Thursday 28th of August 2014

giro dancing with one of them...


one of them

From the SMH...


Three months later an opening arose when corruption allegations forced the resignation of the now jailed union boss Michael Williamson, who had been appointed to the State Water Corporation in the last days of the Labor government by treasurer Eric Roozendaal.

Mr Baird and then finance minister Greg Pearce signed off on the appointment of Mr Di Girolamo to a three-year $100,000 directorship of State Water Corporation.

''[Mr Di Girolamo] has legal and water sector experience,'' the briefing note to Mr Baird states. ''He is currently a director of Australian Water Holdings and Chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry''.

Mr Di Girolamo began as a director of State Water Corporation in July 2012.

Two years earlier, in October 2010, AWH donated $10,000 to the campaign of the then opposition water spokeswoman Katrina Hodgkinson, a Nationals MP who holds the rural seat of Burrinjuck - hundreds of kilometres from north-west Sydney.

After the 2011 election Ms Hodgkinson was appointed water minister with responsibility for State Water Corporation. She has previously said the donation was made to the Nationals and not her personally. The Nationals have since announced they would return the donation.

For weeks leading up to his resignations this week, the former premier has done his utmost to distance himself from Mr Di Girolamo, but a Herald investigation paints a different picture.

As a result of the current sensational corruption inquiry, Mr Di Girolamo is a walking pestilence with politicians from both sides of the fence eager to dissociate themselves from the one-time head of AWH.

But it wasn't always like that. Although he vehemently denied under oath receiving the $3000 bottle of wine Mr Di Girolamo sent him on April 20, 2011, a handwritten thank-you note from Mr O'Farrell confirmed he had not told the truth.

Apart from thanking Mr Di Girolamo for the "wonderful wine", Mr O'Farrell also thanked him for ''all [underlined twice] your support.'' That support included a successful fund-raising dinner hosted by Mr Di Girolamo at the five-star restaurant Rockpool in early December 2010, only months before the election. AWH, which was by now one-third owned by the family of corrupt former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, tipped in $30,000 for this event.

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the end of pissing in each others pockets...????...


New South Wales premier Mike Baird says in hindsight it was a mistake to appoint lobbyist Nick Di Girolamo to a state-owned corporation three years ago but it was endorsed by the cabinet.

Baird, a self-proclaimed republican, spoke to media in Manly on his first full day in the job as NSW premier just hours before meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

He reaffirmed his commitment to introduce reforms around lobbyists and political parties but did not go into detail about the changes he is considering.

“I have been clear there was an independent panel who put together some recommendations, spoke about the suitability of candidates, that candidate has gone to cabinet and the cabinet has made the decision,” he said when asked about the appointment of Di Girolamo to State Water Corporation in 2011.

“Was that decision right? In hindsight, clearly not. Did people know what was transpiring? No they did not. And that was the basis that decision was made.”

Opposition leader John Robertson has used comments by former Liberal minister Ross Cameron to attack Baird over the Liberal party’s relationship with lobbyists.

Baird responded to the attack but did not give any details on the reforms he is considering.

“In relation to the reforms we are doing, if you want to be serious about reforms, have a look at your own party, I certainly will be undertaking some reforms as part of this government, I believe the community has strong trust in the government and the actions it has taken over the past three years but we need to enhance them,” he said.

“The community has spoken on donations and lobbyists and we will be responding. It is critical.”


The community has not loudly "spoken" on political donations, gifts and lobbyists yet... The ICAC exposed the tip of an iceberg about what the lobbyists, the political parties and the governments are up to... Then the MMMM has been up in arms about the way pollies and lobbyists have been pissing in each other's pocket, thus making the community raise its shoulders in a "so what's new?"-motion.

I am waiting for Nick Di Girolamo to gift a "clean skin" vino to the new premier... I know some label-less good Shiraz...


at least, he is a republican, is he not?...


At least the Guardian has the balls to let it rip into the Manly boy... (for international readers, Manly is a pleasant North Shore suburb of Sydney, with a few nice beaches...)



Meanwhile, Mike wants to sell the public hospitals...


Premier Mike Baird wants to push ahead with the privatisation of public hospitals, saying Sydney's dilapidated health facilities are in need of upgrading.

The privatisation model used in Western Australia, where non-clinical staff were privately employed and public hospitals were privately built and managed, could provide a ''fantastic opportunity'' to give NSW patients the best services, he said.

"Don't be afraid of the private sector." 

Mr Baird said he was concerned by the ageing of NSW's health facilities. ''The quality of doctors and nurses is world-class and they need world-class facilities,'' he said.

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As the NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird apparently SLASHED public hospital funding... because, you've guessed it, Tony Abbott's regime has cut the health cash allocation for New South Wales... but of course they (Baird and Abbott regimes) blamed Labor for the short fall... While Tony spends twice as much on looking for a plane junked in the Indian Ocean.
"Delapidated" is a far too big word for the new premier and one that really does not fit the premier state hospital system... Sure there might be a few country towns in which public hospitals need a bit of "refreshing"... Most of Sydney hospitals are top notch and are running well. The hospital in Sydney which might need some tweaking is on the North Shore, near Mike Baird's and Tony Abbott's electorate, the Mona Vale Hospital, which was brand new in 1964 and seen little improvement, apart from new and latest technical health-fixing equipment. It's possible, though I don't know, that this hospital be asbestos-cement riddled (it was one of building materials of choice then) or has concrete cancer (common in buildings of that era), thus should one start to fiddle with the building, it may need to be demolished...

If you believe that privatisation of public hospital will give you a better chance to be a public patient in the system, you are likely to be HIGHLY disappointed AND out of pocket as well...
Be afraid. very afraid of privatisation of public hospital.
One cannot dismiss though that some private/public ventures have occurred and are running well in say the Mater and the St Vincent Hospitals. Kerry Packer, the ultimate privateer, for example GAVE many millions of dollars to PUBLIC hospitals including the RPA to develop special operating theatres and new wings dealing with private but especially PUBLIC patients... Kerry GAVE the money away. There was a nun at St Vincent whom Kerry "feared most" of all people. Every time she rang him it would cost him a couple of millions in generous donations... (I do not know James Packer relationship with donations to the NSW hospital system). Kerry Packer was famous for having also given all the cash to fund the "Packer-Wackers", the "heart zappers" which now equip most of Sydney ambulances. 

The pigs of privatisation are flying pass the RPA (the "Royal Public Asylum", I jest) at the moment... Now do the sums. Why would "private" enterprise invest in money-losing venture? Somewhere somehow some time the "investors" would have to cash in. Thus the losing-money part of the public hospital would stay public and lose heaps more money, while the "profitable" sections of public hospital would be more and more in private hands, leading to some possible lobby shenanigans AND LESS MONEY FOR PUBLIC PATIENTS sections eventually. A losing proposition...

Are the NSW hospitals so badly run, they can be "improved" by better "private" administration? Nupe. Thus somehow, the idea of private/public hospitals is likely to include "deal making' between health funds, doctors, lobbyists and hospitals. Hum... Can I see some opportunity to corrupt the public health system big time? Yes I can... and to the point where public health care — which has a good solid public implementation and history in this country — would be totally "privatised" like that in the USA and cost heaps to patients... er, sorry, "clients".

No wonder that Obama is trying hard to get the "Obama Care" public system through... and no wonder that the private sector is fighting tooth and nails... Because once you've lost the "public" system, there is no chance of grabbing it back, even in "war time".
No. Mike, NO. PUBLIC HOSPITALS SHOULD REMAIN IN PUBLIC HANDS. Work your little butt to make sure.

And by the way, successive NSW government have tried to close down the Mona Vale Hospital and the Manly hospital to sell the land to "developers" and build a new "better" hospital somewhere else. See both hospitals are on prime real estate with "oceans views", that would fetch enough cash to build thirty new schmick hospitals in country towns plus the new hospital on the North Shore. But the residents (mostly rich weather wafties) do not want to sell their "public" hospitals... And that's fair enough. So as Mike Baird — the Manly boy — wants to sell the public hospitals to private enterprise, this might confuse the North Shore residents as  — OH — I can see it now, in order to make cash for the investors, the magical open space around the Mona Vale Hospital would get "sold off" to developers to pay for the hospital, until there would not be land to be sold off... I can see it. It has been in the books for a while, but fiercely resisted by the locals...

and he wants to privatise the electricity supply...

Watch out for flying pigs, the new NSW premier says electricity prices will go down after privatisation. Lachlan Barker does the sums.

The new premier of NSW, Mike Baird, has not wasted any time.

He wants to start making money as fast as possible.

And the biggest fat pay cheque of them all is selling the NSW power grid, netting him and his cronies a cool thirty billion.

On Saturday, the 19th of April Baird said this to the Daily Telegraph:

"I'd say look at the facts. The facts show very clearly that electricity costs in Victoria since privatisation have been lower ...

"They have been lower, you can't dispute that and yes there would be a big scare campaign about this."

Well Mr Baird, I've got an issue with all three sentences you have uttered above.


"I'd say look at the facts."

I have, and you're gonna see the results of my researches in word and picture.


"The facts show very clearly that electricity costs in Victoria since privatisation have been lower."

They are not.,6403

playing musical chair with no fanfare for some...


The sacking of Mr Smith as Attorney-General will be seen as a victory for law-and-order hardliners who have been critical of his support for bail law reform and vocal opposition to mandatory sentencing.

Last year Mr Smith, a former deputy director of public prosecutions, declared mandatory sentencing was an ''ineffective crime fighting tool''. Mandatory minimum sentences were a centrepiece of the government's response to alcohol related violence in February but have been blocked by the upper house.

Ms Parker - a surprise choice as environment minister by former Premier Barry O'Farrell after the 2011 election - has had a chequered time as Environment Minister, most recently drawing criticism over the controversial draft masterplan for the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain.

The promotion of Mr Stokes, a parliamentary secretary for renewable energy, indicates he may be in line to take on the environment portfolio.

Mr Perrottet, a leading rightwinger, is chair of the Parliament's legal affairs committee but not expected to be made attorney-general. There was speculation Planning Minister Brad Hazzard may be given the role.

Community services minister Pru Goward will take on planning. Sports minister Gabrielle Upton is tipped to take over community services.

The promotion of Mr Rowell, who is government Whip, will be seen as as another nod to the party's right faction which had been pushing for better cabinet representation than existed under Mr O'Farrell.

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see also: 


a "lefty" in this Liberal (CONservative) party is like a colonel in the Genghis Khan army...


Yes, they want to turn new South Wales into a laura norder state like Queensland with jack boots and ultra right wingnut policies... Be afraid, very afraid...

laura norder becomes pregnant after being fuc&#d (raped)...


The state opposition has warned of a "law and order auction" after the Baird government axed the department of the Attorney-General and brought it under the control of the police minister.

Under a shake-up of departments by new Premier Mike Baird, announced on Wednesday, the Department of Attorney-General and Justice has been replaced with the Department of Police and Justice.

The department is headed by Police Minister Mike Gallacher, who is more senior in the hierarchy of ministers than new Attorney-General Brad Hazzard, formerly the planning minister.

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heritage becomes the poor orphan brother...


‘The new role of secretary will have wider responsibilities, serving three ministers (planning, environment and heritage and local government), and will be filled through a competitive merit selection process.

‘The government thanks the former director-general, Mr Sam Haddad, for his sustained and substantial long-term service to the state.”

The opposition's planning spokesman, Luke Foley, said Mr Haddad had become a scapegoat for the government's failure to pass its planning bill.

"Meanwhile, Brad Hazzard moves on to become the state's Attorney-General despite the unmitigated disaster of his attempt to deliver the state a new planning act," Mr Foley said.

"I don't think the public servant should have to pay the price for what was a political shambles."

The environment portfolio has existed inside the Department of Premier and Cabinet since the O'Farrell government abolished the Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water soon after it came to power in 2011.

Mr Foley said the new department structure meant "any voice for environmental protection will be muzzled by the government's 'development at all costs' mindset when it comes to planning policy.

"There should be a stand-alone environment department so that there can be a robust voice within the NSW government for environmental protection," he said.

It was a view echoed by Greens MP John Kaye, who nonetheless said there would be communities celebrating the departure of Mr Haddad.

''Our concern is that Pru Goward will use this opportunity to make the office of the secretary compliant to her will,'' he said.

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more ICAC liberal (conservative) road kill...

A fourth NSW government MP has stood down from the Liberal party as new allegations surfaced in a corruption inquiry.

On the opening day of the latest Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac) inquiry, it was claimed the Liberal upper house MP Marie Ficarra took a banned $5,000 donation from a property developer, Tony Merhi.

Ficarra has voluntarily stepped aside after being asked to do so by the premier, Mike Baird.

A spokesman for Ficarra said she “strenuously denies” the allegations.

“Her record against part 3a of the Environmental Planning Assessment Act against overdevelopment and lobbyists and speaking out against corruption is well documented in the parliament’s Hansard,” he said.

“She has voluntarily stood down from the parliamentary Liberal party and as parliamentary secretary to the premier pending the conclusion of the Icac hearing.”

Liberal MPs Darren Webber, Chris Spence and a former minister, Chris Hartcher, have already been suspended from the party.

The inquiry has heard NSW Liberal figures used a sham company to secretly funnel more than $400,000 in donations to prospective MPs and associates in exchange for favours.

"This inquiry will expose the systematic subversion of the electoral funding laws of NSW," counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson, told Icac as the Operation Spicer hearings began.

more ICAC liberal (conservative) "shocking" dirty washing...

Premier Mike Baird has ordered an urgent audit of hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations made to the NSW Liberal party before the last state election, declaring he is "shocked and appalled" at evidence of illegal payments aired at a corruption inquiry.

On Monday, the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard a "substantial" portion of $700,000 donated to the NSW Liberals before the March 2011 election came from illegal sources, including property developers who have been banned from donating in NSW since December 2009.

"I am shocked and appalled at the allegations raised in today’s opening statement at ICAC," Mr Baird said in a statement.


Mr Baird also revealed Liberal party fund-raiser and hotels lobbyist Paul Nicolaou had resigned as chairman of the party's chief fund-raising body, the Millennium Forum. Mr Nicolaou has also gone on indefinite "personal leave" from his day job as chief executive of the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association.

The ICAC has heard that Mr Nicolaou was complicit in a scheme to disguise illegal donations to the NSW Liberals via another entity, the Free Enterprise Foundation.

Mr Baird said he had told newly appointed NSW Liberal state director Tony Nutt to "investigate the allegations made at ICAC and respond to them promptly – including by dealing with any payments that have been made to the party in contravention of the law".

"I want to assure the people of NSW that, as Premier, I intend to overhaul the political culture of NSW so that the wrongdoings that have been uncovered in a series of recent ICAC investigations will never happen again," Mr Baird said.

Earlier, NSW Energy Minister Anthony Roberts defended his failure to declare a holiday he took on a yacht owned by a prominent property developer in 2007, after receiving advice he was not required to advise the Parliament of the holiday.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption heard on Monday that Mr Roberts had holidayed with former energy minister Chris Hartcher on the Octavia, a yacht owned by late shopping centre developer Nabil Gazal.


In his address to the ICAC on Monday morning, Mr Watson said some donations under scrutiny were "merely an attempt to buy access to politicians, and the size of their donation is no more than [the donor's] best guess at the price to purchase a politician's attention".

The money was channelled into Eightbyfive, an alleged slush fund set up by Mr Hartcher's former adviser Tim Koelma, which was allegedly used to pay salaries to prospective central coast MPs Chris Spence and Darren Webber.

Embattled coal mogul Nathan Tinkler's Patinack Farm horse stud paid $66,000 to Eightbyfive.

Gazcorp, the proponent of the controversial Orange Grove shopping centre development in Liverpool, paid $137,000 to the fund, while the Obeid-linked infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings paid $183,000.

Orange Grove was given the green light after the Liberal Party won the state election.

The inquiry heard that Mr Hartcher was close to Gazcorp directors Nabil and Nicholas Gazal, the sons of the late Sydney businessman Nabil Gazal.

"Mr Hartcher was wont to holiday aboard the Gazals' yacht Octavia at Hamilton Island," Mr Watson said.

The inquiry heard that in 2007, Mr Roberts also sailed the Whitsundays with Mr Hartcher and the Gazals.

Mr Roberts took over as energy minister after Mr Hartcher resigned following an ICAC raid of his office last year.

Mr Watson said Mr Hartcher "repeatedly granted favours" to Australian Water Holdings and Buildev, which is controlled by Mr Tinkler.

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I am shocked that Mike Baird is shocked... As if he never asked where the money to supply oxygen to the liberal (CONservative) party came from?... Is it the don't ask and you don't get told protocol? A bit blind for someone now is Baird postion... Ah, I know he was the kid who wanted to make "voluntary redundancy compulsory"...
Meanwhile the Catholic Ultra-Right is now well entrenched in the liberal (CONservative) New South Wales regime. If one thing is open for corruption of democracy, it's the way the christians have their hands on the affairs of this secular state. We shall see when "conscience" is called upon or even before, should common scientific sense be in need of support. The Catholics in the Labor ranks would be appalled at the Santamaria-zation of this country...

a corrupt scheme to funnel illegal donations...


The New South Wales police and justice minister, Mike Gallacher, "hatched a corrupt scheme" to funnel illegal donations to the Liberal [conservative] party using a sham business, a corruption inquiry has heard.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac) has been told that Gallacher and Darren Williams, a development manager at Nathan Tinkler's Newcastle property developer, Buildev, together devised a scheme to make payments to a fake political consulting agency, Eightbyfive, which would be passed on to the Liberal party in contravention of electoral fundraising laws.

The payments were made by Tinkler's stud farm, Patinack Farm, to Eightbyfive, an entity set up by an associate of the sacked former NSW energy minister, Chris Hartcher.

The commission was shown an email sent by Williams to another Buildev executive, David Sharpe, asking: "Which entity will I give Mike Gallagher (sic)?"

Sharpe replied: "Ask Nathan as I think it's best to come from Patinack to get right away from property mining infrastructure."

Donations from property developers such as Buildev to NSW political parties had been banned since 2009.

Williams said he could not recall what the email was about.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson, SC, then put to him: “It was between the two of you [Williams and Gallacher] that you hatched a corrupt scheme to make political donations to the Liberal party using the Eightbyfive business, didn’t you?”

“No,” he replied.

“Well I can tell you by the end of this you’ll regret having given that answer,” Watson said.

Gallacher's barrister attempted to stop the proceedings, saying his client had not had advance warnings that the allegations would be made. Gallacher wanted the opportunity to inform the NSW premier, Mike Baird, that he would be named at the inquiry, his barrister said.

Watson said the information implicating Gallacher was received by Icac on Thursday afternoon, and was sufficiently serious that the commission would have to eventually adjourn to investigate further.




Premier Mike Baird says police minister Mike Gallacher had to resign after he was caught up in a corruption inquiry into cash-for-favours.

In a development that sent shockwaves through the Baird government, the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard on Friday that Mr Gallacher was intimately involved in setting up a scheme for Buildev to pay tens of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to a Liberal Party slush fund.

Mr Baird said in a statement that he had accepted Mr Gallacher’s resignation from the ministry and made it clear that Mr Gallacher could not just stand aside temporarily.

"I make no judgment regarding those allegations. However, it could take considerable time for them to be resolved, and this would constitute an unacceptable distraction for my government.

"We need to be completely focused on delivering results for the community."

Mike Gallacher said on Friday afternoon he was unsure of the exact nature of the allegation against him and the first he had learnt of it was when he stepped off the parade ground at the Goulburn police academy following an attestation ceremony on Friday morning.

‘‘I have spent my entire professional life fighting corruption and crime. I am disappointed that this allegation has been made and the manner in which it came to be made but it will be dealt with through the processes of ICAC."

The inquiry was shown on Friday June 2010 emails in which Buildev executives Darren Williams and David Sharpe discussed which company should be used to funnel the illegal donations into the slush fund, a ‘‘sham business’’ called Eightbyfive set up by a staffer to former Liberal minister Chris Hartcher.

‘‘Which entity will I give Mike Gallacher?’’ Mr Williams asked Mr Sharpe.

Mr Sharpe replied: ‘‘Ask Nathan as I think it’s best to come through Patnack [Patinack Farm, Mr Tinkler’s horse racing business] get right away from property minning [sic] infrastructure.’’

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we know "plenty of stuff"...

"You know that you can go to jail for giving false evidence," threatened Mr Watson. "This is your big chance, Mr Williams, to give this an innocent complexion."

When Mr Williams said he "honestly" could not recall the contents of an email about the Eightbyfive scheme, Mr Watson suggested that the ICAC had information which might help him.

He then sensationally put to Mr Williams: "The truth is you had a close, long-standing personal connection with the [then] shadow minister, Mike Gallacher. It was through him that the two of you hatched a corrupt scheme to make donations to the Liberal Party using the Eightbyfive business, correct?"

"No," Mr Williams said.

"By the end of this you are going to regret giving that answer," Mr Watson said. "We don't go off half-cocked. We don't put something as serious to you as this without knowing plenty of stuff.''

Operation Spicer, the inquiry into Liberal Party slush funds, started public hearings on Monday and had been slated to run for up to four weeks.

The inquiry has previously heard Mr Hartcher did favours "repeatedly" for Buildev, which paid $66,000 into the Eightbyfive slush fund.

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