Illustration: Rocco Fazzari.
An intriguing piece of paper has been occupying the top pocket of former NSW finance minister Greg Pearce of late.
It is said Mr Pearce has been showing it to just about every parliamentary colleague he has met since his dismissal from the cabinet by Premier Barry O'Farrell a month ago.
The document is a declaration Mr Pearce made to the cabinet when he was appointed minister after the March 2011 election and contains his potential conflicts of interest including, crucially, one relating to his wife, Shauna Jarrett.
It declares that Ms Jarrett works for the general counsel of the University of Sydney - the same relationship Mr O'Farrell said Mr Pearce had failed to disclose and cited as his reason for sacking him from the cabinet last month.
Four weeks after his sacking, Mr Pearce is using the declaration to complain about being unfairly axed from the cabinet.
Colleagues say Mr Pearce is furious with the Premier and says he was made a scapegoat to quell a media campaign against him.
During the news conference to announce his dismissal, Mr O'Farrell said Mr Pearce had failed to disclose a perceived conflict of interest over the appointment of a lawyer, Richard Fisher, to the board of Sydney Water in December 2011.
He explained the working relationship between Mr Fisher and Mr Pearce's wife was not disclosed to the cabinet before it endorsed Mr Fisher's appointment, in what Mr O'Farrell described as a ''clear breach'' of the ministerial code of conduct.
''What's clear is where there are apparent, or possible, or actual conflicts of interest, those interests either have to be avoided or, if they're apparent or perceived, declared to cabinet and the Premier,'' Mr O'Farrell said at the time. ''That did not happen.''
But it is understood while Mr Pearce's declaration does not name Mr Fisher, it clearly states that Ms Jarrett works for the general counsel of the University of Sydney.
Mr Pearce privately says he was not given an opportunity to raise the declaration with Mr O'Farrell before being informed of his dismissal by telephone shortly before it was announced to the media.
The sacking followed weeks of pressure for O'Farrell to sack Mr Pearce over accusations he was drunk in Parliament and wrongly claimed travel entitlements for a private trip to Canberra. Mr Pearce declined to comment.
A spokesman for Mr O'Farrell said the Premier stood by the decision to remove Mr Pearce for not disclosing a conflict of interest.