ICAC Report – Operation Spicer Report Released 30 Aug 2016
Earlier Story 12 December 2015 : ICAC Still Under Threat
Newcastle Herald 01 Sept: OPINION: Sorry Mike, this time sorry is not enough
Media Release, (A Must Read), Fact Sheet and (Full Report, 168 Pages, 16MB!) available for download on ICAC webite HERE. Seat of Port Stephens pages 152 -153
Continually Updated Press Clippings Below Stories……….. 24 Nov 2016
Even More ICAC Stories: HERE
ICAC Operation Spicer Report Released August 30 2016
This long awaited report has now been released. This Operation started in early 2014! The results are a damning indictment of our election funding system. It appears that all the legal action and the Cuneen High Court diversion has had the desired effect: the powers of the Commission to declare people ‘corrupt’ have been reduced and the findings delayed long enough to avoid prosecutions by the Election Funding Authority (EFA), (now abolished and absorbed into the NSW Electoral Commission) from taking any action because of the statute of limitations.
Laws have obviously been broken but only four prosecutions have been recommended, all for related matters, (one for corruption as a Public Official), one for Larceny (stealing) and two for allegedly ‘misleading’ the Commission. The only damage to the rest is to their ‘reputations’.
TRRA’s Experience with the EFA
Under the current law donations do not have to be declared for up to a year after the election. The statute of limitations is set at three years so a third of it is gone before we even get to see the declarations. This leaves two years for people to question the veracity and implications and bring it to the attention of the EFA.
Our experience with the EFA, when we bought serious matters to their attention after the declarations were made for the 2012 Local Government elections, was that we never did get any useful response from the EFA itself, only from the Electoral Commission. We were told that “Your email has also been referred to the NSW Electoral Commission to reply to you directly in respect to the matters raised in your enquiry that relate to the conduct of the election. The Election Funding Authority will be in contact with you if we have any questions or require further information from you.” They never did, despite our serious allegations of funding discrepancies.
We followed up our submission with a string of emails for another three months and finally got the response: “I hope you can appreciate that we are currently in the process of undertaking compliance audits on the almost 10,000 declarations received by our office for the 2013 reporting period. Each declaration lodged is audited and during each audit we take into account any complaints received by us. This process does take a significant amount of time due to the volume and complexity of the work.” Eventually we ended up with a curt: “As indicated in my email to you dated 18 December 2013, the matters you have raised with the Authority will be dealt with in accordance with the Authority’s Audit Policy and Compliance Policy. The Authority does not comment in respect to its handling of any matter.” So there……!
We can only assume that our complaint must have been towards the end of the 10,000 and they just did not get to it before the time ran out, but of course they don’t even have to tell us about it anyway! Some indication that the maters we raised were even considered, wrong, irrelevant, or correct but we are not going to do anything about it would have helped. They said that the matters would be considered in the audit process, but we will never know if they were. Why do we bother?
We have read in related coverage that this department was completely under resourced and we have yet to hear of any prosecutions, or even the paltry fines prescribed in the original legislation. They have now beefed up the fines, (after the horse has bolted) but if no one is enforcing them what is the point? This one was set up by the politicians, for the politicians…..
Local Government elections are being held around the State right now in the areas not affected the amalgamations. We will find out who donated what in December 2017!
TRRA Media Officer: Dick Appleby
NSW Electoral Commission Finally awakes from 5 year slumber:
- Key points:
- Free Enterprise Foundation was used to “disguise” donations, report says
- Foundation used to offer anonymity to favorable donors, including property developers
- Campaign funding won’t be paid to Liberal Party until full disclosures made
Sydney Morning Herald 29 March 2016: Assistant minister Angus Taylor discussed Free Enterprise Foundation with key fundraiser
Newcastle Herald 25 March 2016: NSW Liberals may lose $4m in donor cloud
Sydney Morning Herald 23 March 2016: NSW Liberals down $4 million over hundreds of thousands in donations cloud
Sydney Morning Herald 23 March 2016: NSW Liberals ‘concealed’ illegal donors before 2011 election win
Inspector Levine – Commissioner Latham
More from ICAC, as it happens:
Sydney Morning Herald 24 Nov 2016: Margaret Cunneen’s prayers answered: ICAC commissioner Megan Latham resigns
Sydney Morning Herald 24 Nov 2016: ICAC Commissioner Megan Latham’s removal either a bungle or pure political cowardice
Sydney Morning Herald 24 Nov 2016: Who will replace Megan Latham in ICAC’s top Job
Sydney Morning Herald 23 Nov 2016: ICAC chief’s resignation ‘sets back corruption fighting by years’
Sydney Morning Herald 23 Nov 2016: ICAC Chief Quits after being forced to reapplied for Job
Newcastle Herald 18 Nov 2016 – Editorial: Premier Mike Baird’s changes to ICAC are a bad look for this government
Sydney Morning Herald 16 Nov 2016: ‘The perception is that this is corrupt’: former ICAC assistant commissioner Anthony Whealy blasts Mike Baird
Sydney Morning Herald 16 Nov 2016: Arthur Sinodinos may benefit from Mike Baird’s ICAC overhaul
ABC PM Radio Program 16 Nov 2016: Political motives suspected behind ICAC changes (Click on Sound Bar for Audio)
ABC News 16 November 2016: ICAC explained: Why it was established, who has been grilled by it, what the future holds
Sydney Morning Herald 15 Nov: Labor baulks at ICAC reform without Megan Latham as commissioner
Sydney Morning Herald 15 Nov: Premier Mike Baird risks being known as the man who destroyed ICAC
Newcastle Herald 15 November 2016: Labor baulks at ICAC reform without Megan Latham as commissioner
ABC News 15 November 2016: ICAC: Sweeping changes to NSW watchdog might see Megan Latham lose job
Newcastle Herald 27 October 2016: Editorial – ICAC reform must preserve public hearings
Newcastle Herald 22 Sept 2016: Former Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell repays
Sydney Morning Herald 11 Sept 2016: Former ICAC boss David Ipp slams ‘egregious’ plan to restructure agency
Sydney Morning Herald 08 Sept 2016: Call to replace ICAC chief with three commissioners
Newcastle Herald 02 Sept 2016: IAN KIRKWOOD: Former Hunter Liberal MPs on the pressures of ICAC
Examiner 02 Sept 2016: Craig Baumann critical of ICAC’s Operation Spicer
Newcastle Herald 02 Sept 2016: IAN KIRKWOOD: Operation Spicer was an overkill (Must be two versions of this report and its Findings out there….!)
Sydney Morning Herald 01 Sept 2016: Arthur Sinodinos accused of potentially misleading Parliament over donations scam
ABC News 31 Aug 2016: ICAC: NSW Liberal figures and businessmen tried to evade political funding laws, report finds
Newcastle Herald 31 Aug 2016: ICAC Operation Spicer: Foley calls for ‘justice’ for Hunter
Newcastle Herald 31 Aug 2016: Hilton Grugeon hits back at ICAC and counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson
Newcastle Herald 31 Aug 2016: Jodi McKay and Jeff McCloy trade barbs over ICAC’s Operation Spicer report
Sydney Morning Herald 30 Aug 2016: Why Mike Baird should allow the debate on prosecution of former Liberals
Sydney Morning Herald 30 Aug 2016: Mike Baird letting former Liberal MPs ‘off the hook’ in donations probe, says Labor
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: ICAC Operation Spicer: election was stolen from me, McKay
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: Former lord mayor McCloy hits back at ICAC
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: Port of Newcastle skullduggery plays major part in Operation Spicer findings
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: ICAC Operation Spicer: Gallacher says he’s going nowhere despite findings.
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: MPs have paid price, says Baird
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: Tripodi only person recommended for charges out of ICAC port examination
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: ICAC: “Serious corruption” for former Labor power broker Joe Tripodi
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: ICAC Operation Spicer: the main players
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: ICAC’s Operation Spicer report live: the findings revealed | video
Newcastle Herald 30 Aug 2016: ICAC’s Operation Spicer report: Two years in the making
ICAC Still Under Threat
Even More ICAC Stories: HERE
Later Story 31 Aug 2016: ICAC Report – Operation Spicer
Check Newspaper links below – Updated Regularly……..!
“Could a pair of fake breasts have triggered a saga that changes forever the powers of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption?”
Opinion: (Updated to 20 February 2016)
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald today, by-lined by two respected journalists, who we came to know well for their coverage of the ICAC hearings, is of great concern to those of us who are still waiting for some action to be taken by the prosecutors on the alleged corruption revealed in the hearings in the Commission early in 2014.
The irony of the situation is that the strident critics of the Commission and its methods can’t seem to see that the style of the investigation and the following interrogation is the very reason for it’s success. Under traditional investigation methods the police have been unable or unwilling to bring this stuff to light or prosecution, ever.
The methods used were very effective in rooting out corruption and anyone that is called to a public hearing after being investigated and interviewed, can rest assured that they are there to either be exposed themselves or to nail somebody else. The Commission already has the evidence, or you would not have been called. When you are being grilled by Geoffrey Watson SC there is nowhere to hide behind some fancy expensive lawyer, you have to answer the questions personally, if you are caught lying you can get 5 years for contempt. (This still did not deter some!) Despite being extensively coached before the hearings, most did a fine job of incriminating themselves or suffered massive self inflicted amnesia, and are now bleating that it was all so unfair.
A lot of top silks are not happy about not being able to protect their high profile, high paying clients and not getting away with much in the rulings from a very firm commissioner. This has split the legal fraternity down the middle.
So now the whole future of the ICAC itself has become bogged down in politics and the farcical situation of the lawyers all taking sides and scrapping all the way to the High Court among themselves. Meanwhile the likes of Eddie O’bead and Co. are laughing at the mess the system has got itself into and still living high on the hog. O’bead has boasted publicly that because of the way the system works he is confident that he will never be convicted of anything. Unfortunately when you read this article and the puerile legal shenanigans that are being played out, he may well be proven correct.
Meanwhile in the real world we have already had a State election and now have a Federal election and a Council election coming up next year and none of this looks like being resolved before that or maybe ever. Disgraceful! The law really is an ass……
Dick Appleby, TRRA Inc. Media Officer
Sydney Morning Herald 11 December 2015: Car crash and fake boobs make Margaret Cunneen’s battle with ICAC great fodder for Sydney shock jocks
More Legal Farce:
Do these people have any idea of how silly this all sounds to rational ,thinking people that are not in the legal fraternity? Are these legal eagles are in a self constructed bubble that has no relationship with reality in the real world?
Inspector Levine – Commissioner Latham
More from ICAC, as it happens:
Sydney Morning Herald 20 March 2017: Obeid family hit with multimillion-dollar bill over ‘irresponsible’ ICAC lawsuit
Sydney Morning Herald 03 Aug 2016: Inspector David Levine’s call for ICAC exoneration protocol ‘misunderstands justice system’
ABC News 28 June 2016: Eddie Obeid found guilty of misconduct in public office while member of NSW Upper House
Sydney Morning Herald 23 June 2016: Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s budget reply speech: pledge to restore ICAC funding
ABC News 06 June 2016: Vote Compass: Australians want a federal corruption watchdog, even though major parties don’t
Sydney Morning Herald 04 June 2016: Baird budget cuts spark ICAC ‘funding crisis’
Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 2016 -Editorial: ICAC must be allowed to continue its good work in public
Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 2016: The ICAC is there to serve the public, not protect reputations
Sydney Morning Herald 12 May 2016: ICAC inspector David Levine pushes for end to public hearings
Financial review 05 Feb 2016: Behind the plot to kill ICAC (Must Read)
Sydney Morning Herald 24 March 2016: Liberal donations scandal highlights ICAC’s important work
Sydney Morning Herald 18 March 2016: ICAC inspector David Levine has clear bias, says Commissioner Megan Latham
Sydney Morning Herald 14 March 2016: Inspector says ICAC risks perception it is ‘craving to sacrifice reputations’
Sydney Morning Herald 14 March 2016: Margaret Cunneen attacks ICAC and its ‘media punishers’
Sydney Morning Herald 06 March 2016: ICAC not a rogue agency
Sydney Morning Herald 01 March 2016: ‘Problem’ emerges in plan to enlist Margaret Cunneen in Eddie Obeid’s ICAC battle
Sydney Morning Herald 18 Feb 2016 – Editorial: Cunneen vs the ICAC: play the tape
Sydney Morning Herald 17 Feb 2016: ‘Do you know what you are doing?’ Hazzard fails to rule out call to ICAC barrister
Sydney Morning Herald 17 Feb 2016: Margaret Cunneen a ‘special guest’ at Fred Nile political fundraiser
ABC News 15 Feb 2016: Brad Hazzard faces questioning over his involvement in ICAC’s Margaret Cunneen probe
Sydney Morning Herald 15 Feb 2016: Cunneen laywers want inquiry MPs to affirm they did not leak phone tap transcript
Sydney Morning Herald 15 Feb 2016: Inquiry to decide on release of secret Cunneen tapes
Sydney Morning Herald 13 Feb 2016 – Opinion: Why NSW Parliament must publish the Margaret Cunneen tapes
Sydney Morning Herald 13 Feb 2016: Shadow of ICAC hangs over Macquarie Street – again – as Parliament returns
Sydney Morning Herald 12 Feb 2016: The ICAC tapes: Margaret Cunneen said she had sent a message to Sophia Tilley about chest pains (Go to Bottom of page…….!)
Sydney Morning Herald 27 Jan 2016: Parliamentary committee chair Damien Tudehope quizzes ICAC chief Megan Latham before inquiry
Sydney Morning Herald 21 Jan 2016: NSW ICAC clears Arthur Sinodinos over corruption claims
Sydney Morning Herald 08 Jan 2016: ICAC Powers Clarified, Baird must now establish a parliamentary investigator
Sydney Morning Herald 20 December 2015: ICAC ‘cannot’ find Mike Gallacher and other Liberal MPs corrupt in donations probe
Sydney Morning Herald Dec 09 2015: The ICAC must be allowed to get back to business
Sydney Morning Herald 13 November 2015: The one issue on which Mike Baird refuses to back ICAC
Sydney Morning Herald 4 April 2015: Stakes high for Mike Baird and Megan Latham over ICAC’s future
ABC News 30 October 2014: ICAC to investigate deputy senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen for allegedly coaching witness
For more on the ICAC Investigations, Type ‘ICAC’ into the search engine at the top of the right side bar…… We will try to keep this page updated with further developments……………….
ICAC – Operation Spicer – Who is in the Cac At ICAC?
‘The Grim Reaper’
NSW disease has now mutated from the Labour Party and it appears that a particularly virulent strain has taken hold in the Liberal Party with Premiers, Ministers and MP’s going down like nine pins with Council Assisting Geoffrey Watson SC playing the part of ‘the Grim Reaper’……….
The disease has now spread to the Hunter and even Port Stephens. Names like Darren Williams and Nathan Tinkler, Companies like Buildev Pty. Ltd. These people have had, and still have, extensive business relationships with Port Stephens Council and some of them are known to be associates of some of our Councillors, they have declared this in the minutes of many Council Meetings.
Allegations of interference in the electoral process by developers and vested interests making prohibited donations seem to be popping up everywhere and lookout if you get in the way as Labour member for Newcastle (Jodie McKay) found out, even your own people will turn you into road-kill. This disease is bi-partisan.
TRRA Inc. wonders what would happen if some of this sort of forensic scrutiny was applied to the recent revelations in the Newcastle Herald about the last Council election and some of the dubious decisions that have been pushed through by the Mayor’s voting bloc since. The Newcastle Herald obviously called for it in this 28 February Editorial “There is probably a case for some external authority to examine the matter in detail, to clarify whether the contributions were donations or something else instead.”
TRRA inc. would like some light shone in some of the dark corners around Medowie Woolworths, The Wallalong Gateway Proposal, some dubious development decisions and some recent tendering practices. The ‘Grim Reaper’ might find some rich pickings indeed…………….! Let’s hope the Commission finishes the job it has started and cleans up ALL the mess.
Newspaper Archives ICAC:
Newcastle Herald 04 May 2014: ICAC urged to look into Bruce MacKenzie’s election campaigns.
Newcastle Herald 05 May 2014: ICAC: aims claims at tinkler and company.
Newcastle Herald 06 May 2014: Nathan Tinkler to face ICAC before new investigations.
Port Stephens Examiner 06 May 2014: Port Stephens Mayor, Council under scrutiny.
Newcastle Herald 07 May 2014: ICAC: Nathan Tinkler texts put no price limit on bid to remove Jodi McKay.
Newcastle Herald 16 May 2014: ICAC: Newcastle Alliance in developer claims.
Newcastle Herald 16 May 2014: Nathan Tinkler’s denials, accusations, revelations at inquiry.
Newcastle Herald 16 May 2014: Opinion: Kate McLemont – Money, Immorality and our democracy at ICAC.
Examiner 13 Aug: ICAC Probe Names Two Port Pollies
13 Aug 2014: GREG RAY: No country for honest men
12 Aug 2014: OPINION: Voters must be left reeling
11 Aug 2014: EDITORIAL: The ICAC juggernaut continues
11 Aug 2014: ICAC: Follow it live, August 11
10 Aug 2014: ICAC: Baldwin took up coal-loader’s cause
10 Aug 2014: ICAC: Greens call for delay to Whitebridge
10 Aug 2014: ICAC: Buildev bankrolled mud-throwing campaign
08 Aug 2014: ICAC: Painting price a surprise to artist Rex Newell
08 Aug 2014: OPINION: City renewal must go on regardless of ICAC
08 Aug 2014: GREG RAY: Ghosts of Joe Tripodi at ICAC
07 Aug 2014: ICAC: Andrew Cornwell’s $10,000 mistake
07 Aug 2014: ICAC: DJ believed invoices were above board
07 Aug 2014: ICAC: MP Garry Edwards warned to be nice to Buildev
07 Aug 2014: GREG RAY: MP refused to play ball
07 Aug 2014: EDITORIAL: Coalition’s Newcastle nightmare
06 Aug 2014: ICAC: ‘I have done nothing wrong’ – Jeff McCloy
06 Aug 2014: ICAC: The Bentley and the bag of money, poll
06 Aug 2014: ICAC: Tripodi offered job by Tinkler company