George Newhouse was back on the hustings in Wentworth over the weekend, claiming that he had been cleared of any problems involving the timing of his nomination for the high profile seat.
He cited legal advice from Sydney QC, John McCarthy, no stranger to controversy and the ALP.
He is very well connected to the ALP machine and a close friend of former Premier Bob Carr, representing the former NSW premier several times, including during the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into the messy Orange Grove Affair in late 2004 and early 2005.
You would have to be well connected and a major mate to be entrusted with that gig.
And McCarthy has the most plum position that a NSW Government can hand out: he’s a trustee of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust. It’s the best perk in Sydney and McCarthy is in good company: former ALP Minister Rodney Cavalier is chairman and other trustees include former public servant Michael Eyers, Test cricketer Geoff Lawson, Alan Jones, and Rod McGeoch, the former head of the Sydney Olympic Committee.
So McCarthy is the legal beagle the ALP goes to for tricky legal work and definitive opinions, but whether his advice clears Newhouse is another thing. It’s only an opinion, not a finding of fact.
Malcolm Turnbull was on Radio National this morning going on about Newhouse and his nomination. He was also on ABC local radio in Sydney a bit later, still talking about that issue and a poll in the Sydney Morning Herald, which suggests the combined green vote will undo him.
Turnbull told listeners they could vote green, and give their second preference to him.
It still sounds like a Newhouse win will end up in the Court of Disputed Returns: a challenge is open to any voter in Wentworth. That would test the worth of McCarthy’s opinion.