Thursday, November 09, 2006

NSW Labor Government Crisis

The news that NSW Labor Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Milton Orkopoulos, has been charged with child sex and drug offences has led to his dismissal from the Ministry and the NSW Labor Party. Fair enough - no party wants to be tainted with such a brush.

Mr Orkopoulos is entitled to a presumption of innocence until after his court case, due to start in January.

However, he is the second Minister that has been sacked (Carl Scully was the other) and a third has had four speeding fines in his Ministerial car.

It seems that documents tendered to Newcastle Court this week suggest that a member of Mr Orkopoulos' staff reported allegations to a (Parliamentary) Labor Party member more that 12 months ago. If true, Mr Iemma has promised to sack the person involved. I suggest that is not enough: such a person should also be reported to the police. A charge of complicity in the child sex and drug matters, or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, would be appropriate.

The number of NSW Labor Ministers behaving badly, Mr Orkopoulos's charge and court appearance in January are bad enough. With the State Election due in March, allegations that someone else knew, and did nothing, could be the "smoking gun" that brings down the NSW Labor Government in March 2007.

The Analyst