(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

Despite New South Wales' long history of corruption -- from its earliest years through to the dark days of the Askin and Wran governments and into the Obeid era -- in recent decades both sides of politics, and especially the Liberal Party, have pursued some strong anti-corruption measures -- sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes reluctantly.

Nick Greiner established ICAC. John Fahey established the police royal commission. Nathan Rees, for all his flaws, overhauled political donations and banned donations from property developers. Barry O'Farrell tried to ban corporate and union donations altogether but was defeated by the unions in the High Court. Mike Baird introduced a requirement ministerial meeting diaries to be published. Gladys Berejiklian introduced local planning panels to replace the incessantly corrupt local government planning approval process, which continues to function across Sydney today (despite attempts by local governments to paint them as pro-developer).

In all that time the only reform to provide greater transparency or curb corruption at the federal level was Kevin Rudd reestablishing a requirement for a lobbyist register. John Faulkner tried to improve political donations laws but was defeated by the Coalition. The only other reform of note was the Howard government reducing, not increasing, the transparency of political donations.