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NSW Politics

Apr 16, 2014

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New South Wales will shortly have its fifth Premier in seven years following the bombshell resignation of Barry O’Farrell, who was today embarrassed by the emergence of a card in which he thanked Australian Water Holdings boss Nick Di Girolamo for a $3000 bottle of wine he yesterday denied having received. O’Farrell is the state’s second Liberal Premier to have been brought down by the exertions of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Nick Greiner having fallen foul of an adverse ruling in 1992 involving a job offer to Liberal-turned-independent MP Terry Metherell. It now falls to the Liberal Party to find a replacement: without being too aware of the daily machinations of New South Wales politics, my immediate presumption was that the Treasurer, Mike Baird, would be the front-runner. However, I am seeing Gladys Berejiklian, Andrew Constance, Brad Hazzard and Jillian Skinner mentioned around the place.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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721 comments

721 thoughts on “O’Farrell resigns

  1. outside left

    Victoria, the Dragons were stiffed on Monday night. And not the first time against Melbourne

  2. Yesiree Bob

    Given Abbotts nauseating “defense” of O’Farrells lying to ICAC (sorry Tiny, there is no such thing as inadvertently lying), as well as his patronising stropyness in the presser, could it be that his turn under the microscope is not that far away ?

  3. victoria

    Outside left

    I did not watch game, and only saw replay of the highlights. Quite an extraordinary game

  4. Player One

    Yesiree Bob@623

    Given Abbotts nauseating “defense” of O’Farrells lying to ICAC (sorry Tiny, there is no such thing as inadvertently lying), as well as his patronising stropyness in the presser, could it be that his turn under the microscope is not that far away ?

    Good point. What makes anyone think that this will stop at BOF? after all, Sinodinos is already compromised. You can;t get much closer to Abbott than that.

  5. WarrenPeace

    I imagine a lot of librals are wahing thier underwear tonight

  6. briefly

    [625
    Player One

    as well as his patronising stropyness in the presser…]

    Snarling is not a good look for a PM…not good at all.

  7. Centre

    Yeah, well I bloody well watched the game.

    In the last three minutes of play, three scrums packed down. On all three occasions the Storm players quickly huddled to form the scrum forcing the ref to call time off.

    No problems at all there, HOWEVER, on each occasion the LOUSY time keeper FAILED to resume the timing when the ball was fed into the scrum. The timing recommenced after the ball had cleared the scrum.

    How bloody convenient for the home team?

    The full 80 minutes of the time CLEARLY expired BEFORE the time keeper blew the full time whistle. This enabled the Storm not only time to play the ball, but to get another play AFTER full-time!

    A DISGRACE, and I didn’t bet on the game.

    That’s why we hate the Storm. One bad decision against them in 5 years and they whinge YET accept all the shit in their favour week in week out!

  8. Centre

    And Cameron Smith gets away with laying all over the attacking player in a tackle in his own 20m line week after week without being penalised.

    Smith get your grubby hands off the ball and let him play it!

    Oh and did you see the other Mexican Slater go off after he knocked on? First decision against him in 5 years and he carried on like a good sort!

  9. Rossmore

    So today, following the resignation, we have had the Abbott defence, the Hartcher defence, the PvO defence and the Greiner defence. In their eyes this is all but a miscarriage of justice, an over-reaction to an “honest” mistake.

    Sorry guys, but when you spend years priming the electorate with hyperbole about alleged ALP dishonesty dont think the electorate will be fooled when one of your own is caught out with a blatant case of dishonesty.

    Since the SA election the LNP House of Cards has been collapsing spectacularly, with the promise of more to come from the NSW Icac.

    Oh for an Icac into into Ashbygate…..

  10. Yesiree Bob

    briefly@627


    Snarling is not a good look for a PM…not good at all.

    He’s always been a snarling Pratt. Sooner, rather than latter, this will start to wash through to the electorate, especially if this ICAC starts to rope in any other Fiberal.

  11. victoria

    Centre

    You know i dont care for NRL, but Camerkn Smith and billy Slater are Queenslanders and probably two of the best to have ever played the game

  12. Centre

    The NRL should transfer the points to St.George.

    The game was completed, no further refereeing decision could have had any consequences to the game.

    Storm – 2

    Dragons + 2

  13. victoria

    Rossmore

    I would love Ashbygate to be exposed , but i wont be holding my breath

  14. Centre

    Victoria

    Nothing to do with the preferential treatment they are afforded, along with that other Cronk, week in week out.

    NRL – WAKE UP!

  15. victoria

    Centre

    As i said, not interested in the NRL, but these players are quite exceptional

  16. victoria

    The Geek on twitter

    [Is Nick Di Girolamo the Liberal NSW kingmaker a la Geoff Shaw in Victoria. #nswpol #springst #auspol]

  17. Centre

    Not arguing with Slater and Cronk, they’re talented players but irrelevant to the point.

    Cameron Smith is one of the most overrated players in the game, has been for years.

  18. zoidlord

    This whole situation reminds me of just posted twitter post by Historical Pictures:

    Historical Pictures ‏@AncientPics 14m

    16 April 1789 – George Washington heads for 1st presidential inauguration. pic.twitter.com/KkN4aLiXQv

    “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.”

  19. Centre

    Cronk tells Smith what to do – hilarious!

  20. Yesiree Bob

    These things always happen in threes, don’t they ?
    Artie Sinodonis, Fatty Obarrell, T………

  21. Darren Laver

    Anyone got a head count for tomorrow’s apparent vote?

    Is a majority forming for Mike or Gladys?

    Anyone close to the NSW Libs?

  22. Yesiree Bob

    Poor Old Gerry Henderson doesn’t look too happy, does he ?

  23. briefly

    [642
    Yesiree Bob

    These things always happen in threes, don’t they ?]

    It says a lot about NSW politics that nearly everyone expects there will be more, lots more…

  24. Centre

    Go Gladys 😐

  25. Yesiree Bob

    Gerry, just because ICAC isn’t catching the guys you want it to catch, but is instead catching your blokes, is no reason for the Goal posts to change.
    Your team stuffed up, drink it up sweatheart.

  26. guytaur

    Henderson is being comedic on Lateline tonnight.

    Kate McClymont his adversary. Shooting him down big time 😆

  27. victoria

    Night all

  28. guytaur

    “@MayneReport: Gerard Henderson is sounding on Lateline like he has drunk the bottle of Grange. This anti-ICAC ranting is a disgrace. Pipe and slippers Gez”

  29. Yesiree Bob

    Gerry Henderson has become really unhinged. It’s painful to watch such a supposedly “intelligent” man,,acting like a total fruitloop.

  30. guytaur

    “@seanparnell: Gerard Henderson just described journalism (and @Kate_McClymont journalism at that) as “fun & games” whereas he is very serious… #lateline”

  31. Yesiree Bob

    This is freaky stuff from all the Fiberal and their acolytes.
    They must really have something to hide

  32. Rossmore

    And on Lateline, we have the outraged Gerald Henderson defence ….

    A conga line of corruption apologists …

  33. guytaur

    “@MayneReport: There’s been a lot of male Libs monstering female journos today. First Abbott, then Greiner to Sarah and now Henderson hectoring McClymont.”

  34. Yesiree Bob

    If it was all just a bottle of plonk……
    Something is a foot, and the Fibs are squirming

  35. Atticus

    My sleeper call for Premier is Anthony Roberts who’s 43 years old, 10 years in Parliament, a fellow college alum of Greiner’s from Riverview, Army Reserve Captain with extensive experience in community government on Lane Cove Council, including Mayor for two terms. His drawback might be that, allegedly, Crikey had dubbed him PM Howard’s “Minister for Alan Jones”.

  36. Yesiree Bob

    guytaur@655

    “@MayneReport: There’s been a lot of male Libs monstering female journos today. First Abbott, then Greiner to Sarah and now Henderson hectoring McClymont.”

    No one does bully boy thug as well as these pathetic Middle aged liberal party men.

  37. Centre

    YB

    Henderson intelligent lol

    I’ll tell you something, intelligence shouldn’t be judged by how many pieces of paper you might have 😎

  38. guytaur

    “@SimonThomsen: That @Kate_McClymont is SO rude. She keeps trying to speak about the facts while Gerard is hectoring and shouting at her. #Lateline”

  39. WarrenPeace

    If I was a cartoonist I would have the good ship Libs heading toward the iceberg ICAC

  40. Centre

    Wait ’til they look into the second casino in Sydney?

  41. guytaur

    “@beneltham: Gerard: what put [BOF] in that position? Kate: His own words #lateline”

  42. Yesiree Bob

    Gerry, you’re about as credible as used toilet paper

  43. Centre

    I agree with the Bludgers, each one more intelligent than Henderson, well with the exception of Mod Lib 😆 are you there Everything 🙂

    Yes, more to come 😯

    *night

  44. Kevin Bonham

    I offer the following Youtube link as further proof for the already well-established theory that all politics really is just Sisters of Mercy songs:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGtNeeLabJg

  45. Rossmore

    Lateline tonite …

    Henderson, maybe he spat the wine out…. Ye Gerard

    He’s had a memory failure… Ye Gerard

    This obsession… Ye Gerard

    Poor Gerard, his world is collapsing.

    And kudos to Katy Mclymont for sticking to her guns and basic reportage.

  46. guytaur

    @trendinaliaAU: Trend Alert: ‘Gerard Henderson’. More trends at http://t.co/3f5QhuAkLZ #trndnl http://t.co/z6KJqaUexC

  47. Kevin Bonham

    Ex-Tas journo Angus Livingston reckons, re Tassie’s at times rough and ready political culture:

    “This bottle of wine thing wouldn’t even rank in the top 10 of #politas scandals that no one resigned over”

    Also saw Possum making bemused comments about the Queensland response to this sort of thing.

  48. zoidlord

    Josh Taylor ‏@joshgnosis 4m

    Must see @Kate_McClymont standing up to Gerard Henderson’s nonsense. #Lateline

  49. Jackol

    The funniest thing about Gerard’s ranting in my opinion was how outraged he was at Kate describing O’Farrell as being “untruthful” in his testimony on Tuesday.

    Given O’Farrell today acknowledged that he hadn’t told the truth (due to memory failure according to him) … that would make what he said “untruthful” by anyone’s definition, surely?

    I think Gerard kept translating “untruthful” to “lied” in his own mind and reacted accordingly.

  50. Wakefield

    Even Griener was happy to say BOF lied.

  51. guytaur

    @bevanshields85: You may have missed this: vote to elect a new NSW premier (6th in 9 years) will be held 3pm tomorrow, not next week http://t.co/Jfqhn4AvzY

  52. davidwh

    There is nothing wrong with receiving the gift. Neglecting to declare the gift is problematic but not terminal. The big problems are the association between AWH and the gift and the failure to tell the truth to ICAC in the first instance.

    Any association with AWH and Obeid will have political implications regardless of whether there is anything improper or not in the association. That’s the result of the revelations from ICAC.

    The way to deal with this is to have very clear rules in relation to lobbying, access to government ministers, political donations and gifts. Currently things are just to vague.

  53. guytaur

    Goodnight

  54. deblonay

    Gerard Hendersom
    He seemed almost out of control on Lateline and quite menacing to the Journo/ woman from the SMH

    Not too happy with the ICAC and it’s works,and obviously grieving for his buddy O’Farrell….≥ who is almost a saint if you believe Henderson…who should know about saints… because of his early work for Santamaria…being a senior member of the National Civic Council for years ,until he joined Howard’s staff…but he is of course VERY,VERY impartial despite all that !

    Great stuff and she/ McClymont…was very calm and stood up under his passionate /agressive statements….as he pushed acrosas to her….They Libs really are worried

  55. Tom the first and best

    672

    Griener does not understand the definition of lying. Lying is saying something you know to be false. O`Farrel still says he does not remember. Griener said O`Farrel lied but did not mean to.

  56. Fran Barlow

    Yesterday, BOF said he’d recall a $3k bottle of wine. Today, even when his handwritten not alluding to it was produced, it didn’t, according to him, jog his memory.

    These two claims can’t both be true. I’d like BOF to specify which is true. If he is now saying that he can hand write thank-you notes without recalling either the cause of the thank you or writing the note then he’s conceding that there may be other gifts he has received that he can’t recall and that are not on his register of Pecuniary Interest.

  57. zoidlord

    Retweeted by Josh Taylor
    Tim Christodoulou ‏@tim_chr 2m

    ICYMI: NSW LNP to elect new leader tomorrow, not next week. Baird hampered by relationship with Di Girolamo. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mike-baird-gladys-berejiklian-urged-to-put-up-hands-for-top-job-20140416-36s99.html … #nswpol

  58. davidwh

    Fran he is not likely to say much now for fear of any potential perjury charges. It will all be “I can’t recall” from now on. He has paid the political price but I’m sure his legal advice will be not to pay a more personal price.

  59. Rossmore

    The. Sad choice for NSW electors is which party is least corrupt?

  60. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Henderson was getting really personal with his attack on McClyntoch, and he never let her finish her statements. Watch it with the sound turned down the same with the Abbott presser where he thugged that female reporter today.

    Watch the body language (with no sound) especially Abbott’s. It is quite disturbing.

  61. Just Me

    Almost never watch Lateline or Henderson, but had a look tonight.

    What a disaster for Henderson. Simply had no defence against reality at all, and had to eat a king-size shit sandwich. Looked absolutely crushed. A real Willy Loman moment.

  62. deblonay

    The BBC is reporting that in the Eastern Ukraine soldiers in armoured Ukrainian vehicles appears to have changed and are now flying the Russian flag after being urged not to shoot by the locals

    This article and pics shows the events
    This might confirm the stories that the Ukrainian soldiers are loathe to accept the orders of the Kiev regime

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27045534#

  63. zoidlord

    @Davidwh/674

    There needs to be more than that, AWH is being used to fund the Liberal Party.

    NSW Liberals need a total revamp (and perhaps Federally) of their polices of where and who can receive funding and it’s associated companies, clients etc.

  64. deblonay

    684 post…should have read ” appear to have changed sides “

  65. Fran Barlow

    dwh

    [Fran he is not likely to say much now for fear of any potential perjury charges. It will all be “I can’t recall” from now on. He has paid the political price but I’m sure his legal advice will be not to pay a more personal price.]

    That will be a fitting end for him. He came in promising high standards and that he wouldn’t let the voters down. Even today, he said lying to ICAC would be against everything he stood for. Well we will see. Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.

    I recall seeing BOF wearing a red T-shirt saying “water not coal” and standing with similarly garbed Wallerah activists. What he stands for would appear to be fairly flexible.

  66. cud chewer

    I’d go for Gladys but she is actually a good transport minister and I’d hate to see her replaced.

  67. B.C.

    Funnily enough at the start of March many people were predicting that we would shortly have two new Liberal Premiers. Indeed the Liberals were almost boasting about it. It looks like their wish did come through after all.

  68. Psephos

    My only comment on this is that any politician stupid enough to accept a $3000 bottle of wine from anybody, on any pretext, under any circumstances, deserves all they get.

  69. Fran Barlow

    Psephos

    [My only comment on this is that any politician stupid enough to accept a $3000 bottle of wine from anybody, on any pretext, under any circumstances, deserves all they get.]

    I now seriously doubt that the bottle of wine lie is the last we will hear of BOF’s malfeasance.

  70. shellbell

    Kate McClymont is having a couple of bumper years

  71. Fran Barlow

    Rossmore

    [The sad choice for NSW electors is which party is least corrupt?]

    Finding out which party is least corrupt is something currently of interest to a lot less than half the voters, IMO. AIUI about 60% always vote for one of the major parties.

    We Greens aren’t even a little bit corrupt. While I’d like to say that this entirely reflected our political and cultural integrity, it helps a great deal that the spivs of the world see us as offering them nothing tradable.

    If we ever do get within spitting distance of office in a major jurisdiction, we are absolutely going to have to be cautious about the probity of our candidate selection processes.

  72. Jackol

    Hartcher’s nonsense:

    And instead the ICAC got the wrong man. NSW needs a dedicated and competent anti-corruption body, but the ICAC has set back its own cause by seeming diverted by trivial pursuit when it should be uprooting serious corruption.

    Totally ignoring, as McClymont pointed out, that ICAC didn’t get O’Farrell – O’Farrell got O’Farrell.

    If O’Farrell had taken a more cautious approach to ICAC and the media on Tuesday, his political career wouldn’t have been over on Wednesday.

    ICAC wasn’t looking at O’Farrell, and ICAC didn’t ‘get’ O’Farrell.

    This Liberal party ‘fear and anger’ lashing out at ICAC is unjustifiable, and I hope that if the Liberal party attack ICAC that they will suffer in the public’s eyes.

    The last thing we want in this State or this country is a less wide-ranging and less feared anti-corruption commission.

    I’d go so far as to say that if it takes some collateral damage to expose the corruption within the system then so be it. But I reiterate that if O’Farrell had been a little bit less strident in his denials (‘I did not have relations with that bottle of wine’), he would still be premier today and has only himself to blame.

  73. Socrates

    NSW voters have been grappling with the question of who is least corrupt for over twenty years.

    The Greens have not had the opportunity to become corrupt. As Meg Lees demonstrated, the real test of who will sell out only comes when you have power to sell. There are people in every party who will fail the test (the 80/20 rule seems reversed in NSW). The real question is whether it is exposed and if the corrupt are removed quickly. That is the test of good governance.

    That being said, I agree there must be more to BOF resigning than one bottle of wine. He sounds too guilty. As Xanthippe said, “surely there is more to it than that?”

  74. pom

    Even with all the political back lash I think the libs will still make a valiant effort to get BOF to reconcider

  75. Jackol

    Socrates –

    As Meg Lees demonstrated

    I fail to see how Meg Lees deserves to get mentioned in a post about corruption (and corruption in NSW specifically).

    There’s no suggestion that Meg Lees acted corruptly.

    That various people didn’t like Meg Lees negotiating the Democrats’ Senate votes doesn’t make the bargain she struck “corrupt”, so I don’t see how it’s useful to include Meg Lees in a discussion as an example of wielding power improperly or whatever.

  76. Fran Barlow

    Pom

    [Even with all the political back lash I think the libs will still make a valiant effort to get BOF to reconsider]

    I certainly hope so.

  77. Fran Barlow

    Jackol

    If Meg Lees’s dealings were corrupt, we will need a new descriptor for Harradine’s porkbarrelling.

  78. Fran Barlow

    Jackol

    [If O’Farrell had taken a more cautious approach to ICAC and the media on Tuesday, his political career wouldn’t have been over on Wednesday.]

    I’m not so sure. Even if the bottle of Grange really was the alpha and omega of this, BOF was tainted irreparably. It would have taken longer, but sooner or later, he’d have begun dragging down the regime as every other deal was reassessed in that light. There would have been quite a few backbenchers worried they’d become collateral damage if a move weren’t made.

  79. shellbell

    Jackol

    Precisely.

    ICAC will be as disappointed as the next person with the events of the past few days.

    They want the bad guys – this is an opportunity for ICAC critics to say it us a failure.

    Of course it is not.

    What is now clear is that ICAC is alone in its pursuit surrounded by politicians who are best equivocal.

    The new premier should stand up and support ICAC and announce a review of dealings with lobbyists and hopefully that Michael Photios and his ilk have been shown the door.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  80. Socrates

    Jackol

    OK I should not have said corrupt for Meg Lees, but she certainly abused her position for her own preferences and personal benefit.

    I was in the democrats when the GST deal was done. It was supposed to be in exchange for a business tax review, which Howard parked but true blue Meg ignored; she never said a word of complaint.

    Meanwhile when she left the party but stayed in parliament she broke both party rules and her own word. The rule was she should have resigned, as other Dem senators had done before her, but she preferred to keep getting a generous paycheck.

  81. confessions

    Looks like there’ll be no ballot and Baird will be the next premier.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mike-baird-set-to-be-next-nsw-premier-20140417-36ssb.html

  82. zoomster

    Getting back to that underlined ‘all’…

    It’s been suggested that it’s just a sort of courtesy thing… a ‘thank you for your support over the years’ line.

    Which is how I first read it – no big deal.

    But then – hang on – this is someone Barry said he hardly knew.

    I can imagine thanking someone for ‘all’ their support if they were someone I knew had always been there, pitching in, who’d (say) rang me occasionally when things were looking grim and told me to keep soldiering on, etc.

    Or I might thank someone for ‘all’ their support if they’d been willing to (say) come up with the dosh when needed.

    But I wouldn’t thank someone for ‘all’ their support if I’d met them twice and knew very little about them otherwise (and, in fact, given that writing letters of support for strangers has seen MPs retire to the front bench in the past, I’d be very wary about saying anything at all supportive about someone I didn’t know).

    So the ‘all’ may be more significant that it seems…

  83. Fran Barlow

    Equally Zoomster, would you address a person you hardly knew by their given name, and sign with a familiar diminutive?

    I wouldn’t.

  84. ShowsOn

    [We Greens aren’t even a little bit corrupt. While I’d like to say that this entirely reflected our political and cultural integrity, it helps a great deal that the spivs of the world see us as offering them nothing tradable.]
    The Greens are extremely corrupt because they accept the science of climate change but reject the science that shows that a great deal of world hunger could be solved using GM foods. And reject the science and economics that nuclear energy is the lowest cost low carbon source of electricity.

  85. ShowsOn

    I hope everyone realises that the new NSW Premier will be illegitimate.

  86. cud chewer

    The 2013 NSW Premiership?

    Yep, that was an excellent vintage.

    *duck*

  87. mimhoff

    BOF is now the fourth consecutive NSW Premier to not enjoy a State of Origin victory.

  88. mimhoff

    BOF is now the fourth consecutive NSW Premier to not enjoy a State of Origin victory.

  89. Fran Barlow

    SO

    [The Greens are extremely corrupt because they accept the science of climate change but reject the science that shows that a great deal of world hunger could be solved using GM foods. And reject the science and economics that nuclear energy is the lowest cost low carbon source of electricity.]

    Even if such claims were substantially correct, which they aren’t, that wouldn’t make us corrupt, but merely mistaken or inconsistent. One can misunderstand the world in good faith.

  90. DisplayName

    Fran and zoom, I think you’re reaching a bit. I know people whose socialising policy results in responses that might be considered exaggerated.

  91. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Victoria,
    who wants a new thread?
    I am enjoying this one too much. 😆

  92. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    BTW
    Where is Mod Lib, Everything et al?

  93. ShowsOn

    When will Chrissy Pyne hold a press conference to say that the new Premier of NSW is illegitimate?

  94. ShowsOn

    [Even if such claims were substantially correct, which they aren’t, that wouldn’t make us corrupt, but merely mistaken or inconsistent. One can misunderstand the world in good faith.]
    No, it makes the Greens corrupt, stupid, idiotic, moronic and demonstrates how they are controlled by irrational nutters who seem to think that little furry animals are more important than humans.

  95. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Showson
    Little furry animals are more important than humans. Humans are big enough and ugly enough to take care of themselves.
    Against us the little furries have no hope.

  96. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    [The next Premier of NSW will be illegitimate.]
    Of course. It will be a Lib and we all know they are all b’tards.