A slim chance still remains that the NSW Legislative Council will form a committee of inquiry into the political cover-up preceding the arrest of former Aboriginal Affairs Minister Milton Orkopoulos and the scapegoating of his electorate office worker Gillian Sneddon who blew the whistle to police on his secret life.
When parliament resumes next week, Upper House president Peter Primrose will rule on whether the establishment of a committee is in breach of sub judice rules.
This followed a claim by Labor MPs that Sneddon had a court action on foot against the parliament for compensation and therefore any plans for a committee should be shelved.
In fact, Sneddon has merely rejected an offer of $100,000 from the Speaker, Richard Torbay, and is considering her legal options.
Primrose, an upright and level-headed MP who is a stickler for the conventions, will not easily be heavied by senior ministers from his own government who are desperate to kick the Coalition’s call for an inquiry into touch.
A list of witnesses are waiting to be called to tell their side of the Orkopoulos saga. They include:
- Gillian Sneddon who was sacked by her employer, the Legislative Assembly, after she confidentially informed senior parliamentary officers that she was cooperating with the police in their pedophile inquiries;
- Ben Blackburn, one of Orkopoulos’s victims who now works for the anti-pedophile action group Bravehearts, who has publicly claimed there has been a political cover-up;
- Paul O’Grady, ex-chief of staff to former tourism minister Sandra Nori, who would testify about the alleged Orkopoulos warning given to Premier Morris Iemma by his longtime political friend David Tierney of Multiplex;
- Bryce Gaudry, the former Newcastle Labor MP, who first learned of Orkopoulos’s s-xual depravities in 2005 but was assured by Orkopoulos that he had informed the police and the inquiry was closed.
Any upper house investigation would be the first opportunity to discover the “who knew what and when” of the Orkopoulos affair which has resulted in his conviction on 28 under age s-x and drug offences and his jailing for 13 years.
Blackburn told Crikey: “Personally, as a victim of Orkopoulos, I want this Upper House inquiry to happen. I want it for myself and I want it so that the shocking treatment of Gillian Sneddon, as an employee of the NSW Parliament, is exposed for what it was.
“The victims deserve it, Gillian deserves it and the people who voted in good faith for this government deserve it.”
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Over to the Hon. President, Comrade Primrose, who resumes the chair next Tuesday.