The downfall of Premier Barry O’Farrell is a wakeup call to both the NSW Coalition and Labor. It is time to end the culture of influence-peddling that has infested politics in this state, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: “What has happened is bigger than ICAC and Australian Water Holdings.
“It goes to the heart of the political system in NSW where major parties do the bidding of the big end of town.
“The Liberals and Nationals were swept to power three years ago on a promise of more open and transparent government. They promised high and delivered low.
“The Greens are not prepared to let the state’s finances and its environment be sacrificed to the get-rich-quick merchants who trade on their close relationships with government politicians and political parties.
“Barry O’Farrell has been brought down by an entrenched culture of lobbying and behind-closed-doors deals.
“This is not just a Liberal problem. The power of influence peddling has undermined the integrity of both Labor and Coalition governments for decades.
“There has to be a lesson from the political collapse of another premier.
“The culture of behind-closed-doors influence trading has to come to an end.
“In 2010 ICAC provided the state with a road map for reform.
“Since then both sides of politics have studiously ignored the most important recommendations.
“As recently as September last year Premier O’Farrell denied his government was influenced by the lobbying culture.
“He argued that further changes to the lobbyist regulations were unnecessary. Today the Coalition has learnt a painful but valuable lesson.
“The Greens are committed to a new era of politics in this state.
“All meetings between businesses seeking a favourable government decision and ministers, parliamentary secretaries, senior bureaucrats or ministerial staffers must be minuted and made publicly available.
“MPs should have to declare all potential personal interests in any decision they are involved in and the revolving door between senior decision makers and industries they were involved with must be closed,” said Dr Kaye.