Some have described it as a train wreck in slow motion, some have described it as an utter disgrace, and others have seen it coming in the distance for a long time, whatever your thoughts the impact on the Liberal Party has been catastrophic.
I am speaking of course of the ongoing Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings that seem to claim more Liberal and National Party victims every week.
With so many Ministers, MP’s and even a Premier being forced to either step down or resign you would assume that the Party would take care when it came to appointing a new NSW Premier.
However that would be forgetting that this is the Liberal Party we are talking about.
Former Premier Barry O’Farrell resigned from the top job after misleading ICAC regarding his relationship with Nick Di Girolamo. This is a relationship that Mr O’Farrell had also been accused of misleading Parliament on several times.
After an agreement between Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian was reached, infuriating some of the factional players within the Liberal and National Parties, Mike Baird became Premier and in true Coalition style, the female runner, Berejiklian got to keep her job and nothing more.
No Deputy Premier role for Gladys because as Andrew Stoner is a member of the National Party he lands the Deputy role. Party politics wins out over credentials every time it seems.
This week in NSW Parliament the new Premier Mike Baird failed in Parliament to explain some donations to his campaign after he was grilled by the opposition.
This is exactly the type of thing that ICAC has been flushing out and exposing, and precisely what has seen many in his own Party resign over.
It is often known as electoral fraud.
Amongst those things Baird has failed or refused to explain were a donation that breached the electoral funding cap and comes from companies associated with Roger Massy-Greene.
This is significant because Mr Baird then awarded Roger Massy-Greene a lucrative consulting contract and he was also appointed to a Government board.
Something that is clearly not “above board”.
Documents from the Liberal Party have revealed that Mike Baird’s campaign received a donation of $5,000 on March 9, 2011 in breach of the state campaign cap from Eureka Capital Partners which is a company owned by Roger Massy-Greene.
Records have also revealed that on the same day Mr Baird received a further $5,000 from Duvose Pty Ltd which is also owned by Roger Massy-Greene.
Clearly Roger Massy-Greene was eager for his consulting contract and board appointment.
Jobs for the boys is what eventually cost disgraced NSW Finance Minister Greg Pearce his position as a Minister. Barry O’Farrell stood by Mr Pearce after he was drunk on the job and had to be virtually carried out of Parliament House, however the “jobs for the boys” scandal shortly after was considered to be unforgivable behaviour and he was sacked.
Mike Baird retaining his Premiership would show that he has less integrity than a drunken former Minister, and less honour than a disgraced former Premier who was guilty of misleading both parliament and ICAC.
The roles in which Mike Baird awarded his generous donor/financier Mr Massy-Greene were a $150,000 consulting contract for a measly three months’ work and an appointment as Chairman of Networks NSW. But not before Baird was kind enough to double the Networks NSW position’s salary to $200,000.
It’s nice to have friends in high places I guess.
In Parliament, the Labor Party also questioned why Mike Baird had failed to declare a single donation in his electoral return for the past seven years. It was as if he had received none at all.
The records paint a different picture to Mr Baird however showing 43 different donors have declared more than $170,000 worth of donations to his campaign.
Records can be seen via the below link.
The man who lost a billion dollars of taxpayers money must consider $170,000 running on empty based on his declarations, as he failed to find it worthy of declaring at all.
If Mike Baird holds himself to the same standards that he seems to hold everyone else to, he will do the decent thing and resign from the Premiers position.
I use the word decent as if Baird resigns as many are calling for we can expect to hear the word “honourable” touted about a lot, as we did with Barry O’Farrell.
I want to state clearly that I do not see anything honourable in misleading parliament and deceiving ICAC. Nor do I see anything honourable in not declaring vast donations and using taxpayer funds to employ those who have donated to your election campaign.
I also see nothing honourable about resigning after you have been caught out and exposed.
The Liberal Party clearly have a different definition of the word honourable to me.
If Mike Baird heeds the chorus of calls for his resignation, and frankly I can’t see other option if he wishes to retain any kind of dignity at all, he will become the shortest term Premier in Australia’s history. Sworn in on the 17rd April 2014, Baird has been Premier for the grand total of 22 days now. Not even one month.
I’ve had longer long weekends.
If Mike Baird doesn’t resign the people of NSW will know that they have a Premier and a State Government that not only accepts corruption, but embraces it.
The people of NSW deserve better, but unfortunately given the revelations coming out of ICAC I fear there will be nobody left on the Coalition front bench at all.
Given the way they have been behaving that’s probably a good thing.