The ratbag show continues in Australia

Day after day dodgy ALP ratbags are being rinsed before the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Yesterday it was Joe Tripodi’s turn.

These revelations are going to cripple the ALP for a generation.

Former Labor minister Joe Tripodi knew his political ally Eddie Obeid had a secret interest in cafes at Circular Quay when he bypassed a tender and renewed leases for the lucrative businesses.

Lynne Ashpole, the former deputy chief of staff to Mr Tripodi, gave evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Thursday that Mr Tripodi told her in 2006 that Mr Obeid had an interest in the waterfront cafes.

The explosive testimony contradicts Mr Tripodi’s previous claims he was unaware of Mr Obeid’s stake in the cafes when he renewed the leases in 2009 for up to 10 years. Mr Tripodi is expected to give evidence on Friday.

“During your discussions of this issue, Mr Tripodi mentioned to you that Mr Eddie Obeid owned one or two leases down at Circular Quay?” junior counsel assisting the commission, Ben Katekar, asked.

“That’s right, or had an interest in those leases,” Ms Ashpole said.

“And he also told you in that context that Mr Obeid was not all that happy with the expression of interest process for those leases?” Mr Katekar asked.

“My memory of his exact words were that Mr Obeid wasn’t very happy with him for wanting to have an expression of interest process,” Ms Ashpole replied.

Ms Ashpole, who went on to serve as former federal Labor minister Craig Emerson’s chief of staff, said Mr Tripodi had favoured an open tender for the leases after they expired in August 2005. He took over the waterways portfolio in February 2006.

Paul Scanlan, who was hired by interests associated with the Obeids to negotiate with authorities over cafe leases, gave evidence Mr Tripodi called him out of the blue on July 18, 2006, to set up a meeting. This took place on July 25.

“Did it come as a complete surprise to you?” asked counsel assisting the inquiry, Ian Temby, QC.

“It did,” Mr Scanlan said.

“It has occurred to you, at least as a possibility, that Mr Obeid snr asked Mr Tripodi to meet with you and hence the call?”

“It is a possibility,” Mr Scanlan said.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.