Morris Iemma … on his way to front the corruption inquiry. Nathan Rees … one of two former NSW premiers to appear at the ICAC inquiry today.
Former premiers Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees have told a corruption inquiry that Upper House MP Eddie Obeid, together with former minister Joe Tripodi, effectively controlled the Parliamentary wing of the Labor party in NSW.
Mr Iemma and Mr Rees are giving evidence before an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry examining a series of coal exploration licences issued by former mining minister Ian Macdonald which, it alleges, conferred millions of dollars in profits on the Obeid family.
Both men said they would have expected the kind of decisions being taken by Mr Macdonald – to restrict invitations to a major coal mining tender and to not advertise its existence – to have been brought to cabinet or one of its sub-committees, something which Mr Macdonald failed to do.
Mr Rees said the first time he knew that Mr Obeid had a property which would collect a windfall gain from one of these coal leases was when he read about it in the Australian Financial Review.
Geoffrey Watson, SC, counsel assisting, asked Mr Iemma: “Because the [Obeid led] Terrigals could dominate the right wing caucus and the right wing caucus could dominate the whole of the caucus, it in effect gave the Terrigals a disproportionate control over the decisions of the Parliamentary party?”
“Yes,” Mr Iemma said. Mr Rees later agreed with this proposition.
Famously, when Mr Rees was removed as premier by his own party he gave a speech warning that his replacement would be a “puppet” of both Mr Obeid and Mr Tripodi.
Both former premiers told the ICAC that Mr Obeid lobbied intensively to have the former planning minister, Frank Sartor, removed and replaced by Mr Macdonald. Mr Obeid told them, they said, that Mr Sartor was giving insufficient attention to property development “proponents”.
It has been revealed before ICAC that the Obeid family had extensive property dealings across Sydney and the state during the period in which Mr Obeid was in Parliament.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.