NSW

Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald acted corruptly, ICAC finds

"Engaged in corrupt conduct": Eddie Obeid.
"Engaged in corrupt conduct": Eddie Obeid. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

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In an afternoon press conference in Sydney, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott drew links between federal Labor and its NSW counterparts, calling the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s findings ‘‘a black day in the history of the Labor Party’’.

Mr Abbott called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to ‘‘come clean’’ about all the dealings his senior ministers had with Mr Macdonald and Mr Obeid.

‘‘We all know how the NSW Labor Party works. We all know that this is a giant network of intrigue and influence. We all know that it operates on the basis of special deals and special favours for special mates,’’ he told reporters.

‘‘Mr Rudd needs to personally grill his ministers, he needs to personally grill [NSW Labor secretary Sam] Dastyari - the would-be senator - and [Matt] Thistlethwaite - the would-be member for Kingsford Smith - and get to bottom of their links with the Obeid-Macdonald machine.’’

In attacking Mr Rudd, Mr Abbott also said his plan to impose harsh criminal penalties for union officials breaking the rules would be a top-order priority for a Coalition government, calling on the Prime Minister to back the plan, even though Labor has not previously supported the legislation.

Eddie Obeid could now lose his OAM in the wake of the ICAC findings against him.

Mr Obeid was awarded the prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia in June 1984 for "services to ethnic welfare".

According to the Constitution of the Order of Australia, the Governor-General can cancel an award "if a court, tribunal or other body exercising judicial or administrative power under ... a law of the Commonwealth, a state or a territory ... has made a finding that is adverse to the holder of the appointment or award."

A person can similarly lose their award if they are convicted of a crime.

The Governor-General can also cancel an award if "in the opinion of the Governor-General, the holder of the appointment or award has behaved or acted in a manner that has brought disrepute on the order."

A spokesman for Governor-General Quentin Bryce could not comment on "individual situations" on Wednesday, but said that the Council for the Order of Australia "investigates all matters brought to its attention".

He said that any decision Ms Bryce would make would be on the advice of the Council.

A notice of termination or cancellation would then be made in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.

Former NSW Labor premier Nathan Rees says he believes the ICAC's findings will be damaging to Labor during the upcoming federal election.

''I've estimated that it's worth 2 to 3 per cent of the primary vote,'' he said in an interview with Eleanor Hall on ABC Radio. 

''Now there's no way in the world that I can empirically demonstrate that, but I make it my business to talk to lots of people in my electorate and around NSW and this issue emerges time and again.

''The infamy of the characters involved has bled into the federal sphere and the federal election campaign.''

Mr Rees said he also believed the findings tainted ''parliamentarians everywhere, whether they're Liberal or Labor or any other stripe.

''The hard work that goes on by hundreds of good parliamentarians on both sides across Australia is smeared when these sorts of acts of maladministration of public office are aired.''

He also said the findings had been very damaging for the Labor Party, ''and it will take some time for us to restore trust in us.

''But this is a small step, it's important that justice be seen to be done.''

Listen to the full interview here.

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Former NSW Labor premier Nathan Rees says he believes the ICAC's findings will be damaging to Labor during the upcoming federal election.

''I've estimated that it's worth 2 to 3 per cent of the primary vote,'' he said in an interview with Eleanor Hall on ABC Radio. 

''Now there's no way in the world that I can empirically demonstrate that, but I make it my business to talk to lots of people in my electorate and around NSW and this issue emerges time and again.

''The infamy of the characters involved has bled into the federal sphere and the federal election campaign.''

Mr Rees said he also believed the findings tainted ''parliamentarians everywhere, whether they're Liberal or Labor or any other stripe.

''The hard work that goes on by hundreds of good parliamentarians on both sides across Australia is smeared when these sorts of acts of maladministration of public office are aired.''

He also said the findings had been very damaging for the Labor Party, ''and it will take some time for us to restore trust in us.

''But this is a small step, it's important that justice be seen to be done.''

Listen to the full interview here.

Former NSW Labor premier Nathan Rees says he believes the ICAC's findings will be damaging to Labor during the upcoming federal election.

''I've estimated that it's worth 2 to 3 per cent of the primary vote,'' he said in an interview with Eleanor Hall on ABC Radio. 

''Now there's no way in the world that I can empirically demonstrate that, but I make it my business to talk to lots of people in my electorate and around NSW and this issue emerges time and again.

''The infamy of the characters involved has bled into the federal sphere and the federal election campaign.''

Mr Rees said he also believed the findings tainted ''parliamentarians everywhere, whether they're Liberal or Labor or any other stripe.

''The hard work that goes on by hundreds of good parliamentarians on both sides across Australia is smeared when these sorts of acts of maladministration of public office are aired.''

He also said the findings had been very damaging for the Labor Party, ''and it will take some time for us to restore trust in us.

''But this is a small step, it's important that justice be seen to be done.''

Listen to the full interview here.

We've uploaded the three ICAC reports (they can be slow to download from the ICAC website). You can access them below if you're so inclined.

Operation Jasper (the major report, concerning the coal tender and involving Ian Macdonald, Eddie Obeid and Moses Obeid)

Operation Jarilo (concerning Ian Macdonald, Ron Medich and a prostitute named Tiffanie)

Operation Indus (concerning Moses Obeid and Eric Roozendaal and a cheap Honda)

 

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has just held a press conference to express his ''disgust'' at the actions of Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid, who ''used the name of the Labor Party to advance their own personal interests''.

''I have nothing but disdain for their actions and each of them,'' he said.

Mr Robertson said he accepted all findings that were made by the commission, dismissing Mr Obeid's accusation of "superficiality and bias"

He said the NSW Labor party reforms, spearheaded by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, would ensure ''we never have people like this in our party again.''

Under the reforms, anyone found guilty of corruption would be expelled from the party. Any member investigated for conduct bringing the party into disrepute would be suspended.

''I'm angry because we've seen an abuse of public trust to rip off taxpayers,'' Mr Robertson said.

''I'm appalled and disgusted by that.''

Mr Robertson also said he was confident that NSW Labor would come back from this with ''hard work and continued effort''. 

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Assistant General Secretary Jamie Clements from the NSW Branch of the Labor party has confirmed via Twitter that Moses Obeid, Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald have been banished from the party forever.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will hold a press conference at 1.50pm to make a comment on the ICAC findings.

Kate McClymont

A reader has just reminded me of what Eddie said about me in parliament.

‘‘McClymont has been mixing with scum for so long that she no longer knows who is good and who is bad, what is real and what is made up. She has become the journalistic equivalent of a gun moll with glittering associations with the not so well-to-do. Despite this being well known, management of The Sydney Morning Herald continue to grant her prime, unscrutinised space. How many more times must my sons and I take action in the courts to redress the damage this journalist has inflicted?’’

Kate McClymont

ICAC's inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the issue of an invitation to Doyles Creek Pty Ltd to apply for, and allocation of, an exploration licence will be handed down next month.

Pity, as Macca could've scored the Trifecta.

Surely it won't be long before someone turns the whole ICAC saga into a screenplay? Ten's entertainment reporter Angela Bishop may have the jump on it.

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To summarise, there are eight key players that have been flagged for consideration for criminal charges:

Eddie Obeid, Moses Obeid, Ian Macdonald, Travers Duncan, Richard Poole, John Atkinson, John McGuigan and John Kinghorn.

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After he finished giving evidence to ICAC earlier this year, Ian Macdonald said:

"When the evidence is finally fully assessed I will not be found guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever... I believe this has been a very sensationalist process."

Ian MacDonald
Ian MacDonald Photo: Rob Homer
Kate McClymont

During the hearings, it was unclear just how much money the Obeids stood to gain if the Mount Penny coal mine went ahead.

As well as the $30 million the Obeids have already received, their interest could be worth between $50 million and $100 million, the report found. 

Further to that earlier post, Eddie Obeid was awarded his Order of Australia Medal in 1984 for "services to ethnic welfare".

He was the part-time Ethnic Affairs Commissioner from 1981-85 and Vice-President Ethnic Press Association of Australia from 1981-86.

Will Eddie Obeid lose his Order of Australia Medal and illustrious "OAM" from his title?

Under the Order of Australia Terminations and Cancellations Ordinance, the Governor-General may terminate an appointment or cancel an award "if a court, tribunal or other body exercising judicial or administrative power ... has made a finding that is adverse to the holder of the appointment or award".

The Ordinance also says: "The Governor-General may terminate an appointment, or cancel an award, if, in the opinion of the Governor-General, the holder of the appointment or award has behaved of acted in a manner that has brought disrepute on the Order."

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