AN INQUIRY into the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, a corruption finding against a NSW Maritime lawyer and, to top it off, the resignation of a cabinet minister who admitted accessing adult and gambling websites on his parliamentary computer.
Even by the standards of the eternally scandal-ridden Labor government, yesterday was a bad day for public administration in NSW.
But, of course, it doesn’t end there. The Director of Public Prosecutions is considering whether to bring charges against a former Labor MP and parliamentary secretary, Karyn Paluzzano, over rorting her public expenses and lying to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about it.
Next week, the commission will launch public hearings into two separate cases involving employees of the Sydney Water corporation.
And on and on it goes. The resignation of four ministers this year. This is the state of NSW, just seven months out from an election.
The government is drowning in the polls. Only a week ago Kristina Keneally warned her troops to find some discipline before the election in March. Paul McLeay, it appears, was their response.But what is wrong goes much wider than the behaviour of the Keneally government’s MPs.
The fact is that around Parliament, in the pubs and at the football, people are referring to the government as corrupt.
Not in the sense of any particular minister or public servant, mind you. They are disparaging the whole system, from top to bottom, as riddled with self interest, opportunism and rorting of the public purse.
Former independent state MP John Hatton who announced yesterday he would stand as a independent candidate for the Legislative Council, uses the word with conviction. ”We live in a corrupt state,” his media release stated.
To a fair-minded person, it is a statement that should be treated with some scepticism.
Then again, Hatton should know, as he is credited with forcing the royal commission into the NSW Police Service.
”Open, accountable government, a level playing field for all business, freedom of information, ethical, impartial decision making in key areas simply does not exist in NSW,” Hatton declared. He has come out of retirement to tackle his old enemy. It’s as if he can smell it.