The ongoing revelations in Australia asÂ theÂ ICAC investigations into dodgy unions and corrupt Labor officials are showing just how venal and corrupt they had become, with one Labor stooge trousering a lazy $100 million.
THE family of the Labor power broker Eddie Obeid received $30 million and stood to make a further $70 million using inside information on coal exploration licences provided by the disgraced former mining minister Ian Macdonald.
Not only is this ”the most important investigation ever undertaken” by the Independent Commission Against Corruption but ”it is corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps,” counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson, SC, said in his opening address on Monday.
Mr Obeid, the dominant factional player in the ALP, manipulated Mr Macdonald to do his bidding. This included rigging a public tender, demoting a senior official and even making changes to the state’s formal coal licence maps to ensure the scam would ”confer massive cascading profits upon Mr Obeid and his family”, the ICAC heard.
”In all, decisions taken or influenced by Ian Macdonald may have enabled Eddie Obeid and his family to acquire profits in the order of $100 million,” Mr Watson said. ”An important motive is money – a motive with a long pedigree.”
Forensic accountants have trawled through hundreds of accounts and traced thousands of payments through a complex web of trusts, shelf companies and nominee directors that the Obeids used to disguise their activities.
The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, last night suspended Mr Obeid from the Labor Party, describing allegations aired about him during the corruption hearing as ”shocking”.
”The gravity of the allegations that came out this morning at the ICAC in the opening statements are so shocking that I have moved to act immediately,” Mr Robertson said. ”I, like most people, can’t believe the magnitude and the seriousness of these allegations.”
Mr Macdonald’s decisions deprived the taxpayers of NSW of tens of millions of dollars in revenue, the inquiry heard.