In a new inquiry, ICAC heard yesterday that the Liberal Party is alleged to have received donations of at least $165,000 from property developers, who have been banned from donating to any political party in NSW since 2009, by funnelling cash through established party fundraising entities.
Established in 1988 by the incoming Coalition government of Nick Greiner to inquire into recent Labor governments, it was assumed that ICAC would operate as a star chamber into the ALP. But its major scalps have been Liberals: premier Barry O'Farrell, assistant treasurer and former John Howard chief of staff Arthur Sinodinos, and Greiner himself (though ICAC's finding was overturned in court*). As a result, ICAC is now being heavily criticised by conservative commentators, though they were cheering when it was investigating former NSW ALP minister Eddie Obeid.
The Greens are calling for the ICAC model to go national. As Victorian premier Denis Napthine this week faces questions over a land transaction involving a businessman with whom he co-owns a race horse, that proposal surely deserves consideration.
(*An earlier version claimed that Nick Greiner had been "cleared". This has been corrected. See a summary of events here.)
Russell Marks Politicoz Editor
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