NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell – already under fire over his agreement to allow shooting in national parks – said there was “nothing untoward” about his push to have minor party entitlements reviewed Photo: Peter Rae
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has been referred to the state’s corruption watchdog, after the opposition accused him of offering financial inducements to Shooters Party MPs for their vote on his power sell-off.
Just hours after the power privatisation passed through parliament on Thursday, Mr O’Farrell was referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) over revelations he lobbied a parliamentary inquiry to review entitlements to minor parties.
Following Mr O’Farrell’s intervention on Wednesday – the same day a deal on the power sell-off was announced – a parliamentary inquiry will consider a Shooters request to increase administration entitlements paid to minor party MPs.Advertisement: Story continues below http://ad-apac.doubleclick.net/adi/onl.smh.news/national/nsw;cat=national;cat1=nsw;ctype=article;pos=3;sz=300×250;tile=3;ord=7652218.0?
Payments to individual MPs would increase from $80,000 to $150,000 a year under the proposal.
Mr Robertson accused the premier of offering the Shooters Party MPs financial inducements to get their support for his privatisation of the state’s power generators.
“No politician in the NSW parliament should be offered cash in exchange for votes,” Mr Robertson said.
Mr O’Farrell – already under fire over his agreement to allow shooting in national parks – said there was “nothing untoward” about his push to have minor party entitlements reviewed, saying “there was no secret deal, there is no secret deal”.
“There is nothing untoward about having a review into compliance costs, there is nothing untoward about checking whether the provisions … that are meant to assist with compliance costs … are meeting their expectations,” Mr O’Farrell told parliament.
Mr O’Farrell earlier rejected suggestions he’d backflipped on a promise in April last year that he “would not turn our national parks into hunting reserves”, and would not do “deals with the minor parties”.
Under the agreement struck with the Shooters Party this week, recreational hunters will be allowed to cull feral animals in 79 of the state’s 799 national parks and reserves.
Recreational shooters would be conducting “conservation work” rather than “hunting” feral animals, Mr O’Farrell said.
“There’s a big difference from hunting reserves, which is about recreational shooting, which is about people taking their hunting dogs in and shooting willy-nilly, and the feral control that we’re … permitting,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters on Thursday morning.
“It is doing conservation work because of the destruction that feral animals provide to habitat, to native flora and fauna, and also the stock of neighbouring farms.”