A multi-million-dollar mining licence, a murder suspect and a prostitute called Tiffanie: Australia rocked by inquiry into ex-ministers

Two former New South Wales Labor Party ministers facing potential criminal charges and long jail sentences

Sydney

A multi-million-dollar mining licence, a murder suspect and a prostitute called Tiffanie – a long-running inquiry into corruption in the New South Wales Labor Party had it all, and today it concluded with two former state ministers facing potential criminal charges and long jail sentences.

The inquiry, by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac), a statutory body which monitors the conduct of politicians and civil servants in Australia’s most populous state, centred on the approval of a coal exploration licence over land in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, owned by Eddie Obeid, a former Labor minister and powerbroker, and his son, Moses.

The man who approved the licence, and allegedly passed on inside information helpful to the pair, was Ian Macdonald, a former minerals minister who earned his nickname of Sir Lunch-A-Lot for his love of long, expensive lunches. Mr Macdonald, the Icac heard, also arranged a dinner meeting in 2009 between power company executives and Ron Medich, a Sydney property developer subsequently charged with ordering the murder of a one-time colleague, Michael McGurk.

As a token of his gratitude, Mr Medich – who had a stake in an electrical contracting company – offered Mr Macdonald his choice of four young Asian women seated at a nearby table in the restaurant. The then minister picked out Tiffanie, whom he later met at the five-star Four Seasons Hotel, in Sydney’s historic Rocks district.

Questioned about the incident, Mr Macdonald told the inquiry he had not realised Tiffanie was a prostitute, and thought he was going to the hotel for a “remedial massage” arranged by Mr Medich.

The inquiry – which recommended that criminal charges be laid against Mr Macdonald, the two Mr Obeids and other wealthy business figures – could not have concluded at a worse time for Labor, with the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, under pressure to name a date for the federal election, due by November.

Since replacing Julia Gillard in June, Mr Rudd has suspended the scandal-plagued branch. “Like all Australians, I’ve been appalled by the allegations,” he said. “As a party, we must stamp out a culture which has allowed this type of behaviour to take hold.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee