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Crikey Says

Apr 16, 2014

Crikey says: ICAC's extraordinary, inadvertent scalp

A bottle of wine, a thank you note, a premier gone. Did Barry O'Farrell have to walk? Bernard Keane, and the words that trapped the premier. Fact-checking the latest coal spruik, plus Clive Hamilton's fresh Dirty Dozen. The real Badgerys Creek dilemma -- fuel. At the launch of ANZ's new "newsroom". And the Packer dynasty (and long-lost son).


The Independent Commission Against Corruption was supposed to expose corruption in the Labor Party. The biggest scalps have been two Liberals. Today came the biggest of all.

Three years ago, Premier Barry O’Farrell received a bottle of wine from party fundraiser (and ICAC star) Nick Di Girolamo. O’Farrell personally penned a thank you note. He didn’t remember that yesterday; he still doesn’t today. But now we have the letter. O’Farrell, foreseeing a scandal his government may never have freed itself from, fell on his sword.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this morning:

“We are seeing an act of integrity, an act of honour, the like of which we have rarely seen in Australian politics. I admire him tremendously for this …”

It’s hard not to agree. O’Farrell is at best forgetful, at worst inept. The sins of some who have taken the stand at ICAC are far worse.

But O’Farrell had no scapegoat and too much to lose. And so the fog descends on Macquarie Street once more.


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18 thoughts on “Crikey says: ICAC’s extraordinary, inadvertent scalp

  1. Bill Hilliger

    ICAC was setup by the Liberals to rightfully expose spivs like Obeid et al and of course at the embarrass Labor as much as possible. Well as the saying goes: dig a hole to trap someone else and fall in it yourself in this instance has been poetic. So far ICAC has worked wonders for Labor, it has been instrumental in the downfall of two liberal party spivs Arthur (I know nuffing, and I cant recall) Sinodinos and now Barry (a memory fail moment) O’Farrel. What a catch! Yes Veronica, truth is stranger than fiction. The big question asked at an Abbott media conference is the current NSW government corrupt did to say the least get right up Mr Abbotts nose.

  2. Jaybuoy

    Listening to Abbott you would think Barry was Sydney Carlton.. Abbott needs to be very worried about his Union corruption inquiry jumping the fire break and becoming uncontrollable..

  3. Stephanie

    “at best forgetful, at worse inept”
    Really? Surely at worst he has lied to ICAC to cover up corrupt actions. Perhaps it was just the acceptance of the gift, perhaps something more. I wonder what he was referring to in his note when he underlined “all” in “Thanks for all your support”

  4. katas

    The PM obviously thinks that there must be one rule for members of his party and a totally differing rule for all others. “We must act with “decency” What is the ” decency” he is talking about?? Are childless female members of the NLP described as “barren” The Un Australian has showered innuendo,abuse and scorn on all members of opposing parties with no mention of “decency”,and Christian decent Mr Abbott has sat back and lapped it all up. Hipocrite and Humbug.

  5. katas

    Love the Sydney Carlton! Perhaps the wine was corked? I am simply going to sit here with my knitting and enjoy the show. Hark I hear the tumbrels.

  6. klewso

    You see the rorts some of your colleagues are getting away with, what’s “an apple or two”?

  7. Electric Lardyland

    It’s a bizarre world, isn’t it? Where Barry O’Farrell, who does seem to have had a genuine memory lapse resigns. But Tony Abbott, who long ago seems to have lost the ability to tell the truth, is still PM. And where Arthur Sinodinos, who seems to have blatantly lied about memory lapses to a Royal Commission, will probably back on the front bench in a couple of months time.

  8. Jaybuoy

    three thousand in a brown paper bag or a wooden box and a fortnightly phone call from Eddies bagmanis Askin for trouble…..

  9. David Hand

    The statement that ICAC “was supposed to expose corruption in the Labor Party)is not correct. It suggests that the inquiry is party political.

    I concede that there was clear evidence of corruption within NSW Labor that needed to be exposed and rooted out but the inquiry was not and should not be party political. O’Farrell and Sinodinos both did things that deserve their resignations. That Sinodinos has merely “stood aside” is no credit to him.

    But he won’t be back.

  10. Gratton Wilson

    Barry O’Farrell received a gift of a $3000.00 article from a person who he had been careful to assert was not a “friend” but more an aquaintance with whom he might exchange pleasantries at public functions, he did not declare this expensive gift though he was not ignorant of its cost. This was not a bottle of wine that you or I would pick up at the bottleshop on the way home. He did not declare having received this expensive gift and when questioned was adamant that he had not received it, that his wife had not received it, he was probably away from home at the time the wine was delivered if that had ever happened blah blah blah, he kept on denying having accepted such a gift, insisting that there was no bottle of wine. You’d think that such an expensive gift would be remembered, particularly from a “mere aquaintance” – (unless you frequently received expensive gifts from people you hardly knew) until the absolute proof was produced that he was not telling the truth. If this thank you for the present letter had not been produced Barry O’Farrell could have toughed it out and claimed to be our very own Mr Clean. That he is being presented as a hero tells us a very great deal more about those people than about Barry O’Farrell.

  11. Bill Hilliger

    Just heard David Spears the muppet fronting Sky News PM Agenda refer to the ICAC enquiry as a ‘star chamber’. My, how media attitudes change when things don’t go the way they’re planned.

  12. Malcolm Street

    Gratton – my thoughts exactly… Or is he so used to drinking $3k bottles of wine that this one didn’t register? 😉

  13. zut alors

    Even if O’Farrell was accustomed to regularly receiving $3K bottles of wine, if someone had put in the extra effort to personalise the vintage to his year of birth, surely that would stick in his memory.

  14. CML

    Could someone with spare cash send the rAbbott a $3000 bottle of wine please?
    Since he only has half a brain, perhaps he will forget about it in around three MONTHS!!!!!

  15. klewso

    There’s another funny aspect to this :-
    [The timing of the “return” of a “donation” from AWH to Manuel Newman’s Limited News Party, about the time “Arfur Daley” Sinodinos was caught in the spot-light? Because before that embarrassing incident – with the spotlight swirling around Labor – apparently such a thing wasn’t an issue?]

  16. klewso

    And talk about “born to rule glass jaw”?
    Remembering Toady’s alacrity and dexterity when it comes to wielding a trowel when it comes to smears, didn’t he burr up at the suggestion of that “madam(????)” when she raised the spectre of that “smear” of corruption?

  17. AR

    ICAC was indeed set up to harry the ALP after the excesses under Nifty and the early 80s – Chief Allegator at the time, Kermit was the first victim which brings us to the old axiom (cariously attributed to Fred Daly/John Bj-P) “never set up an enquiry until you are sure of the answer”.
    There is no question that the Bribes R/C will burn some very fat fingers in the BigArsed end of town if allowed to proceed wherever the evidence leads.
    Bring lotsa popcorn, or better yet, knitting & larger wicker baskets.
    O’Farrell’s continuing denial of recollection even after identifying his handwriting could be simply a brazen attempt to play the “senior moment” card or he may be, like Reagan, getting an early onset warning.
    But kudos for resigning – if only he weren’t Robinson Crusoe.

  18. Cheryl Jorgensen

    Perhaps the $3,000 bottle should be labelled “Clayton’s Grange”—the Grange you’re drinking when you’re not having a drink. Or does it merely say something about the quality of the booze: not really all that memorable.


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