is being prosecuted for two alleged offences of misconduct in public office, after an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry relating to the awarding of a mining licence.

ICAC’s Operation Acacia investigated Mr Macdonald’s decision to award the Doyles Creek mining licence in 2008, when he was resources minister.

The commission heard the then-Labor minister “gifted” the licence, in the Hunter Valley, to then-chairman of Doyles Creek Mining John Maitland without a competitive tender and against departmental advice.

The corruption watchdog recommended both Mr Macdonald and Mr Maitland be charged.

ICAC said a court attendance notice had been served on Mr Macdonald earlier today, after the DPP provided advice that Mr Macdonald should be prosecuted for two offences of misconduct in public office.

Mr Maitland was being prosecuted for being an accessory to misconduct in public office, ICAC said.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said it was “about time” Mr Macdonald was prosecuted.

“Ultimately, what you need to see is prosecutions,” he said.

“Those prosecutions coming forward is going to give great confidence to the community.

“That is exactly what they want to see – if someone does the wrong thing and if they abuse public office, if they act in their own interest, if they undertake corrupt activity, well, there are consequences and they need to face them.”

The notice alleged Mr Macdonald “did in the course of and connected to his public office wilfully misconduct himself by granting Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd consent to apply for an exploration licence under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable cause or justification”.

He was also involved in misconduct “by granting to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd Exploration Licence No. 7270 under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable justification”, the court notice alleged.

A court attendance notice was also served on Mr Maitland for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office “in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

Mr Maitland is also being prosecuted for giving false evidence at ICAC.

The matters are listed for mention at the Downing Centre Local Court on December 18.

More on this story:

ICAC recommends cancellation of coal licences

ICAC finds Macdonald corrupt over Doyles Creek mine

Official advised against coal licence: ICAC

Coal licence a ‘goldmine’ for union boss: ICAC

 


  • Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald facing prosecution over Doyles Creek mine deal

    Date
    November 20, 2014 – 11:30AM

    Sydney Morning Herald State Political Editor

     Ian Macdonald facing prosecution over mining deal

    http://media.smh.com.au/news/nsw-news/ian-macdonald-facing-prosecution-over-mining-deal-6007934.html

    Former NSW Labor minister Ian Macdonald is the first person to be prosecuted after an ICAC inquiry into the Doyles Creek mine deal

    Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald is being prosecuted for misconduct in public office following a corruption inquiry into the issuing of lucrative mining licences at Doyles Creek in the Hunter Valley.

    In a statement, the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced a court attendance notice was served on Mr Macdonald on Thursday on the advice of the NSW director of public prosecutions.

    Last year the ICAC found Mr Macdonald acted corruptly as a minister in 2008 by granting a licence at Doyles Creek to a company then headed by former union official John Maitland.

    Former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald exits the ICAC hearing in February 2013.Former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald exits the ICAC hearing in February 2013. Photo: Nic Walker

    The company, Doyles Creek Mining, was later taken over by NuCoal Resources. Mr Maitland made millions of dollars from the deal.

    The ICAC found Mr Macdonald awarded the exploration licence – without tender and against departmental advice – to his “mate” Mr Maitland, a former national secretary of the Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union.

    The court notice says that Mr Macdonald “did in the course of, and connected to his public office, wilfully misconduct himself” by granting Doyles Creek Mining consent to apply for exploration licences “without reasonable cause or justification”.

    The ICAC has also announced Mr Maitland is being prosecuted “for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office, in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

    He is also being prosecuted for giving false and misleading evidence to the ICAC.

    The announcement represents the first time prosecutions have been launched against key players in a series of major corruption inquiries into the handling of coal licences held by the ICAC involving Mr Macdonald and former Labor minister Eddie Obeid.

    The ICAC has also indicated more prosecutions could flow from its inquiry into Doyles Creek, codenamed Operation Acacia.

    The businessmen who bankrolled Doyles Creek Mining, Craig Ransley and Andrew Poole, were also found to have acted corruptly by the ICAC last year.

    The ICAC found Mr Ransley, Mr Maitland and Mr Poole deliberately set out to ensure they did not face a public tender for the licence and made false statements to the government to obtain the exploration approval.

    “The Commission is awaiting advice from the DPP in relation to further briefs it has provided with respect to Operation Acacia,” the statement said on Thursday.

    The Doyles Creek licence has been “torn up” by the NSW government on the advice of the ICAC, prompting legal action by NuCoal which has flagged it is seeking compensation of “at least” $500 million.

Six SA Cops arrested on theft and abuse of public office charges by ICAC


6 Coppers in SA wouldn’t have been stealing the drugs  or property they bust in raids would they? Surely not, stay tuned!

Updated with the charges.I have the names of these officers who are supposed to upload the law but have chosen to not name them just YET.

Charges include:

  • A 53-year-old man from Darlington – abuse of public office and aggravated theft
  • A 43-year-old man from Aberfoyle Park – two counts of abuse of public office, two counts of theft, and property damage
  • A 38-year-old man from Woodcroft – two counts of abuse of public office, two counts of aggravated theft and property damage
  • A 33-year-old man from Camden Park – abuse of public office and aggravated theft
  • A 31-year-old woman from Sellicks Beach – abuse of public office, aggravated theft and property damage
  • A 27-year-old woman from Woodcroft – abuse of public office and aggravated theft.

ICAC investigation: Six Adelaide SAPOL police officers charged with theft, abuse of public office

http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/external?url=http://content6.video.news.com.au/RjcWoycTpSVlBQNMN88DLQj9OVeiSDYi/promo237443590&width=650&api_key=kq7wnrk4eun47vz9c5xuj3mc

POLICE will probe into the culture of the alleged offending of six officers arrested in the first major bust by the state’s new ICAC and its potential causes, Police Commissioner Gary Burns says.

Speaking outside the Police Association of SA annual delegates conference this morning, Mr Burns said a police department review of the Operation Mantle team where the officers worked would consider “the circumstances that may have fostered this type of behaviour to make sure it doesn’t happen again or in any other Mantle team”.

He said the seventh member of the team, a senior constable who has not faced charges, was also under investigation.

Mr Burns said the investigations of those officers, who have been suspended on full pay, may put cases they were working on under threat and also revealed the charges relating to property damage involved the destruction of potential police exhibits.

“That’s part of what we are looking at now — what the broader impact on policing is, in particular if these particular officers are involved in any arrests or reports that might be before the courts or going before the courts,” Mr Burns said.

He was unable to identify how many investigations it could affect.

Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Bruce Lander, with Police Commissioner Gary
Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Bruce Lander, with Police Commissioner Gary Burns announce the arrests.

Police Association of SA President Mark Carroll said the all members of the team are association members and should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

He said the association would be speaking with them over the coming days.

Earlier this morning, Mr Burns told 891 ABC radio the offending ranks as a “ten” on the scale of one to ten in its seriousness.

Despite considering the level of alleged corruption as low level, when asked on radio this morning to rank the seriousness of the alleged offending Mr Burns had no hesitation in putting it at the top of the scale.

“From a police department’s perspective I expect every police officer to act with honesty and integrity,” he told 891 ABC radio this morning.

How the country’s ICACs compare

How the country’s ICACs compare

“Talking to people within the department there’s quite a level of shock and horror about it.

“All I’m trying to say here is no form of corruption should be tolerated.

“From a police perspective this is something that really impacts on us particularly when it comes to public confidence.”

Mr Burns said he did not have a value of the goods allegedly taken by the officers charged.

He said while none of the goods could be considered high value there were greater issues at play for police.

Aguide to the investigation

A guide to the investigation

“The issue for us is that these officers used their authority to enter premises to investigate drug offences and while they were doing that the allegation is that they took this type of equipment and they had no authority to do that,” he said.

Mr Burns agreed with the suggestion that prosecutors would allege the officers charged “got sticky fingers”.

“Yes, that’s right,” he said.

Mr Burns and Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander announced the officers, including a sergeant, were charged on Monday with abuse of public office and stealing items including alcohol and electronics.

Mr Burns conceded the arrests would damage the public impression of SA Police.

The Sturt Police station.
The Sturt Police station.

“The allegations are very disappointing,” Mr Burns told The Advertiser today.

“Obviously every police officer in South Australia … will be concerned about this, because we work on reputation. “We need public confidence and public support.

“Any matter like this, where police officers are involved in criminality will always have an impact.” “It shouldn’t be seen as a reflection on the other 4500 police officers who go out and do their work on a daily basis to the best of their ability.”

He said a deeper probe of the Operation Mantle branch would be conducted.

The joint investigation was led by Mr Lander with assistance from SA Police’s Anti-Corruption Branch. The four men and two women will appear in court on December 19.

Mr Burns said “irregularities” were first raised with senior police in January and February this year.The ICAC was then alerted, as required by legislation, including interviews with the one member not arrested and former staff in the unit.

“This is isolated to a small group,” Mr Burns insisted. “We’ll be looking at what opportunities they had that formed this little subculture that they operated.”

The six officers face a total of 18 charges including abuse of public office, aggravated theft and property damage. They range in age from 27 to 53.

The group is not accused of onselling the allegedly stolen property.

Mr Lander, a former Federal Court judge, said he took charge of the inquiry to ensure that a person independent of the police force was probing the allegations.

Mr Lander said the accused officers had “let down” the force but he remained impressed by the professionalism of Anti-Corruption Branch officers he had worked with.

“I thought it appropriate that somebody independent of SAPOL head the investigation because of the allegations that have been made,” Mr Lander said.

“I’m satisfied with the integrity of the Anti-Corruption Branch. “I think they would have still carried out the investigation even if I had not been occupying the position I did.”

Mr Lander said he was “disappointed” by both the allegations and evidence uncovered.

Mr Burns said Operation Mantle was dispatched to deal with “low level” drug dealing and street crime. There was “no indication” the officers had stolen drugs, he said.

“It’s mainly in the lower-category items. Liquor, tools, some electronics,” Mr Burns said.

“The arrests today don’t finalise the investigation. This investigation will be ongoing.”

SA became the last state in the nation to set up an ICAC when the new watchdog became operational in September last year. This is its first case to result in arrests.

Mr Lander has previously revealed he had referred some allegations for prosecution.

Premier Jay Weatherill said he was disappointed by the allegations but said the arrests vindicated his move to set up an ICAC after having claimed the Labor leadership.

“Of course it’s awful when we see these breaches in public trust,” he said. “The public should have confidence the ICAC is doing its work and, where it finds these instances of breaches of public integrity, it’s rooting them out and bringing people to justice.

“The truth is there are still people that engage in opportunistic episodes of corruption, and we’re seeing that revealed. “It’s a good thing though (that) before these things take hold and become institutionalised that they’re able to be searched for, found and the people that have had these breaches of public trust brought to justice.

“I’m confident that it’s an isolated instance.”

The officers have been suspended from duty pending court proceedings.

He said one case under investigation related to the “conduct of a senior person in public administration’’ and local government was over-represented in complaints.

Of more than 900 complaints and reports made in the first year of the ICAC’s operation, less than 60 are under investigation for corruption-related offences after being assessed.

Mr Lander’s first report to State Parliament is expected to be tabled within weeks.


 

Six South Australian police officers will be charged as part of a joint investigation between the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption and SA Police Anti-Corruption Branch.

The six plain-clothes officers from the Sturt local service area in Adelaide’s southern suburbs are facing allegations of property-related theft and abuse of public office.

More details will be given at a news conference by ICAC Commissioner Bruce Lander and Police Commissioner Gary Burns.

Under Section 56 of ICAC legislation, Commissioner Lander has authorised police to publish and discuss details of the arrests.

The officers are part of Operation Mantle, which has been investigating drug-related crime.

South Australia’s ICAC formally started operating just over a year ago, with a range of strict and secretive legislative protocols.

It prompted Commissioner Lander to recommend late last year that the SA Government ease some secrecy provisions of the legislation.

Mr Lander said the ICAC Act had been over-engineered regarding confidentiality.

 

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.

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

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.


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.”

 

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