New South Wales doesn’t need another AFL team — its government provides more than enough in the way of spectator sport.
The news that Health Minister John Della Bosca has resigned over a sex scandal involving a 26-year-old woman comes in similar spectacular style to the self-destructions of Della Bosca’s Labor counterparts in recent years.
Look no further than the ill-fated leadership of former Premier Morris Iemma.
First came Milton Orkopoulos, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier on Citizenship, who was sacked by Iemma in 2006 over police charges relating to sexual assault of a minor and drug offences. Orkopoulos was later found guilty of 28 offences and sentenced to nearly 14 years in jail.
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Then there was the Jakarta Governor incident in a Sydney hotel room. Iemma was moved to send a letter of apology to Governor Sutiyoso of Jakarta after police apparently made their way into Sutiyoso’s hotel room while he was asleep in order to get him to testify at an inquest regarding the Balibo five. Governor Sutiyoso was an Indonesian army captain who served in the 1975 invasion of East Timor.
Then there was the saga surrounding the decrepit state of the Royal North Shore Hospital , followed by Wollongong Council’s ‘sex-for-development’ scandal, and his government’s scrapping of Sydney’s T-card project at the beginning of last year — which cost taxpayers $95 million.
After being forced out of his position as Premier a year ago, scandals and apologies seem to be Iemma’s lasting legacy. But his embattled Labor benefactors appear to be carrying on his legacy.
Della Bosca was already tainted last year by ‘Iguanagate’, another in this long line of sagas politically-explosive enough to be deemed appropriate to use the suffix ‘gate’ when making reference to it in conversation.
Premier Nathan Rees was under immense pressure leading up to this morning’s scheduled caucus meeting which was touted as a Don King-style heavyweight showdown between Rees, Della Bosca and Planning Minister Kristina Keneally. But Della Bosca has today, ahem, fallen on his own sword.
As Iemma learns to walk again after his physically paralysing battle with encephalitis, so too does his old party as they struggle to regain — or perhaps simply gain — balance as this latest symptom of internal unrest hits the New South Wales Government.