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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell resigns over evidence

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell resigns over evidence

LAST UPDATED // Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:58 Written by // Reg Domingo

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has announced he will step down from the Liberal leadership over evidence he gave to the corruption watchdog. 

At a press conference on Wednesday, O’Farrell admitted to a “significant memory fail” when giving evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) the day before.

On Tuesday, O’Farrell strenuously denied ever receiving a $3000 bottle of wine in April 2011 from Australian Water Holdings executive (AWH) Nick Di Girolamo. He also failed to explain a call from his phone to Di Girolamo made at the time.

AWH is currently the subject of an inquiry by ICAC, which alleges AWH of corrupt behaviour.

O’Farrell said ICAC will now be presented a note signed by him thanking Di Girolamo for the wine.

"I still can't recall the receipt of a gift of a bottle of 1959 Grange," O'Farrell said.

"I can't explain what happened to that bottle of wine.

"But I do accept there is a thank you note signed by me, and as someone who believes in accountability, in responsibility, I accept the consequences of my action."

O’Farrell said he would meet with the parliamentary Liberal party next week to begin the process of electing a new leader.

LGBTI community organsiations and allies have expressed sadness at O'Farrell's resignation. ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill commented: “The O’Farrell Government has been supportive of a range of law reforms and policy initiatives that have produced important health and human rights outcomes for LGBTI people and people affected by HIV.

"Under the O’Farrell Government, as particularly demonstrated through the leadership of Health Minister Jillian Skinner, we have seen the implementation of the most innovative HIV strategy in the country aimed at ending HIV transmission by 2020,” Parkhill said.

Out gay Liberal MP Bruce Notley Smith expressed his sadness at the news of O'Farrell's resignation saying O'Farrell had been supportive of the LGBTI community.

"Premier O’Farrell has always been a strong supporter of the LGBTI community and has continuously offered me guidance and encouragement when I advocate for issues that affect us. I am hopeful that the next premier of NSW will follow his approach of being open and available to listen to and address LGBTI concerns."

A moderate Liberal, O'Farrell is seen as both a friend and enemy of the LGBTI community.

Jed Horner from the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSWGLRL) told SX the lobby is saddened by O'Farrell's resignation.

"Premier O’Farrell has been a strong moderate voice, who has been supportive of law reform measures that will lead to legislative equality, " Horner told SX. "These include the impending amendments to the Crimes Act, to remove the homosexual advance defence, giving the green light to a private members Bill seeking to expunge historical convictions for consensual intercourse, as well as his statements in support of marriage equality."

While O'Farrell is a supporter of equal marriage rights, he believes it is matter of federal law.

More recently, the Premier signed an accord between the NSW Government, NSW Police and Sydney Mardi Gras, ensuring better policing practices at the annual gay and lesbian festival.

"Barry O'Farrell made a personal commitment to support Mardi Gras whilst in opposition in 2011, and since becoming Premier he has honoured this commitment and been a strong supporter and advocate of Mardi Gras. We thank Mr O'Farrell for his support of Mardi Gras and the LGBTQI community," said Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik.

However recently O'Farrell has fallen out of favour with the LGBTI community due to his recently-enacted alcohol legislation, which put him out of favour with many, who say the tough laws are affecting Sydney's once vibrant gay nightlife and culture.

O'Farrell also raised the ire of the community for removing the rainbow crossing on Oxford Street in 2013, as well as introducing legislation that forced the removal of Clover Moore from State Parliament.

O'Farrell's replacement has yet to be announced, but the NSW GLRL hopes the Coalition will appoint an equally progressive candidate.

"It is our hope that the Coalition will appoint someone who can continue to serve to entire community, including LGBTI people, who is socially progressive – that’s our hope as a lobby group for the sake of the community."


Reg Domingo

Reg Domingo

Reg Domingo is the editor of SX.

Comments (4)

  • anon

    19 April 2014 at 08:03 |
    James Packer may have a job lined up for Barry O’Farrell at Sydney’s second casino given all his achievements whilst in office like approving Sydney's second casino and for the integrity that he has displayed backed up by fine comments made by Tony Abbott about him


  • Allan

    17 April 2014 at 07:46 |
    I think you might need to have a look at the $11BILLION black hole that Tony Abbott was offering the independents back in 2010 in order to attempt to form government. Fortunately for us, they weren't fooled by the Hockeynomics involved. We're just dealing with it four years later.


  • Derek Williams

    17 April 2014 at 02:03 |
    So far as I understand it, the issue isn't over receiving the gift, but "forgetting" he received it. I agree, that if you've done nothing wrong, you should stand your ground. That doesn't appear to be the case here, and I don't agree that just because some other politician told a worse lie, that excuses a lesser lie. It becomes impossible for a politician to remain credible once he has been caught out. I am sorry to see Mr Farrell go too, but sadly he was hoist by his own petard. Maybe he can be re-accommodated further down the track. That has happened a few times in politics once they've served their penance.


  • Simonzee1

    17 April 2014 at 00:57 |
    Barry O'Farrell should not resign over a $3, 000 gift. Compare this to the squalid deals that Julia Gillard did with Windsor and Oakshott and the Greens behind closed doors to stay in power and this involved billions in pork barreling and there is just no comparison.

    Look at all the crooks who profit every day at the expense of your super retirement dollars when these Silicon Valley companies sold down shares before the markets could react with their inside knowledge in the last week..Look at the big banks parking super computers next door to stock exchanges on the shortest fibre to get a clear advantage in seconds to buy and sell shares over the normal punter.. Your super funds are being robbed everyday by fees and these banking crooks.

    Look at how on advice from American banks Telstra shares were divested from the Future Fund at a mad $2.80 a share before the passage of the NBN. What are they now...over $5.00 a share.

    Barry I hope your team refuses to let you resign.

    Barry needs to forget being a martyr and continue the great job he is doing for N.S.W. I think the people of N.S.W know this Premier is the best Premier they will ever get.


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