O'Farrell resignation must trigger strict rules on corporate lobbyists

Published: April 16, 2014

Lock the Gate Alliance has called for strict new rules on the interactions between corporate lobbyists and politicians after NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, was forced to resign following evidence of his relationship with lobbyist Nick Di Girolamo being exposed by a corruption inquiry.

Lock the Gate National Coordinator, Phil Laird said, "The real scandal exposed in this ICAC hearing inquiry is not that Barry O'Farrell accepted a bottle of Grange, the real scandal is that he spoke as often as fortnightly to lobbyist Di Girolamo and no-one else knows what they spoke about.

"The deeper scandal from ICAC is the extraordinary reach of corporate lobbyists and their secret, tangled relationships with political parties, their fundraising activities and our politicians.

"We're calling on the incoming Premier, whoever they may be, to urgently implement strict new rules on corporate lobbyists in keeping with recommendations that have been made by ICAC previously.

"We understand that Mike Baird is a strong contender for taking on the role of Premier. Baird’s former chief of staff, Stephen Galilee, heads up the coal lobby group, the NSW Minerals Council. Communities around the state would be rightly deeply concerned that these close ties leave NSW politics more vulnerable to the corrupting influence of coal money than ever before.

"The announcement by Barry O'Farrell today also raises more questions as to exactly what led O’Farrell to break his promise not to proceed with the controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine on the Central Coast.

"He opposed the mine prior to the election, and promised to prevent it, but it is now proceeding through the approval process. O’Farrell’s relationships with the proponent for the coal mine, Korean company Kores, and various politicians and lobbyists that support the mine, including former Minister Chris Hartcher, should now be laid on the table in full and the assessment process for Wallarah 2 halted."

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