The 2006 Australian Labor Party Sleaze Stakes:
Gordon Nuttall. Put out to pasture in September, this former Queensland ministerial warhorse is still going strong. Renowned for his botched handling of the “Dr Death” issue, he’s now the subject of a Crime and Misconduct Commission inquiry for accepting a private loan from businessman Ken Talbot in 2001. Could be hampered by a fine for failing to disclose the $300,000 loan on parliamentary registers. Double trouble.
Merri Rose. Another former Queensland minister who still has legs in this field. The odds for this ex-tourism minister, dumped in 2004 for allegations of bullying, were substantially shortened when it was revealed she’s now facing court for allegedly threatening to dump “dirt” on the Beattie government if she didn’t get a public service gig with a six-figure salary.
George Seitz. The Victorian Labor MP is currently under investigation by the fraud squad for allegedly misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars of gambling money. Branch-stacking is what’s in question here, with Seitz supposedly paying for ALP memberships thanks to funds from bingo games and a rental property. May have also used membership rorting to give Bill Shorten a leg-up ahead of the 2007 pre-selection — in turn he got to stay in parliament beyond the prescribed age of 65. Life in the old horse yet.
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Brian Burke. The former WA Premier has returned to form in recent weeks and could race to the lead for a photo finish with allegations that he was leaked sensitive cabinet information to assist his lobbying business. The stalwart has been lagging in the first leg of recent races, but after CCC investigators raided Burke’s home last week, seizing several boxes, and other colleagues have since been implicated, he’s set to give competitors a run for their money.
Milton Orkopoulos. The former NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister and accused pedophile has now left the state Labor stables. Premier Iemma, though slow to warm to the task, is sticking the boot in, pushing through legislation to deny him super if any of the 30 drug and child s-x charges against him stack up. Another unnamed ALP official has also been accused of child s-x offences, and up to three party members are accused of contributing to the tawdriness of the tale by their inaction.
Kerry Hickey and John Della Bosca. The two NSW MPs have been discovered using office budgets to pay parking fines. Both argue they got the fines on the job but will nonetheless reimburse the office coffers out of their own pockets. Meanwhile, Hickey finally fessed up to four speeding tickets in four years, three times in a ministerial car, for which he got a light knuckle-rap from Premier Iemma.
Joe Tripodi. The NSW Minister for Energy, Ports and Waterways is under the microscope over an “obscure, non-profit club” headed by his friends and associates which could gain millions of dollars from a new town centre he has promoted for Prairiewood, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Bryan Green. The former Tasmanian Deputy Premier is notable for the extent of his form change. From most likely to be Premier to most likely to win the sleaze stakes, this strong favourite’s been facing court over charges of conspiracy and interfering with an executive officer alongside a former Labor minister and his senior adviser.
Len Kiely. While most ministers are keeping their noses clean up the top end, the former NT Deputy Speaker was forced to resign mid-year after allegedly telling a 61-year-old woman that “I have a very long tongue and I could use it on you and make you a very happy woman”. He’d been drinking in the government corporate box at the Top End Cricket Series match. Lots of fun, but not a winning entrant.