NOW that former NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Milton Orkopoulos has been bundled off to the slammer for 13 years and 11 months on child s-x and drug offences, the focus shifts to Parliament House in Macquarie Street.

The Opposition has seized on the statement by one of Orkopoulos’s victims that there has been a political cover-up by the Labor Government and Coalition leader Barry O’Farrell is now demanding an upper house inquiry.

At issue is what ministers, backbenchers and parliamentary staff knew about Orkopoulos’s criminal behaviour, when were they aware of it, and what did they did with the information. The suspicion is that the vile depravities of “The Acropolis” were known but that it was all kept “in house”.

The other glaring issue is the scapegoating of whistleblower Gillian Sneddon, Orkopoulos’s electorate staffer who came forward to assist the police with their inquiries and lost her job as a result.

Shadow leader of the house Adrian Piccoli told Crikey: “We are proposing an inquiry because we cannot have a situation where victims feel there are issues not being addressed, and whistleblowers believe they are being persecuted.

“These people have suffered enough. They deserve some answers. There can be no justification for sweeping this under the carpet.”

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said her party would decide whether to support the establishment of a committee of inquiry after it had studied the terms of reference.

The Coalition requires the backing of the four Greens MPs, Rhiannon, Sylvia Hale, Ian Cohen and John Kaye, the two Christian Democrats, Fred Nile and Gordon Moyes, and two Shooters Party MPs, Bob Brown and Roy Smith, to carry the vote in support of an investigation which the ALP is desperate to avoid.

Meanwhile, Orkopoulos, 50, who resided in a flat in inner-city Redfern when he traveled to Sydney on parliamentary business, has been placed on suicide watch at the start of his sentence.

He will be held in a cell with a 24-hour-a-day closed circuit camera as a precaution against any attempt at self-harm.

The decision was taken in the light of Orkopoulos’s failed suicide attempt in November 2006, shortly after he was first charged with 30 offences of under-age s-x and supplying illegal drugs, including heroin and cannabis.

He is being held temporarily at Long Bay Jail before a transfer Lithgow or more probably Goulburn where he will be placed in the multi-purpose unit (MPU) or so-called “Baby Max” as opposed to the neighbouring “Super Max” which houses the State’s most dangerous criminals.

The MPU is a specialized jail within the main jail. It houses about 60 offendors who are kept in segregation cells or protection cells because they are at risk from other prisoners or are a risk to themselves.

One of Orkopoulos’s neighbours will be William Kamm, also known as “Little Pebble”, who is serving a seven and a half year sentence for the serious s-xual assault of girls in his breakaway Catholic cult called “Our Lady of the Ark”.

Kamm, who claims to be in direct contact with the Virgin Mary and has ambitions to become the last Pope, will make a fascinating companion for the former Cabinet minister who is an avowed atheist.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.