Tag Archives: Barry O’Farrell

What the O’Farrell drama really reveals

17 Apr

money-banking-bribe-bribing-sponsors-sponsoring-politically_corrupt-jsh120716lEx NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell had a spectacular fall from grace yesterday, after first categorically denying he had ever received a $3000 bottle of wine from ICAC person of interest Nick De Girolamo, then being forced, after the revelation of a thank-you note in his own handwriting, to admit indeed there had been such a gift, but he had completely forgotten about it.

Whatever the ins and outs of the situation, and I am certain there are many and they are likely rather twisty, what stands out for me is the sense of entitlement that allows a politician to accept, and probably expect, that gifts will come his or her way, simply because the people have elected them to high office.

A $3000 bottle of wine is no small present, and not one most people are likely to forget, if we accept O’Farrell’s explanation that he did indeed lose his memory of it. How many expensive gifts does one receive before one begins to lose track of them, and why should any politician be showered with such largesse in the first place?

What is repeatedly revealed by ongoing ICAC investigations is a long line of politicians from both sides apparently steeped in a sense of entitlement that is rather difficult to understand. They are elected to do a job. They are paid for their efforts. If they manage to stay in office for a few years, they are assured of a generous life-long pension, and they don’t have to wait until they’re seventy to claim it. Depending on their position, there are generous perks. Yes, they work hard if they are any good, but so do millions of other people.

Why should politicians be permitted to accept any gifts at all? Expensive gifts are clearly offered in order to seduce politicians to particular ways of thinking and acting that will benefit the donors. How can this be justified in any circumstances ?

What O’Farrell did or didn’t do matters, of course, and there will continue to be lengthy speculation on his actions and his character. For mine, the urgent issue here is the culture of entitlement that dominates and inevitably corrupts our politics, to the degree that we now measure the worth of politicians according to their likely level of corruption. Forbidding all gifts to politicians would go some way to addressing this entitlement culture.  When gifts come from those whose sole aim is to influence decisions in their favour, there is no question but that they must be declined.

By the way, if you need a good laugh, this exchange on Lateline last night between Gerard Henderson of the Sydney Institute, and journalist Kate McClymont on the O’Farrell scandal, is hilarious.

Guns in NSW National Parks: Major Danger, High Risk to Life: Assessment Report leaked

23 Dec

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A draft risk assessment report on the dangers of allowing gun use in 79 NSW national parks has been leaked to the Fairfax press.

The report alerts NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to the serious dangers to human life and well-being if  hunters are allowed into national parks:

The Draft Risk Assessment, produced by the Office of Environment and Heritage and dated December 10, 2012, lists groups at risk from ”projectiles causing death and serious injury to people” as parks workers and visitors, including ”families, special user groups, remote visitors”. Hunters, whether shooting by permit or illegally, are also at risk, as well as ”neighbours” with properties that border the 2 million hectares of parkland to be opened to hunters.

The 59-page document said the risks to these groups was ”major and the likelihood as possible … giving a risk rating of high”.

Mr O’Farrell personally negotiated a deal in May that resulted in the Shooters and Fishers Party supporting the government’s $3 billion electricity generator privatisation in return for access to national parks for amateur hunters.

Let Barry O’Farrell know straight away how you feel about guns in our national parks.

Twitter: @barryofarrell

Phone: (02) 9487 8588

               (02) 9228 5239

Fax:      (02) 9487 8550

               (02) 9228 3935

Email: office@premier.nsw.gov.au

              kuringai@parliament.nsw.gov.au

We don’t want amateur hunters armed with guns in our national parks. It’s barbaric, Barry. It’s dangerous. It’s a threat to human life. And it’s your responsibility.

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