Morris Iemma, the NSW health minister, is about to become the next
premier of NSW. He’s the head office candidate but his key backers have
some less than impressive records – they’re largely the same gang that
imposed Barry Unsworth on the people of NSW after Nifty Wran quit in
1986. Bazza lost two years later to Nick Greiner.

One is Joe Tripodi, the man levered into the NSW Cabinet earlier this year by mate Carl
Scully. Scully put his hand up to replace
the fleeing Bob Carr only to find Joe had abandoned him and was supporting
Morrie the Lemur.

Here’s
a good story from Friday’s Daily Teleoutlining some of the rattery
in undermining Carl. Joe,
you might also remember, made a number of claims about various people in the grubby
Orange Grove shopping centre story last year; claims that were basically ignored
in any inquiry. He didn’t cover himself in any
glory.

Then
there’s Eddie Obeid, the dominant ALP figure in delivering the Lebanese vote
into the party in and around west Sydney,
especially around Strathfield and Parramatta. He
spent some time in his old village in Lebanon in May 2004, instead of being in the NSW
Upper House voting with the government. (See here.)

Eddie had approval to return to Lebanon for a family matter but it
turned out to be more electoral than emotional. Somehow the governing
of NSW is going to become much more interesting with Morrie Iemma in
place, supported by Joe and Eddie. They have enough skeletons in the
closet to rattle the polls in 2007. Of course Morrie’s mentors
include Obeid, and Richo, Graham Richardson, the former federal ALP
minister and heavyweight of the NSW right and friend of the late Rene
Rivkin.
Not a lot to boast about there.

There was reportedly a meeting on Tuesday night at the
NSW Parliament House in the wake of Carr’s retirement attended by
Iemma and supporters and mentors, including Richo. A story in The Bulletin in May mentioned that Stephen Hopper,
the high profile lawyer to sections of the Sydney Muslim community (Mamdouh Habib for example) was an
employee of Iemma in the latter’s electorate
office:

Long before he would fall out with the
Habibs, Hopper fell out with Morris Iemma, a chief of the NSW Labor right. His first job after
leaving university was in Iemma’s electorate office.
After 18 months Iemma sacked him. The reasons are a
mystery as a deed of settlement still binds both sides to secrecy. All Hopper
will say is: “Morris Iemma and I had a difference of
opinion and suffice it to say Morris’s opinion prevailed.” He laughs his slightly
forced rollicking laugh at this. He can be funny – even in court.

Peter Fray

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