Western Australia’s new Police and Justice Minister, John D’Orazio, is
threatening legal action against the state’s daily newspaper, The West, for publication of a front page story headlined, “Police Minister is the ‘Godfather’.”

Yesterday’s dramatic headline forced Mr D’Orazio to respond with
fighting words plus a threat of possible legal action. “The comments
today by The West Australian are lies and absolute rubbish,” he told a
press conference. “There is absolutely no cloud over me. There have
been no allegations of misconduct by me.”

Use of the word “Godfather” particularly upset Mr D’Orazio. It’s a “slight upon the whole Italian community,” he said. The West has alleged that Mr D’Orazio, a former Bayswater Council
mayor, ironed out a deal in 2003 between his campaign manager, Adam
Spagnolo, and carpet supplier, Tony Drago.

Mr Spagnolo, as well as being a former mayor of nearby Stirling
Council, was then a Bayswater employee. He and Mr Drago were involved
in a drawn-out imbroglio over carpet supply contracts with Bayswater
council.

Mr Spagnolo was fined $27,000 early this month after pleading
guilty to three counts of procuring another to take custody of a postal
vote and one count each of forging and uttering a signature of an
elector. The case was launched by the state’s Corruption and Crime
Commission (CCC) and during a hearing in June, Mr Drago referred to a
meeting he had with Spagnolo and another party.

The prosecution asked: “Who was the Godfather?” to which Mr
Drago replied “a friend”. But The West has elevated that response to a
new level by naming Mr D’Orazio as the “Godfather”.

“At the time of the meeting Mr D’Orazio, a former long-time
Bayswater mayor, was the Labor MLA for Ballajura, having won the seat
in 2001 with Mr Spagnolo as his campaign manager,” The West said.

New Labor Premier Alan Carpenter has named Mr D’Orazio his
cabinet’s rising star. Once the CCC completes a report on the case
we’ll learn if that’s so or whether he’s more like a
falling star.

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW