About 20 years ago Australia was captivated and appalled by the secret footage of a bunch of senior Sydney police openly talking about taking bribes and collaborating with drug dealers in the crooked Kings Cross command.

He who must be Obeid. Photo: Damian Shaw

Coppers such as Detective Graham “Chook” Fowler and his sidekick Inspector Trevor Haken became household names.  Secret cameras caught police receiving cash kickbacks worth thousands of dollars, often stuffed into boots. “Hooley f…ing dooley,” a crooked copper was heard saying on one of the tapes, “I didn’t know you could get so much into an RM Williams.”

The revelations forced the NSW police royal commission and prompted other states to examine their police forces to make sure no such corruption existed there. In SA there was no such inquiry as the police had just undergone a thorough anti-corruption investigation, Operation Hygiene, in which one copper was busted for stealing a punnet of strawberries, another for pinching a bag of potting mix. To paraphrase the great journalist and author Cyril Pearl, one day someone will write the full story of Australian roguery, and every state will play a part, but undoubtedly NSW will steal the show.

It is wrong to say that Sydney was a convict town. Sydney is a convict town, its origins still clearly evident in its present day culture, language and behaviour. So it is right now with the galling corruption allegations against two former NSW Labor Government ministers, the slippery Eddie Obeid and his spiv sidekick Ian MacDonald. It is not an exaggeration to say that Obeid and his acolytes and enablers inside NSW Labor may have collectively conspired to destroy the Labor brand for decades, if not all time, in the biggest state in Australia.

The defining characteristics of these two men are a low-rent sense of entitlement, as if the hardships of public office should be compensated via special benefits, and the retention of power as an end in itself rather than a springboard for action on behalf of the community.

I inhabited this world for more than a decade both as a political reporter at NSW Parliament and then as a newspaper editor. Moving to Sydney in 1999, when Bob Carr had just been returned, the vibe of the place was so much looser and more raffish than anything I had ever witnessed growing up and working in the genteel City of Churches.

Even the blokes who were likeable cleanskins could come across as being suss. For example, the then Police Minister, Paul Whelan, was a thoroughly reputable bloke who aside from being an MP also owned several big city pubs which were full of poker machines. Whenever any issues came before Cabinet involving gaming or licensing issues, Whelan would leave the room. It always struck me as an odd arrangement – ie, not doing his actual job because of his vast hotel interests – but no-one in Labor cared, the journos didn’t, in fact it didn’t seem to bother the Opposition.

One of the first functions I went to was a drink put on at Parliament by Obeid’s grouping within the NSW Right. This grouping is known as the Terrigals, and takes its name from Obeid’s beach house in the NSW Central Coast town of the same name. They referred to the older, crustier, more Anglo-dominated members of the NSW Right as the “trogs”, short for troglodytes. At these drinks I was confronted by an MP called Paul Gibson, who was the Australian Hotel’s Association’s man inside Caucus, helping channel donations to the party, even writing a column called “Friend of the Publican” for their magazine.

At the drinks Gibson came up to me in front of both Eddie Obeid and another controversial Terrigal MP, Joe Tripodi, and called me among other things a f**king hypocrite for attending their drinks given I’d written a piece the last Sunday about subsidised grog at Parliament. I told him I’d never written such a piece and had no idea what he was talking about. He persisted with the abuse, stopping only when Tripodi told Gibson that he had confused me with another journo from another paper. The next morning Tripodi came to see me to say that he and Eddie had spoken to Gibson, that his comments showed a lack of respect, and that the whole thing was regrettable and we should move on. It was like something out of a hard-boiled crime drama.

The problem – of which the gouging Eddie Obeid is the epitome – is that when Bob Carr was premier he successfully held back the careers of many of these people whom he regarded as being too dicey to risk with frontbench positions. When Carr quit in 2005, the subsequent numerical wranglings over the rise of Morris Iemma, then Nathan Rees, and finally Kristina Keneally meant that the people who put power ahead of policy were suddenly running the show. Their victory was emphatic and has guaranteed Labor defeat in NSW for many years to come.

Most commented


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    • gobsmack says:

      05:22am | 08/02/13

      State politics seems to attract the crooks.

      The problem gets worse the longer a particular party is in power.  You just have to look at Robert Askin (NSW Lib), Brian Burke (WA ALP) and the National Party government under Joh Bjelke-Petersen to see that it’s a universal problem.

      The solution is to change government regularly.  I can’t believe the people of NSW kept re-electing Labor.

    • Tedd says:

      07:09am | 08/02/13

      A significant point is governments function through their agencies, not through their politicians. For example, the NSW Dept of Education was continued to function very well under a Labor govt, no matter who was their Min. of Ed’n.

    • gof says:

      07:09am | 08/02/13

      #gobsmack ,
      ” I can’t believe the people of NSW kept re-electing Labor.”
      Just like current Federal, there was no alternative, so not to hard believe at all.

    • They're Full of It! says:

      07:12am | 08/02/13

      Governments are like nappies: change them often, and for the same reason!

    • labor corruption is more widespread says:

      07:50am | 08/02/13

      I agree with your point of changing governments regularly helps to prevent corruption, but I think you will find historically corruption has been a lot more widespread from Labor than Liberal. So far, alleged, yet to be proven kick-backs, undeclared money benefits etc have seen these names mentioned in the paper . I must re-iterate that I am refering to people mentioned in the newspaper -most are yet to be proven to be corrupt.
      Craig Thomson
      Julia Gilliard
      Stephen Conroy
      Michael Williamson
      Eddie Obeid
      Ian McDonald
      Mark Arbib
      Tony Burke
      Eric Roozendaal
      Joe Tripodi
      Karyn Paluzzano- Penrith MP
      Noreen Hay- Wollongong MP

    • gof says:

      08:02am | 08/02/13

      #labor corruption is more widespread,
      Without corruption there would be no need for Laws. Without Laws there would be no need for Lawmakers. Without a need for Lawmakers there would be no need for politicians. Without politicians there would be chaos.
      So a few rogues in the ALP parties have done this country a great service in protecting us from chaos.
      What has NLP done? Nothing as usual!

    • Retired Soldier says:

      08:11am | 08/02/13

      They re-elect Labor because they have been “bought and paid for” over years of Labor rule. This is what happens when we have a land full of welfare dependent voters. Offer them incentives aka bribes and they will always ensure you will return. Simple really and you can bet those voters will not be complaining about the huge rise in Private Health Cover because the public hospital system is for them - in their minds.

    • Maree says:

      08:19am | 08/02/13

      Gof: “there was no alternative” ! Thats usually the statement of a “rusted on” who can not see that there is an alternative. Unfortunately, there are a minority of people in ‘voter land’ who think like this on both sides of politics.

    • peter williams says:

      08:42am | 08/02/13

      gof: “Just like current Federal, there was no alternative, so not to hard believe at all. ” It’s sad, uneducated people like you that vote labor no matter what the circumstances. No alternative? You would rather have corrupt politicians using our hard earned tax dolars to rort mining leases running the state than a liberal party. Please do not vote ever again!

    • liberal corruption is more widespread says:

      08:59am | 08/02/13

      I think you will find historically corruption has been a lot more widespread from Liberal than Labor. So far, alleged, yet to be proven kick-backs, undeclared money benefits etc have seen these names mentioned in the paper . I must re-iterate that I am refering to people mentioned in the newspaper -most are yet to be proven to be corrupt.
      Tony Abbott
      Sophie Mirabella
      Cory Bernardi
      Joe Hockey
      Malcolm Turnbull
      Julie Bishop
      Christopher Pyne
      Eric Abetz
      George Brandis
      Scott Morrison
      Andrew Robb

    • gof says:

      09:12am | 08/02/13

      #peter williams,
      “do not vote ever again!”
      Typical right wing conservatives, trying to erode the rights of those who oppose even further.
      So what you are really saying #peter williams is that a vote for the Coalition is a vote to SILENCE those of intelligence, SILENCE those who can think for themselves, SILENCE those who don’t want to go through life as a mindless right wing drone, SILENCE those that don’t go to tea parties.
      This was tried in some Eastern European countries it didn’t turn out to well, but your hatred for the progressive left is duly noted.

    • Ben C says:

      09:41am | 08/02/13

      @ gof

      “So what you are really saying #peter williams is that a vote for the Coalition is a vote to SILENCE those of intelligence, SILENCE those who can think for themselves, SILENCE those who don’t want to go through life as a mindless right wing drone, SILENCE those that don’t go to tea parties.”

      Hahahahaha. Intelligence? Free thought? Judging by your comments, you are severely lacking in both. You are so blinded by bias, that if both sides released identical policies, you would still say the Coalition’s are crap, even if they are mirror images of Labor’s. The only description that is apt (for you at least) is “mindless”.

    • PJ says:

      09:48am | 08/02/13

      so we’ve had:

      Warnings Labor is rotten from…...
      - McKews book
      - Tanners book
      - Roxons shock resignation
      - Evans shock resignation
      - Sheldon stating Labor:
      “B-grade politicians able to thrive forever on corruption and detritus”

      On top of that we have the scandals….
      - AWU
      - HSU
      - Thomson
      - Slipper
      - Obeid’s $1400 a night Ski lodge freebee for Gillard Government ministers.

      I think it’s time people sat up and smelt the grilling witchetty grubs really.

    • HUgo says:

      09:57am | 08/02/13

      #gof says: 09:12am | 08/02/13…spare me the crap about the, “...progressive Left” - I cannot see much progressive about a bunch of crooks in Parliament, nor Fuel Watch, Grocery Watch, School Watch, pink batts, a bent PM, an incompetent Treasurer, etc, etc, etc. If that lot is “progressive” give me the regressive any day.

    • gnome says:

      10:00am | 08/02/13

      They reelected Labor because the Liberal leaders at the two previous elections were, respectively Cacarovski and Debnam.

    • Neil says:

      10:08am | 08/02/13

      Having worked on the lower north shore serving these rich born to rule types I can very much understand why some people would vote Labor. I mean most of them were ok but a lot of them had attitudes straight out of dickensian times.

      I mean you’ve got the GFC and Goldman Sachs, Libor and all that stuff, not really a lefty thing.

      You’ve got the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is now mostly owned by the UK government, which has just sued itself over Libor. Ha ha.

    • not deceived by labor's tricks says:

      10:46am | 08/02/13

      In reply to Gnome “they re-elected labor because of who the liberal leaders were” and your point is? Does this justify supporting a party that has in-built corruption? Surely corruption is a point of no-return There is no forgiveness on it. Australians don’t take kindly to corruption. Surely you realise this?. Or are you saying you basically support corruption because the Liberal leader was Debnam?

    • James says:

      11:30am | 08/02/13

      Ummmm PJ

      Peter Slipper was an LNP MP for 18 years.

      Preselected by the LNP and then voted into office by LNP voters like you for 18 years.

    • murray says:

      12:48pm | 08/02/13

      Changing the government regularly regretfully means either the ALP or the Libs are in power - so corruption will always be in evidence.
      Until we kill this ALP/Lib cartel it will be more of the same.
      Neither party has the interests of the country at heart, they are only interested in power and personal enrichment.
      Unfortunately these bastards have and will work together to destroy any potential threat to their cartel - just ask Janine Haines.

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      12:52pm | 08/02/13

      Ahahahah!!! I guess you told him (PJ) then, james…
      That’s why the ALP courted Slipper for a senior role. He was so good at rorting. A kindred spirit!

    • James says:

      01:16pm | 08/02/13


      LNP voters like you voted for Slipper for 18 years. You must have been thrilled when the LNP made him Parliamentary Secretary to then PM John Howard.

    • James of Hong Kong says:

      02:12pm | 08/02/13

      The whole tone of the article is simple, basically Labor are nothing more than cheap, low rent crooks.

    • James of Hong Kong says:

      02:40pm | 08/02/13

      @James: The difference is that the LNP tried to get rid of him, whereas the ALP ran to him and embraced him with open arms even though they knew of his history.

    • James says:

      04:30pm | 08/02/13


      LNP voters like you voted for Peter Slipper for 18 years but you just never quite got around to getting rid of him. LMAO

    • TEZZA says:

      05:22pm | 08/02/13

      Can I remind readers of some other names:
      *Rex “Paddles” Jackson, Labor NSW, gaoled for corruptly selling prison release papers to inmates,
      * Keith Wright, Labor Queensland, gaoled for sex offenses and rape of under-age children,
      *Gordon Nuttall, Labor Queensland, gaoled for corruption offences,
      *Milton Orkopoulos, Labor NSW, gaoled for 13 year for child sex offences,
      *Bill D’Arcy, Labor Queensland, gaoled for 11 years for child sex offences,
      *Brian Burke, Labor, former State Premier W.A., gaoled for corruption.

      About forty years ago, while at university, I joined the ALP. I left after a year or two when I saw that it existed only for the self benefit and self interest of members, and heard stories about successful shennanigans from people who thought it was funny to be on the take. Even so, what I saw and heard was only small beer.

    • Echo says:

      06:44pm | 08/02/13

      About forty years ago, while at university, I joined the Liberal Party. I left after a year or two when I saw that it existed only for the self benefit and self interest of members, and heard stories about successful shennanigans from people who thought it was funny to be on the take. Even so, what I saw and heard was only small beer.

    • Gaz says:

      05:23am | 08/02/13

      Beach houses in Terrigal, chalets at Perisha, a chain of big city pokie pubs, who are these people? I thought the Labor party used to represent the working man. If the working man turned up on their doorstep now they’d call security.

    • Mack says:

      07:31am | 08/02/13

      Exactly right, Gaz. And Federal Labor is no better. Whatever I can get and whatever it takes…..stuff the people I’m supposed to be representing.

    • JoniM says:

      09:29am | 08/02/13

      “I thought the Labor party used to represent the working man. If the working man turned up on their doorstep now they’d call security. “

      Spot on Gaz !
      That’s the real story here !
      That “workers party” myth that has been perpetrated by the ALP / Unions for decades whilst these greedy grubs operated like a cult for total control purely to maximise self benefits !
      Everyone in Sydney knew Obeid was a shonk 20 years ago !
      Yet he was allowed by the ALP and its weak leaders like Carr, to rule the roost with total control of leadership & miinisterial appointments to ensure his maximum opportunity to cash in personally.
      Richo may have coined for the ALP approach to politics ” Whatever it takes !”, but Obeid preferred their sub-clause ” make sure they know they owe you something !”.

    • Chillin says:

      09:37am | 08/02/13

      Labor abandoned the working man long, long ago.

    • Liberal says:

      10:53am | 08/02/13

      What’s a working man?

    • Bear says:

      11:34am | 08/02/13

      Because there’s one rich scumbag in the party who doesn’t belong hardly means they’re all billionaires. Stupid argument.

    • Big Business says:

      11:42am | 08/02/13

      yes, let’s all embrace work choices because the liberals are all for the working man.

    • daniel says:

      12:43pm | 08/02/13

      Listening to Nationals Senator John Williams yesterday talking about the how the ALP’s origins began with shearers - working people - but there’s now not a single shearer amongst them was interesting.

      He was obviously taking a dig at the ALP for being a party comprised of former union representatives rather than workers [so what would they know about ‘working’ people]. Nonetheless, I thought it was interesting.

    • Wow says:

      01:24pm | 08/02/13

      Shearer is the selection criteria for MPs now?

    • acotrel says:

      05:57am | 08/02/13

      It is all part of the ‘Cult of the Individual’, and Sydney is more colourful because of it. Now tell us what the big corporations are doing, and how they fit into the picture ? Costigan commented on this and got castigated for his trouble.

    • PJ says:

      07:05am | 08/02/13

      :It is all part of the ‘Cult of the Individual’”

      Ah no, it the Gillard Government culture.

      From The Age:
      “Mr Sheldon says the party faces ‘‘more than just a crisis of trust brought on by the corrupt behaviour of property scammers and lobbyists’’ but ‘‘a crisis of belief brought on by a lack of moral and political purpose’‘.

      Mr Sheldon was speaking just days after NSW federal MP Craig Thomson was charged with fraud over alleged misuse of union funds, and while NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid and his family face the Independent Commission Against Corruption over allegations of improper conduct related to coal licences.

      Labor MP Sheldon on Labor: “B-grade politicians able to thrive forever on corruption and detritus”
      - The Australian.

    • stephen says:

      07:17am | 08/02/13

      It is the cult of small networks of like-minded people who are dishonest and are put in positions of power, which is the problem.

    • marley says:

      07:32am | 08/02/13

      No, it’s not the cult of the individual. lt’s the cult of the factions.  Factions run by second rate politicians and faceless men decide who governs - and loyalty to factions of which you’re a member, and to the power that membership brings, outranks loyalty to the people of the state. 

      As Penbo points out, Carr managed to keep a leash on Obeid et al.  But, thanks to the factions system within the ALP, he could never get rid of them.  So long as the ALP (and other parties) refused to democratise their internal workings, this problem is going to crop up.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      09:42am | 08/02/13


      No, it’s due to the Cult of NSW Labor.

      It’s interesting that you’re trying to apologise for this kind of behaviour though, hand-waving it away as “colourful”.

      Says a lot about you and your politics, mate.

    • JoniM says:

      09:44am | 08/02/13

      “It is all part of the ‘Cult of the Individual’,”

      Rubbish !
      The ALP is no different to the mafia where standover and protection rackets are operated to maximise control ,so as to fleece the community( including their own naive members) for whatever they can, all to benefit the “FAMILY” of operatives !
      An “individual “couldn’t do this on his own. That’s why the “ALP family” with its progressive lineage from the shop floor, through local government, to the Upper House is required to ensure the pyramid of corrupt benefits is maintained. Taken straight out of the Cosa Nostra handbook !

    • acotrel says:

      06:06am | 08/02/13

      The fact that so much of this garbage goes on is one of the reasons that small time crims feel justified in what they do. The question is - who is living in La La Land, - the crims , or those of us who keep to the straight and narrow and get exploited ?
      ‘The system runs on bullshit’

    • marley says:

      06:31am | 08/02/13

      @acotrel - have you ever asked yourself how your beloved ALP allowed itself to fall into the thrall of these kind of crooks?  Carr may have kept them on a leash, but he still had them in the Party and sitting on parliamentary benches.  And with Carr gone, it was these characters, not the premiers, who ran the joint?  The ALP can’t just blame this on the “NSW disease.”  It has to take accountability for allowing these characters to get their sticky fingers on the handles of power.

    • Mr Sam says:

      07:07am | 08/02/13

      Good question acotrel sadly Gillard knows how to avoid the tough questions you ask. Same old Labor. Have a great weekend champ!

    • Steve Douglas says:

      07:29am | 08/02/13

      Acotrel not feeling well today.  It is not Abbottt, Abbott, Abbott’s fault?

    • acotrel says:

      08:45am | 08/02/13

      Isn’t there something about ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’.  - Abbott is not saying much.
      Marley which planet are you from, do you get around Sydney with your eyes shut ? Do you seriously believe it is only the ALP ? Corruption in Australia will never be seriously addressed, it is entrenched at all levels and there are too many beneficiaries.  Even Boy Wonder the misogynist won’t fix it, he would be finished in politics within a week.

    • Maree says:

      09:00am | 08/02/13

      Can someone define “Bullshit”. Its sounds like a ‘cover all statement’ when you do not have an answer !

    • gof says:

      09:28am | 08/02/13

      “Can someone define “Bullshit”.”
      It’s the waste matter that comes from a bulls backside, Unlike horseshit that comes from a horse. Unlike policyshit that comes collectively from the Coalition backroom.
      I hope this helps #Maree .

    • marley says:

      09:39am | 08/02/13

      @marley - no, I don’t think corruption is limited to the ALP.  However, the ALP was in power for years here, the corruption within government was obvious and palpable, and nothing significant was done about it.  That’s on the ALP and no one else.  You don’t get to excuse it by saying, oh well, everyone’s doing it so it doesn’t matter, or, it’s an NSW disease so it doesn’t matter.  The ALP in NSW was corrupt and the party proved incapable of sorting it out.  That’s an ALP problem, pure and simple, and so long as the factions rule, it will continue to be one. l’ll believe the ALP is serious about cleaning it’s house when it implements systems to eliminate the power of the factions.

    • Stephen T says:

      09:41am | 08/02/13

      @gof: “It’s the waste matter that comes from a bulls backside,”

      Which puts you on the butt end of the bull gof.

    • Christian Real says:

      09:47am | 08/02/13

      “Can some define bullshit”
      Yes, in one word :

    • Ben C says:

      11:40am | 08/02/13

      Christian Real - another so blinded by bias that he could not form an objective opinion if his life depended on it.

      Don’t pretend that Labor hasn’t produced their fair share of bullshit, Christian. This current mob have caused significant damage to the Labor brand.

    • James of Hong Kong says:

      03:01pm | 08/02/13

      @acotrel: WTF? is every one of your comments going to continue cheering on this immoral and vile behaviour???

    • John says:

      06:08am | 08/02/13

      It’s all true, and it was ever thus. Of course, the Liberal Party in NSW - the party of Robin Askin, who was certainly the most corrupt Premier in Australian history, and arguably the most corrupt politician of any kind - is no better.

      The only way to de-corrupt NSW politics is to nuke it.

    • acotrel says:

      06:29am | 08/02/13

      “Nuke it’ with an honesty bomb ? Christine Nixon and Frank Costigan, eat your hearts out.

    • RJB says:

      07:04am | 08/02/13

      His practices may have been corrupt, but no need to do the same to Robert’s name.

    • Mexican Beemer says:

      07:07am | 08/02/13

      I don’t know a great deal about Robin Askin but two suspect premiers that I am more familiar are Sir Joh (Queensland) and Thomas Bent (Victoria)

      How was Askin more suspect then those two?

    • PJ says:

      07:15am | 08/02/13

      don’t try to pull other parties into the same category as Labor.

      AWU, HSU, Thomson, Slipper and Obeid.

      A party that one of their very own, Sheldon, describes as:

      ““B-grade politicians able to thrive forever on corruption and detritus”

      I think this culture of ‘dodgyness’ is uniquely Labor.

    • James says:

      07:38am | 08/02/13

      Ummm PJ

      Peter Slipper was an LNP MP for 18 years.

      Preselected by the LNP and then voted into office by LNP voters like you for 18 years.

    • SAm says:

      07:39am | 08/02/13

      Keep thinking that PJ
      More likely this culture of dodgyness is ‘uniquely for politicians’

    • PJ says:

      07:40am | 08/02/13

      whats your favourite Gillard Government dodgy expose?

      my personal favourite was when they were caught trying to take money out of the ‘International Poor Box’ to try and make their promised (x200) Surplus.

      How low is that? Taking money designated for the poor to try and get that tiny Surplus?

    • Huh says:

      07:41am | 08/02/13


      Ever heard of Queensland? Joh Bjelke Petersen ?

    • John says:

      08:00am | 08/02/13


      Askin’s name was Robin, and he called him self Bob Askin. When he got a knighthood in the early 70s he changed his first name to Robert because he thought Robin was a sissy name. He said Robin wasn’t a good name for someone who had played rugby league.

      @ Mexican Beemer

      For the entire time he was Premier Askin (and his crooked police mates) took huge bribes from Sydney’s illegal casinos, developers, you name it.  He was an integral part of the organised crime scene in Sydney.

    • Christian Real says:

      08:02am | 08/02/13

      So you turn a blind eye to corruption that has went on in previous Liberal or National party governments?
      It has happened in the liberal national party also,so don’t even attempt to stereo-type the ALP as being the only party that has corrupt people in it.
      Get your hand of it sunshine, or you will go blind

    • Chillin says:

      09:24am | 08/02/13

      Jack says: 07:45am | 08/02/13

      The country is just fine, Chuck. Get your hand off it.

      Christian Real says: 08:02am | 08/02/13

      Get your hand of it sunshine, or you will go blind

      Please come up with your own petty insults, don’t copy what you have just read.

    • Mr Sam says:

      09:30am | 08/02/13

      John we are talking about CURRENT politics. The ALP has a corruption problem it seems, and distraction statements like your only promote more suspicion.

    • Christian Real says:

      09:57am | 08/02/13

      I never copied my comment of anyone, so chill out sunshine,it is obvious that you have nothing to say and that is why you resort to nit-picking.

    • James of Hong Kong says:

      03:27pm | 08/02/13

      Despite being a Vic premier, Thomas Bent was from NSW.

    • Greg says:

      09:27am | 09/02/13

      Christian Real - Do you know the difference between ‘of’ and off’? Obviously not as you’ve done it more than once. Why don’t you leave the comments to better educated people? Perhaps your corrupt union/labor party could swing you a better pay so you could invest in some higher learning as you are an embarrassment to your side with your childish rants.

    • Zack says:

      06:11am | 08/02/13

      The ALP State and Federal are possible components of the Obeid corruption wed. No surprise really.

    • Tedd says:

      07:15am | 08/02/13

      “corruption wed” sounds like a slippery slope. 
      You’ve been talking to Cory or one of his thank-tanks (sic), haven’t you?

    • Zack says:

      11:48am | 08/02/13

      HaHa corruption wed does sound disturbing smile

      Corruption web though sounds intriguing.

    • Levi says:

      06:45am | 08/02/13

      “Sydney is a convict town, its origins still clearly evident in its present day culture, language and behaviour.”

      I’m not a Sydneysider, but that’s a bit of a harsh comment. Especially coming from a pie-floater eating serial killer with a weird accent. (That’s what people do down in Adelaide isn’t it?)

      A Queenslander

    • HC says:

      08:04am | 08/02/13

      A bit harsh perhaps, but not inaccurate.

      A Sydneysider

    • gof says:

      06:50am | 08/02/13

      Wasn’t ICAC setup to catch all the crooks in the Greiner Government (Liberal Premier), unfortunately for the Lib’s they got caught in his own web. It just goes to show that even the smart crooks (Lib politicians)  get caught sometimes, just ask Rex Jackson, Tony Packard and Barry Morris.

      “Their victory was emphatic and has guaranteed Labor defeat in NSW for many years to come.”
      Since when did “many” mean 3?

    • marley says:

      07:34am | 08/02/13

      @gof - three terms is quite a lot of years.  And that’s what I reckon this has done to the ALP in NSW.  I devoutly hope so. Maybe it will give the party the shock it needs to start operating like a modern, democratic political party.

    • Steve Douglas says:

      07:35am | 08/02/13

      gof typical re-writing of history by an ALP SUPPORTER.  in fact Greiner set ICAC UP. He was caught yes but as most sensible people know and understand it was on a technicality and nothing criminal.  Go read about it.

    • Mayday says:

      07:40am | 08/02/13

      Rex Jackson was a Labor man.

    • gof says:

      07:59am | 08/02/13

      #Mayday ,
      He was a plant!

    • gof says:

      08:29am | 08/02/13

      #marley ,
      “three terms is quite a lot of years”
      You’re telling me #marley! 3 Terms of the Howard government nearly sent this country over the fiscal cliff. Fortunately a great treasurer, renowned and lauded as the worlds best was found post Howard era to pull this country back from the edge of the fiscal crevice.

    • tony murka says:

      08:50am | 08/02/13

      gof says: “Fortunately a great treasurer, renowned and lauded as the worlds best was found post Howard era to pull this country back from the edge of the fiscal crevice.” Hahahahahahhahahhahaha Gof my good man you must be on the wacky tobaccy. You have made my day.

    • kaff says:

      12:00pm | 08/02/13

      I was waiting for someone to mention Buckets.  Now he was corrupt.  That’s what happens when you need to pay gambling debts. 

      He was my local member and a very tribal labor man.

    • PJ says:

      06:51am | 08/02/13

      Let’s go skiing ....at the The Gillard Government Obeid $1400 dollar a night playground.

      Dodgy as…

      “DISGRACED former NSW Labor resources minister Ian Macdonald has been accused of lining up a $4 million payment from a friend who was in business with the Obeid family as Mr Macdonald’s share of an allegedly corrupt mining deal he helped to facilitate.

      The sensational claim, made in the form of evidence tendered to a hearing yesterday of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, is the most serious allegation against a minister”

      - The Australian ...today

    • Christian Real says:

      01:01pm | 08/02/13

      The Australian, enough said

    • glz says:

      01:34pm | 08/02/13

      @ Christian
      “The Australian, enough said “
      Ah yes the labor mantra , if you dont agree with the media the media is corrupt.

    • Hamish says:

      02:41pm | 08/02/13

      So, Christian, are you suggesting The Australian made up evidence which was tendered to ICAC or did you just not read the post?

    • mlp says:

      03:01pm | 08/02/13

      I think what Christian Real is saying is that The Australian has no credibility.
      Printing opinion as fact is wrong on many levels.

      And the boys at Holt street wonder why the newspapers that once carried the empire forward are now the ball and chain around their legs.
      Why anyone would want to pay for their disinformation is disturbing.

    • chuck says:

      06:54am | 08/02/13

      It makes the match fixing in sport pale into insignificance. No wonder the country is in such a parlous state when the rot starts from the top and is seemingly entrenched everywhere.

    • Jack says:

      07:45am | 08/02/13

      The country is just fine, Chuck. Get your hand off it.

    • Rose says:

      08:44am | 08/02/13

      As long as there is power and money there will always be corruption.It’s just up to us to ensure that our Governments have in place independent bodies to investigate it.
      I would suggest that there be one ICAC, that ICAC would investigate corruption in all levels of government with the Federal and all State Governments contributing to the cost but with no one body having control over it.

    • James of Hong Kong says:

      03:38pm | 08/02/13

      I wonder who Steve Danks would vote for in Politics?


      07:05am | 08/02/13

      Hi David,

      Is this really the appropriate behavior from the very people who are supposed to be role models for all Australians? If this kind of thing is acceptable then there is not really much point in talking about and does anyone really care?  If the ordinary members of the public did exactly the same things, they were bound to be punished immediately, right?  Does it all have to do with this political immunity which actually enable many politicians to turn to criminal activities and why?  How about so called police officers who are supposed to protect and serve?

      Can we justify the fact anyone whether in public office or Australian politics should act as if they are above the law? I most certainly feel that it is a little disappointing to say the least. I also wanted to know if it was only twenty years ago that those kind of disturbing things happened?  I remember back in 2004 many police officers in Chatswood on the leafy North Shore were found guilty of many things by the Federal Police Integrity Commission. 

      Which was followed by the sexual harassment cases within the Police Department, with many female officers putting in complaints against their male counter parts.  Is that also normal and acceptable behavior?  I would personally expect slightly more from the role models in our society.  All public servants including our politicians should be held responsible for their actions and face the serious consequences just like any other Australian citizen!  Same rules and punishments should apply to everyone no ifs and no buts.  Kind regards.

    • Mr Sam says:

      07:10am | 08/02/13

      This is just the tip of the iceberg for Labor, imagine how much we don’t know about situations that have slipped under the radar. With 2 more asylum boats intercepted, the Thompson saga, Ministers calling it quits etc Labor can’t govern because they are too busy cleaning the crap off its shoes.

    • D. Rumsfeld says:

      11:00am | 08/02/13

      Imagine how much we don’t know about Liberal situations that have slipped under the radar.

    • steve says:

      12:01pm | 08/02/13

      No matter how much the Labor trolls try and muddy the water by claiming the Liberals did it too! The number of jailed Labor MPs and stench coming from current ICAC investigations will keep showing that the Labor system is terminally corrupt. If they fail to acknowledge the problem they will cease to exist.

    • D. Rumsfeld says:

      01:08pm | 08/02/13

      The Liberal system is terminally corrupt.

    • Alfie says:

      07:25am | 08/02/13

      Meanwhile, here in Qld they have a Commission of Inquiry into the health payroll debacle - a system which was initially priced at $6.19 million, then exceeded $37 million and could now cost up to $1,25b to fix.

      While it is not in the same league as the NSW corruption saga, expect to see a few State Labor ex-Ministers under the spotlight.

    • QLDer says:

      07:49am | 08/02/13

      Go the cane toads ! Qld has always been better at corruption than those NSW cockroaches.

    • Christian Real says:

      08:04am | 08/02/13

      One doesn’t have to look any further than a former National Party state government,‘Don’t you worry about that.”

    • Christian Real says:

      01:26pm | 08/02/13

      ICAC is currently doing an investigation into Eddie Obeid,but as that investigation has not been concluded and no verdict or conviction of guilty has been made against him in any way,shape or form, I will not prejudge him as guilty as others have already done in these blogs.
      It is up to the ICAC to make a judgement of either innocent or guilty of the alleged offences..
      From Mathew 7: Verses 1 & 2 :
      1. Judge not,that you be not judged.
      2. For with what judgement you judge,you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

    • Christian Real says:

      07:52am | 08/02/13

      One eyed liberal supporters will always see their party as a shining example of honesty and integrity when it is not and never will be.
      Corruption,dishonesty does not only occur in the ALP as these bias,one-side liberal supporters who comment in these blogs would like people to believe, but it also occurs in the Liberal/National party as well.
      The Liberal/National party supporters have really no room to point fingers at the ALP when the same has been happening within their own political party which they support.
      New South Wales
      * Tony Packard 1993 Liberal Party - Unlawful use of listening devices - convicted,fined $1,000
      * Barry Morris 1996 Liberal Party - Making death threats - 1 year -decreased from 21/2 years on appeal.
      *Brian Austin 1990 National Party - misappropriating public funds - 15 months
      * Leisha Harvey 1990 National Party - Misappropriating public funds - 12 months - 7 months served in home detention
      *Don Lane 1990 National Party - misappropriating public funds - 12 months
      *Geoff Muntz 1990 National Party - Misappropriating public funds - 12 months
      *Andrew Oleander 2005 Liberal Party - Drink Driving
      Western Australia:
      *Ray O’Conner 1995 Liberal Party - Stealing a Bond Corporation cheque from a parked car - 18 months - Former state Premier.
      *Wayde Smith 1998 Liberal Party - perjury - 18 months - Former State Deputy Premier,Paroled after six months.
      In 1987,the Fitzgerald Inquiry was launched to investigate allegations of corruption under Bjelke - Petersen’s rule.
      Eventually a number of Minister were all jailed for corrupt behaviour.
      Michael Cobb National Party MP - Fined $14,000 and given a two year suspended jail term after being found guilty of rorting travel expenses.

    • marley says:

      08:03am | 08/02/13

      @Christian Real - no one is saying that the Libs haven’t had issues in the past, and won’t have again.  But there’s a bit of a difference in a Lib MP being busted for drink driving or rorting his travel expenses and Eddie Obeid facing allegations of ripping the taxpayer out of tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars.

      You have to be living in la-la land to not recognise that this is right up there with the worst examples of political corruption in Australian history.  Only it’s not historical;  it’s now.  And trying to divert attention by pointing out past misdeeds of the Libs is the resort of the truly desperate.

    • Steven Douglas says:

      08:12am | 08/02/13

      Now for balance do a list of ALP members who are in jail or been convicted.  You can leave off the list Thomson, Williams, Obeid, etc as the jury is still out on them.  But make sure you include the guy from NSW currently in jail for giving drugs and having sex with teenage boys and the former ALP leader in Queensland for having sex with under aged girls.  I will let you leave off the ones caught DIU as the list will become far too long.  You’re hypocrisy is limitless.

    • Ken Oath says:

      08:14am | 08/02/13

      CR how long ago did Eddie tell you to have that dirt file open and your response ready?

    • JT says:

      08:28am | 08/02/13

      The contrast is stark, The oldest dates back 23 years!. Only a single example is even from this century.

      Even the crimes pale in comparison.

      Milton Orkopoulos - 2008 33 counts, including child sex and drug offences.
      Keith Wright - 1993 child sex offences
      Bill D’Arcy - 2000 child sex offences
      Merri Rose - 2005 extortion
      Gordon Nuttall - 2009, 2011 - Corruption, receiving secret commissions, theft

      And these are just the ones convicted. It does not include those accused such as Thompson.

    • John says:

      08:46am | 08/02/13


      It’s true that the Labor crimes are more recent, but that is because until recently most or all of the state governments were Labor. Now that the wheel has turned and the Liberals are back in government in most of the states you can be sure that they will be found out as just as corrupt.

    • Angry God of Townsville says:

      08:55am | 08/02/13

      These must be investigated thoroughly, even though they are over 20 years ago. The PM’s involvement in the intervening time should be ignored. I like how you have such a clear double standard.

      Current corruption is the issue, and that issue is all Labor. Enjoy.

    • Stephen T says:

      08:58am | 08/02/13

      @Christian Real: I remember something about people in glass houses:

      Andrew Theophanous - ALP politician sentenced in 2002 to 6 years’ jail for bribery and fraud
      Rex Jackson – 1987 Labor Party accepting bribes
      Milton Orkopoulos – 2008 Labor Party 33 counts, including child sex and drug offences
      Richard Face – 2009 - Labor Party - Making a false statement to the ICAC
      Keith Wright – 1993 - Labor Party - child sex offences
      Bill D’Arcy – 2000 - Labor Party - child sex offences
      Merri Rose – 2005 - Labor Party - extortion
      Gordon Nuttall - 2009, 2011 - Labor Party - Corruption, receiving secret commissions, theft
      Karen Struthers – 2007 - Labor Party - Drink driving
      Brenton Best – 2002 - Labor Party - Drink driving
      Carolyn Hirsh – 2005 - Labor Party - Drink driving
      Carolyn Hirsh – 2006 - Labor Party - Drink driving and driving whilst disqualified
      Adem Somyurek – 2009 - Labor Party - Driving whilst disqualified
      Brian Burke – 1994 - Labor Party - misappropriating public funds
      David Parker – 1996 - Labor Party - perjury

      It looks like this list may be getting a fes additions smile

    • Christian Real says:

      09:15am | 08/02/13

      Stephen t
      I was just pointing out that the Liberal and National are not squeaky clean either and it is not a one way political street leading to the ALP.
      I see that you have cherry picked the ones out of my comment to suit your attack on labor.
      At least four of the National party MP’s I mentioned where guilty of misappropriating public funds(ripping of the taxpayers)  and one Liberal MP even making death threats.
      It’s good to see that you have got your priorities right - not.

    • marley says:

      09:34am | 08/02/13

      @Christian Real - it was you, not I, who put those examples up there as direct comparisons with Obeid & Co.  The cherries are all yours.  And I don’t see a single one of them, even the worst of them, that’s even close to the level of corruption being alleged against the ALP.  And I reckon my priorities are just fine - I think someone being accused of rorting the taxpayers of a hundred million or so is a little more serious than someone who ripped of his travel expenses for a few thousand.  You apparently don’t or won’t see that one offence is slightly more serious than the other.

    • Christian Real says:

      09:44am | 08/02/13

      Marley (the cherrypicker)
      These are the ones that you conveniently overlooked so that you could continue your tirade against the ALP.
      1) Brian Austin 1990 - National Party - Misappropriating Public Funds - 15 Months.

      2) Leisha Harvey 1990 - National Party - Misappropriating Public Funds -12 months - 7 months served in Home detention.

      3) Don Lane 1990 - National Party - Misappropriating Public Funds - 12 months.

      4) Geoff Muntz 1990 - National Party Misappropriating Public Funds - 12 months.

      Marley you say: “But there’s a bit of a difference in a Lib MP getting busted for drink driving or rorting his travel expenses and Eddie Obeid facing allegations of ripping the taxpayer out of tens,perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars.”

      It would appear that you have a rule for Political parties and a seperate rule for the Liberal/National party which you obviously follow and which obvious teaches their supporters to turn a blind eye to what ever the Liberal/National party is doing wrong.
      These four Nation Party MP were found guilty,convicted and sentenced for Misappropriating Public Funds how can you claim that is different in any way to Eddie Obeid facing allegations of ripping off the taxpayers.
      The only difference is that Eddie Obeid has not been found guilty or convicted of any wrong doing as yet.

    • Stephen T says:

      10:31am | 08/02/13

      @Christian Real: Sorry but I couldn’t resist, your right of course no political organisation can guarantee all its members honesty.  The true test comes with how they deal with malfeasance once it has been discovered, sadly as we can now see all too frequently they don’t.
      In your case as a member of the Labor party I would have thought that you would have been more interested in seeing the house put in order than defending those who put it in disarray.  It is folly to defend a suspect Politian where there is allegations with substantive evidence to support them, in all honesty I believe that the very best thing that we can do for any politician that is found to be either incompetent, inept or corrupt is to criticise and lampoon them until they learn to behave like responsible adults.

    • JoniM says:

      10:38am | 08/02/13

      @Christian Real

      Don’t even try to compare the two major parties in terms of criminality !
      Corrective Services is the only portfolio that the ALP has ever had a strong hanlde on ! They win the crooks stakes hands down ! And it will only be further demonstrated over the coming 12 months.
      I hear Abbott has provisioned some funding in his budget figures, for a large gaol extension, to be called the Chifley Wing, to cater for the anticipated intake of ALP identies this year. The issue holding up the announcement is that the Coalition is unsure which gaol in which State would most need it ! It’s a toss up we are hearing !

    • Reggieman says:

      10:44am | 08/02/13

      Anyone else notice that Christian Real is always able to so quickly lay his hands on some kind of report, statistic or document that just so happens to fit into the story of the day? Do we need any more proof that he is in the employ of the Labor Party and is paid to post here on The Punch?

    • Reggieman says:

      10:44am | 08/02/13

      Anyone else notice that Christian Real is always able to so quickly lay his hands on some kind of report, statistic or document that just so happens to fit into the story of the day? Do we need any more proof that he is in the employ of the Labor Party and is paid to post here on The Punch?

    • marley says:

      12:02pm | 08/02/13

      @Christian Real - a cherry picker is one who selectively chooses data which supports his argument while ignoring any data which weakens it.  You have listed a number of Libs and Nats who’ve violated laws, but have entirely omitted their Lab counterparts.  Your whole argument is entirely based on cherry picking.

      I have simply pointed out that, of all the cherries out there, the allegations against Obeid would have to be amongst the worst. 

      And yes, there’s a difference between ripping off someone, be it the taxpayer or anyone else, for a few thousand and ripping them off for a few million.  Do you think Bernie Madoff would have got the sentence he did if he’d been convicted of siphoning a few grand?

      Now, you claim that the Coalitions supporters are all one-eyed, so lets see if you, as an ALP supporter, can answer a straight question without dragging the Coalition into the argument.

      Is the ICAC inquiry into Obeid and Macdonald evidence of serious corruption issues within the ALP?

    • Economist says:

      12:02pm | 08/02/13

      I see no point in this tit for tat. I can only concur that Labor deserve the stench that comes with this, the fact they still haven’t endorsed internal reforms as suggested by Faulkner is an indictment.

      The fact that it was gotten away with for so long, where were the bureaucrats who did the paper work for these sales, where were the Labor staffers? Why weren’t they putting the party, public first rather than supporting/ignoring their bosses actions?

      As a taxpayer I want the money back. How can we get the money back when it has no doubt been handed out to family members or squirreled away.

      I’d like to see a whistleblower fund set up that awards up to a million dollars when these cases of fraud that involve millions of dollars are exposed. It could be paid for out of the proceeds of the crime obtained back.

      To add, this type of fraud is the worst but it is endemic and done subtly everyday in both the private and public sector.

      Has there been an investigation into BER awarding of contracts within NSW. For a program that was designed to create local employment throughout Australia why were only 6-7 companies awarded contracts to build the same styled buildings throughout NSW?

      Has there been any investigation into the floating of Telstra? It seems awfully convenient that the float was awarded to high profile Liberal backers. 

      Where is the legislation to ban or limit political donations and for the money to only be provided from the public purse. I’d much prefer to hand over $200m to the political parties a year to fund their electioneering and with a maximum of $1000 from individuals only, than support privation donations.

    • SAm says:

      12:02pm | 08/02/13

      I cant believe theres people on both sides defending their grubs..you lot are all pathetic..
      Saying ‘we may have some bad ones but your lot are worse’ is not an argument. They are as rotten as each other and dont pretend this stuff only happens on the other side of the fence

    • Zack says:

      12:07pm | 08/02/13

      CR your desperation is very funny.

    • Knemon says:

      01:00pm | 08/02/13

      Hear hear SAm…pathetic tit for tat indeed, even bordering on childish.

      Power corrupts…full stop. It doesn’t differentiate between political parties, it affects all levels of government, always has and always will…it’s the nature of the beast!

    • marley says:

      01:16pm | 08/02/13

      @Economist - re your last paragraph - that’s pretty much the system operating in Canada.  No individual donations over a threshold of something like $1000, no company or union donations, tight limitations on actual election expenditure, and public funding of campaigns.  The other key point is that all the political parties in Canada operate democratically, with the members having a vote on the leadership and on the party platform, so that something like the Rudd displacement can’t happen without a national party convention.  That takes a lot of power out of the hands of the factions.  It’s by no means a perfect system, but what we have in NSW is nothing short of appalling, so anything would be an improvement.

    • Economist says:

      03:24pm | 08/02/13

      Well I agree with the Canadian system Marley. By all means it’s not full proof, as you’ve indicated,.I’m sure parties have used dead people or companies use their employees names, but we still have an independent AEC to investigate. And if corruption is found, the AEC could take 10% of their publicly funded money away a year for every indiscretion. That would keep them on their toes, assuming that $200 million between the parties is enough wink

      Regarding democratic nominations and members voting for leaders wasn’t that the Faulkner reforms essentially. And lets be clear the bun fight for the ACT Liberal Senate seat certainly seems to indicate some back room deals and dodgy processes within the Liberal party. So it’s not all Labor, but if Labor want to shake of being tainted as corrupt they need to take the lead on these types of reforms. Put up or shut up.

    • Christian Real says:

      06:56pm | 08/02/13

      I am not and never have been employed by Labor, nor do they pay me to post comments in these blogs.
      Like some people collect cars, stamps or coins I collect political News stories of interest, you just never know when they might come in handy.
      Like Abbott was going to be a monk but changed his mind, when I was growing up I always wanted to be a Minister but change my mind because my real interest was politics.
      Been a candidate for Local Government and also a Candidate for State Government, would like to give Federal Government a go not this election but perhaps the next one.

    • Wakey Wakey says:

      07:54am | 08/02/13

      Great article DP. It seems “a working class hero is no longer something to be”

    • JT says:

      08:39am | 08/02/13

      He’s already like them. He just hides it better than the others. Why they bother hiding it though I do not know. Are they embarrassed or do they simply want to keep up the false pretence they are anything but shills for the Labor Party.

    • Scott Cole says:

      09:56am | 08/02/13

      Congratulations, Penbo!
      Actually sounds like good forward planning on Kate’s part, at least on 15th September this year, you’ll most likely still have a job to support her with.

    • Economist says:

      11:48am | 08/02/13

      I find it pretty offensive the desperation in tying Kate and David into to this.Clearly both have thick skins to put up with this nonsense.

    • Jaqui says:

      12:28pm | 08/02/13

      @Economist: Well this information from Mack is quite relevant since it appears that journos in Australia cannot seem to objectively report these days without putting in their own opinion.

    • Economist says:

      01:21pm | 08/02/13

      Jaqui, there are a lot of journalists married or shacked up with politicians and political power brokers on both sides. I see no point in having a go at David who as been a editor in chief of a tabloid paper that broke many an exclusive critical of both sides of Parliament, and personally I see no evidence of bias.

    • Jaqui says:

      03:13pm | 08/02/13

      @Economist: Which journalists?

      I think it should be mandatory for any journalist posting an article to declare his/her potential bias due to relationship or membership to political organisation from whatever side of the fence they obviously sit.

      As soon as Australian journalists start acting like decent journalists and report the facts instead of passing off their own opinion as fact, then we can do away with the need for a declaration.

    • Economist says:

      03:48pm | 08/02/13

      Off the top of my head, there was Maxine McKew with Hoggy (Labor Party),  Craig Thomson’s wife is a journalist, Janet Albrechtsen is currently with Michael Kroger and was married to John O’Sullivan also a Liberal power broker.

      I believe Crikey had a list at one stage of these relationships, but none of this in my view has any bearing on David’s ability to provide opinion pieces for the Punch, and the personal attacks that come with it.

    • Stephen says:

      08:30am | 08/02/13

      Nice article…but rather sanctimonious…it presumes that the members of the journalistic elite are squeaky clean, stick-to-the-truth, incorruptable guardian angels.

      Instead, they are just another part of the problem. Guzzling free drinks with the politburo is not what I’d call the actions of independence.

    • Chillin says:

      08:45am | 08/02/13

      Welcome to the Punch!

    • john says:

      01:10pm | 08/02/13

      The new kid on the block “chillin” welcomes you to the punch.
      too funny !!!!
      A pledge welcoming a pledge.

    • ace leo ace says:

      08:43am | 08/02/13

      Abolish all state governments and split the responsibilities between the commonwealth and local councils.

      It is the only way.

    • Rose says:

      09:32am | 08/02/13

      Why? That would just move the corruption, not end it. Unfortunately corruption is inevitable, it’s how we seek it out and deal with it that is important.
      The first thing to do is not attack the issue along partisan lines, the government of the day, whatever persuasion, is the government that is most vulnerable to people within its ranks taking advantage of their position for personal gain. History shows us that no party is immune and no party has the moral upper hand.
      An independent ICAC type body which owes no allegiance to any state or government is our best bet.

    • marley says:

      12:26pm | 08/02/13

      There’s been a fair amount of corruption in NSW at the council level (Wollongong springs to mind).  I don’t think that’s the solution.

    • AdamC says:

      09:02am | 08/02/13

      Melburnians have always seen Sydney as a bit of a cowboy town. 

      Having said that, nobody has been able to explain to me how the dodgy, ‘Labor Right’ spivs were able to dominate the NSW ALP for so long. The national media was reporting on the malign influence of Obeid, Tripodi and the rest in the late 1990s. Yet no Labor people did anything. It is hardly a shock that members of the ‘Terrigals’ seem to have had their snouts well and truly in the public trough. 

      Obeid, Thomson and Wilson are going to be gifts for Abbott’s election attack ads. All this stuff is like a movie or something!

    • John says:

      11:08am | 08/02/13

      Same way Joh and his cronies ran QLD for decades. Money talks. Didn’t you read the Fitzgerald Inquiry?

      Oh, plus gerrymander in Joh’s case.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      11:18am | 08/02/13

      Give it 2-3 years. It will be on a telemovie on channel 9!

    • AdamC says:

      12:20pm | 08/02/13

      John, that is not an explanation. But I guess my question was pretty rhetorical.

      It is pretty obvious that the ALP of today has the same attitude to corruption that the Church had to child abuse a few decades ago. That is, they accept that being corrupt is bad, but do not want to do anything about it because it would be embarrassing if things came out.

      That may be a somewhat inflammatory comparison, but it is an accurate one.

      Simon, maybe Firass Dirani could play one of Eddie Obeid’s sons?

    • Stephen T says:

      01:01pm | 08/02/13

      @John: “Oh, plus gerrymander in Joh’s case. “

      While it is true that the Queensland electoral boundaries were malapportioned between 1949 and 1992, that particular gerrymander was designed and initiated by the Hanlon Labor Government.  it didn’t prove to be quite the boon for the Labor party that they had hoped for though wink.

    • Ben C says:

      01:26pm | 08/02/13

      @ simonfromlakemba

      Care to volunteer a working title for this next instalment of Underbelly? smile

    • John says:

      02:07pm | 08/02/13

      Yes it is, Adam. Money talks.

      Plus gerrymander in Joh’s case.

    • mikem says:

      09:28am | 08/02/13

      The pattern of corruption in NSW has been ongoing for as long as I can remember and it has afflicted governments of both persuasion.  What is it about the NSW political system that allows this to happen?

    • Rose says:

      09:35am | 08/02/13

      The power and money that is up for grabs.

    • Graeme says:

      10:31am | 08/02/13

      “What is it about the NSW political system that allows this to happen?” The people that vote. We still elect them.

    • dweezy 2176 says:

      09:33am | 08/02/13

      Corruption can benefit the individual, occasionally! In the early nineties I lived close to the local State member, these were the days of regular power strikes/outages, whatever so what did our local member do? had himself hooked into the fail-safe electricity supply for the local hospital.
      Voila, as I was on the direct route, along with maybe a dozen others, we also were connected to the hospital. And since then, regardless of any blackouts, even 100 metres away, we have never been without power after that day.
      It may not be mind-boggling corruption/abuse of power but , I assume, was illegal!

    • Ken Oath says:

      09:40am | 08/02/13

      I’ll bet London to a brick Eddie picked up that fleet of leaky Indonesian fishing boats a while ago. For a song. Just before Labor got in. When he knew Labor were going to open the floodgates and there was a big buck in it.

    • Grey says:

      09:47am | 08/02/13

      ” In SA there was no such inquiry as the police had just undergone a thorough anti-corruption investigation, Operation Hygiene, in which one copper was busted for stealing a punned of strawberries, another for pinching a bag of potting mix.”
      *Snort* dream on matey.
      I could name Greek-Australian families and Labor politicians from SA, except there is no point because it will never be allowed through moderation.  Hell, this won’t be allowed through moderation.
      But that is how corruption works, it puts great stock in trying to control the appearance of things - in this area more than anywhere else: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    • RANK FRANK says:

      10:00am | 08/02/13

      Labor and corruption continue to be used in the sme sentence .
      Learn by your mistakes or you will be lost within 10 years.
      And I believe Corruption and incompetance has already lost Gillard
      the Election.
      Sure there is lots more to come, news all bad and very sad.

    • HC says:

      11:10am | 08/02/13

      Politics and corruption I think you mean, don’t you dare think your party of choice is squeaky clean (whatever party that might be) because all people are corruptible, the price just has to be right.

    • Harvey says:

      11:16am | 08/02/13

      Liberal and corruption. Liberal and corruption. OMG. In the sme sentence. Try not to be too upset, princess.

    • Steve says:

      11:57am | 08/02/13

      Labor / Unions = corruption
      Always will.

    • Ho hum says:

      02:10pm | 08/02/13

      Liberal = corruption
      Always will.

    • JoniM says:

      02:45pm | 08/02/13

      There is nothing wrong or illegal about having a family trust, until you start filling it up with corruptly misappropriated money and then avoid paying tax on it as you disperse it !

    • mikey says:

      03:04pm | 08/02/13

      The three big tax dodges in Australia are family trusts, negative gearing and superannuation salary sacrifice and none of the political have the balls to tackle them. 

      Family trusts particularly irk me.  Whilst the single wage earning family get only one tax free threshold the ‘Family Trust’ family will get multiple tax free thresholds because their ‘family income’ is split multiple ways.  For example a family trust of mum. dad and two kids will get $78,000 tax free whilst the single wage earning family will only get $19,00 tax fee.  You can slice and dice it however you like but that is not equitable by any measure.

    • james of mosman says:

      05:54pm | 08/02/13

      they will never reform family trusts because all the pollies have them and there are a hell of a lot of rich people with trusts who are very powerful.

      Trust me, i have a trust.

    • Hanzel says:

      10:06am | 08/02/13

      Drastically reduce taxes and the size of government, so no ‘beachhead’ is available to those obsessed with making money at the detriment of their countrymen, let them compete, mano a mano, with the rest of us.

    • Stan says:

      10:14am | 08/02/13

      I have never read anything you have written befor but I could fill a book with instances that would support it.  I was born into a labor family in a place far away from here & I can say that quite amazing things took place in my Dads *office* in our very humble home.  Plots or perhaps a better description would be parts of plots of national importance had their origine there.  International companies were infiltrated by what can only be called *Agents* of labor.  Millions & I mean just that MILLIONS were put onto the steets for *the cause* & to intimidate government.  Ballots were a joke becase the out come was known befor they were called.  However when I came to this fair land & set down my roots I quickly learned that my Dad & his fellows where virtual amatures in comparison to ned kellys heirs.  Australia is at war with its self & if anyone disagrees they should simply follow the lines from this Obeid thing in NSW & multiply it by EVERY state & teritory to get just an inckling of the true problem that assails us all.

    • Rosie says:

      10:17am | 08/02/13

      The stench reeking out of the word ‘Labor’  here in Australia is beyond a joke!

      Since this Labor Federal Govt is into broadening the Macquarie Dictionary the word Labor - social class comprising those who do manual labor or work for wages ( jobs! jobs! and more jobs! ) should also mean exceptional if the word is used in the naming of a political Australian party - life of extravaganza, grand and ostentatious by abusing taxpayer’s money when holding a privileged position as Labor Member of Parliament, State and Federal.

    • Millie says:

      11:39am | 08/02/13

      Dear Rosie
      I wouldn’t be so fast as to judge any “party” by the actions of a few that are in it.
      Would you judge all men harshly because some are rapists?
      Would you judge all women harshly because some abandon their children?
      We hold individuals responsible for their actions.
      Do all politicians from all parties “reek” because of the actions of one politician?
      Do you believe that everyone who leans towards the left is a member of the Labor party or in a union?
      Perhaps you should open your eyes and understand that some people think the LNP have gone too far to the right and don’t represent their beliefs.

    • U. Idiot says:

      11:42am | 08/02/13

      Go back to America or learn to spell according to the Macquarie Dictionary.

    • Rosie says:

      12:19pm | 08/02/13

      Good words, good intentions but sorry Millie, with the frustrations, patience and anxiety the majority of Australians have to endure to get rid of the Gillard Labor Govt, anything bad related to the ALP will have a stench about it. Talk to me again after Sept 14, I may have pity on you!

      At this stage I think the best option is for you to keep your opinions to yourself and me to mine as like most other Australian we just want to see the end of this Labor Govt. Otherwise, reply in justification to your preferred political party - I don’t care!

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      05:33pm | 08/02/13

      Yeah right, tell me the Liberal Party is clean and I’ll laugh in your face. The only difference between the ALP and the Coalition is that the Coalition is better at covering their dirt….

    • Rosie says:

      10:39am | 08/02/13

      This just about sums up what we know today about the stench built around human tendency - in this case Labor MPs

      Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money - especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that’s why we lost.

      Eric Cantor

    • John says:

      12:03pm | 08/02/13

      @Rosie. Was that John Howard’s concession speech?

    • Jonathan Carroll says:

      10:52am | 08/02/13

      Who is worse Labour in NSW or Nationals in QLD

    • Christian Real says:

      01:28pm | 08/02/13

      Nationals in Queensland

    • Martin says:

      11:22am | 08/02/13

      It is the media’s job to protect our democracy and report these corrupt practices before they become so overwhelming. As Mr Pemberby says ’ I inhabited this world for more than a decade both as a political reporter at NSW Parliament and then as a newspaper editor’ and ‘even the blokes who were likeable cleanskins could come across as being suss’. So why, Mr Pemberby didn’t you come out with it THEN, why come out with it now when it is all far too late?? I have tried for many years to get journalists to report on corrupt ion in NSW backed up by mountains of research and evidence, but the media are too cowardly and too captured by vested interests. Some local newspapers even collect information from people like me to pass on to these charlatans in power. Unless the members of the NSW media change their culture,  NSW will continue to be Australia’s capital of corruption. Will you accept that challenge fir change Mr Pemberby?

    • Rose says:

      12:34pm | 08/02/13

      Probably partly because it’s one thing to think some one is up to know goo and a completely different thing to KNOW it. To out some one is a pretty big thing to do and unless you have all the facts at \your disposal it’s a risky thing to do. Even a guilty person will have you up for libel/slander if you can’t prove what you’re saying.
      And it’s not the media’s job to protect our democracy, that’s OUR job, we, the people. We are responsible for voting in the government and it is up to us to know who we’re voting for and why, and to not leave the thinking up to some one else, even if they do have a journalism degree!

    • Squiggle says:

      11:26am | 08/02/13

      The reality is, its our fault. Every few years the gullible public are forced to vote for a bunch of trough grazing, im better than thou, prince’s and princess’s of promises. And we all line up in this procession of BS to give our tick to the best group of corrupt con jobbers we think that have remembered us by throwing us some promise of something that may never happen.

    • Liberal Thinker says:

      11:26am | 08/02/13

      Every story that’s nothing to do with this Govt is just a distraction by the left media to distract attention from the disastrous and corrupt labor Govt.  Forget the sport, it should all be about Gillard! They should all not only be thrown out but in jail.

    • Christian Real says:

      12:58pm | 08/02/13

      Liberal Thinker
      You cannot throw someone in jail unless it is proven that they are guilty of an offence,we have got laws in this Country in case you are unaware a person is innocent until proven guilty or convicted of an offence.
      If you are not happy with our laws you can always leave and go to another Country that accommodates your liberal way of thinking.

    • Ben says:

      06:36pm | 08/02/13

      @Christian Real

      >>You cannot throw someone in jail unless it is proven that they are guilty of an offence<<

      Christian, you really do have a habit of sticking your chin out. Does the phrase “bail was refused” assist any?

    • Andrew says:

      11:27am | 08/02/13

      I fear that we are barely scratching the surface regarding corruption in Australian public office. I think we need a royal commission into corruption within every level of politics. I know it probably won’t happen and even if it did it would take years, but I just can’t believe that these guys are the only people allegedly involved in corruption.

    • Alfredo "Irish" says:

      11:31am | 08/02/13

      People are so unkind about NSW ALP “family businesses”. 

      What have we every done to hurt you.

      We are all just capitalists at heart behaving as if we were in the home country where bribes and government intervention are a way of life.

      OK, we “do not recall” many of the incidents in question but doesn’t everyone do the same thing when questioned by ICAC.

    • Moses says:

      01:32pm | 08/02/13


      Tone it down.  You should know better than to talk about family business in public.

      Moses “Irish”

    • Christian Real says:

      11:41am | 08/02/13

      You Liberal mob are not squeaky clean either,stop being a one-side bias imbecile

    • Reader says:

      11:52am | 08/02/13

      Even if there was a Liberal Obeid out there you could guarantee his mates at the Tele would work feverishly to help him out, just as they work to campaign for the destruction of any Labor MP they can.

    • Steve says:

      11:56am | 08/02/13

      @ Christian unreal"stop being a one-side bias imbecile”
      Pot, black???

    • Mayday says:

      12:26pm | 08/02/13

      Such a classy response Not!

    • Rosie says:

      12:54pm | 08/02/13

      @ Reader

      Who needs the Tele mates when Labor MPs, Craig Emerson and David Bradley are the best at defending their Gillard Labor Govt and trying to destroy just one man and one man alone ‘Tony Abbott’ It is not the Coalition’s DNA to have in their Party an Obeid trying his hardest not too lose face with the Australian people. Bradley has recently joined the vicious obsessed Emerson. Must be concerned with losing his marginal seat?

    • vox says:

      01:37pm | 08/02/13

      Steve, “Pot, Black?”. That’s clever, and so informative. Oh, and original. Sorry.
      Abbott has appointed Thomas E Mix as his Chief Adviser, but I don’t think it will help him much. All he will offer will be more slogans.
      There will always be crooks in the Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the National Party, the Boston Tea Party, the neighbour’s birthday party, and in the Party for the Elimination of all Parties. They are humans, and all prone to dishonest acts.
      One bloke, who is apparently forgiven by some clowns actually lied in order to send our young soldiers to their death. And backed solidly by a bloke who commented on some of those deaths by saying, “Shit happens!”.
      Has anyone died as a result of Gillard’s “lie that wasn’t a lie” re the carbon tax? No?
      How much taxpayer’s money was spent, and continues to be spent because Gillard can’t undo an Australian Government commitment in an hour and a half? Billions!! Mind you, that bears no comparison to the evil original vile act by most of the present Oppo Shadow Cabinet, and particularly Abbott.
      And you weak supporters of this, the greatest lie ever foisted upon the Australian public, dare to say ‘Je accuse!?
      You deserve Abbott, and Abbott deserves you.

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      12:17pm | 08/02/13

      The corruption from whereever is just a product of the structure of the political system with its winner takes all for 3-plus years design and the accompanying duopoly. Add in failing political party involvement at the grass roots level, that is the falling and aging membership of political parties, chuck in human nature and logic says the corruption is inevitable and not the outlier.
      We would improve this with referenda on all contentious issues taking the power away from the system and putting it back where it belongs with the people. Other countries do this without issue; with modern technology, there is no reason for the old counting system we still use and modern technology would make yearly votes simple to implement. Why in the 21st century do we still use a political and voting system built for the 19th century? Who benefits from that?

    • Leigh says:

      12:18pm | 08/02/13

      If Sydney is, as Penberthy claims, “...a convict town…” it could be believed that Labor will be back after a ‘suitable’ time in opposition; however, it seems that leaders after Carr could have, but did not, do something about the rogue/crooked ministers.

      That Carr blocked the crooks from his ministry should earn some respect for that generally unlikeable man. It is clear that the quality of leaders does matter, and the New South Welsh should certainly be demanding a good vetting of the Labor leader before they vote Labor again.

      However, the facts show that it is only swinging voters (about 5%) who decided who will form governments. The rest vote the way they always do, irrespective of how good or rotten individual politicians are. And, if voters are getting their share of welfare (about 60% of all government spending) they are not likely to care about corruption among the politicians; they are just as corrupt, accepting bribes from pork-barrelling.

    • jolly says:

      12:54pm | 09/02/13

      ‘Voters getting their share of welfare”. Absolutely right. It saddens me to know the millions and millions of tax payer money constantly poured into the pockets of big business as some kind of industry subsidy, or even worse, religious groups from Catholics to exclusive brethrens. Also the farmers, the biggest socialist mentality of them all. These people, just like the mining companies don’t need tax payer money at all!

    • Christian real says:

      12:23pm | 08/02/13

      Are you Rosie’s alter ego?

    • Burp! says:

      01:19pm | 08/02/13

      Christian real // Are you Anthony Mundines cousin, or like your comments suggest - just one of his brain battered sparring partner!

    • Christian Real says:

      04:59pm | 08/02/13

      One of my cousins is married to one of Mundine’s cousins

    • LJ Dots says:

      06:46pm | 08/02/13

      My nephew’s wife had a step mother who was half sister to Princess Mary.

      I think I might also be related to Kevin Bacon (it’s a long story but the best bits are on YouTube). It’s a shame the dancing gene is recessive and was not passed on, so tripping the light fantastic with a Princess is never going to happen for me - unless Princess Mary happens to wear cowboy boots.

      Anyway. There it is. It’s obviously important stuff and I thought I should share this information.

    • Lails says:

      12:41pm | 08/02/13

      @ Gof “#labor corruption is more widespread,
      Without corruption there would be no need for Laws. Without Laws there would be no need for Lawmakers. Without a need for Lawmakers there would be no need for politicians. Without politicians there would be chaos.
      So a few rogues in the ALP parties have done this country a great service in protecting us from chaos.
      What has NLP done? Nothing as usual! “

      Seriously?? So we should thank corrupt Labor politicians for doing “this country a great service” and then you go on to point out that the LNP have done nothing as usual ie. not been corrupt! Haha!

      Also what’s with the hashtags?? It’s been driving me nuts for ages!

    • gof says:

      02:44pm | 08/02/13

      “Also what’s with the hashtags??”
      @‘s, like Mr Abbott are so yesterday!

      ” It’s been driving me nuts for ages!”“
      You’re nuts? Welcome then to the liberal brethren

    • Gordon says:

      12:59pm | 08/02/13

      The whole thing is really awful. I am glad the see that so far the departmental officers have not been implicated. Their evidence has helped expose the scandal. I hope this continues to be the case and I hope the guilty parties get the book thrown at them. Assets confiscated down to the last bloody razoo.

      I wouldn’t mind someone having another look at alpine offset too. I recall Obeid esq. was involved there too.

    • Christine says:

      02:18pm | 08/02/13

      With regard to rehashing history for the purpose of he or she did it first or also, is a waste of time and portrays a lack of understanding for those times.  It achieves little. However, partly rehashing for the purpose of understanding what happened decades ago may have some benefit .  It was a generally accepted understanding in earlier decades (20th century) that from time to time,  politicians (Federal, State or Local Government) often did things that benefited themselves.  People tended to turn a blind eye because of political loyalites and as long as they felt their needs were being taken care of. Communication was restricted to local paper or radio and people were often too busy with their own lives to waste time gossiping about such and such a pollie,. People were also reluctant to raise issues of concern for fear of retaliation by their neighbours. Many in the electorates only had primary school education. Corruption as defined today was not necessarily recognised in the same way, probably through to the eighties. 

      With higher education came an increasing demand for accountability and political correctness.  Queensland govt came under scrutinity with the Fitzgerald Enquiry sanctioned by then government.  Many pollies did not think they were doing anything wrong by previously accepted standards.  Times change and suspect behaviours became unacceptable and called corruption.  Following investigations, pollies were charged and found guilty.

      Over the past 15 -  20 years or so, the electorate has increasingly expected higher standards and better behavour from our councillors and members of parliament.  Some pollies have been reluctant to lift their game.

      Lance Armstrong claimed doping was all around him with cycling.
      Horse racing involved doping and betting. 
      Politicians feathered their own nests in corrupt ways.
      Some parents smacked their children with belts.
      Schools caned students.
      In earlier times, some had their tongue removed for telling lies, or hand chopped off for stealing.

      None of this behaviur is accepted to day

      Standards and expectations change.  So I say forget what so and so did 30, 40, 50 years ago, I don’t think it is appropriate to speak so unkindly about the dead today when different standards and expectations apply. 

      It is important that corruption be investigated and addressed with criminal charges laid where appropriate.  So please stop passing the buck.

    • stephen says:

      06:04pm | 08/02/13

      Talking of politics : Gina Rinehart got on TV yesterday and spoke of Nth. Qld. being transformed into a developing centre for business and manufacturing, taking advantage of proximity to ports for Asian export.
      (Still reckon NQ as a food hub would be profitable for us.)
      Anyway, up piped the assistant Treasurer for Labor, who said that such a thing would be disastrous because it would rob Western Sydney of workers, only to hand them over to the tropics.

      Considering where the Obeids come from, you would think that if such a proposal was implemented 20 years ago, that the only crimes they might be guilty of is stealing bananas.

    • Gordon says:

      06:12pm | 08/02/13

      I’ve done a quick tally of the names mentioned who have actual convictions for dodgy dealings. It’s 15 labor 15 lib/nat. No Greens or Dems? Maybe proves Gough’s comment: only the impotent are pure. Leftoids lead the field in kiddy-fiddling and DUI, Rightards lead in $ related activities. I threw in Russ Hinze for free. This does NOT include Obeid Thompson Slipper as no adverse findings yet recorded.

      Bloody shameful on both sides IMHFO


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