The entrenched corruption that tied senior politicians and police to notorious underworld figures in NSW for decades from the 1950s until recently shows the need for an ICAC with strong inquisitorial powers.
Yet, quite recently, the secret deal was still tried on by Ministers like Messrs Obeid and Macdonald in respect of mining leases being granted to an acquaintance, John Maitland. When the ICAC recommended prosecution former NSW Premier, Mike Baird, it was reported to have said: ‘Ultimately, what you need to see is prosecutions…Those prosecutions… (are) going to give great confidence to the community. That is exactly what they want to see – if someone does the wrong thing and if they abuse public office, if they act in their own interest, if they undertake corrupt activity, well, there are consequences and they need to face them’ (SMH 20/11/2014).
So while I personally feel sympathy for the erstwhile premier, considering her heroic efforts during bushfires, pandemic, and her stoicism in the face of embarrassing revelations about her private life, for her to apparently question the timing of ICAC’s inquiry is more a reaction born of frustration than consideration. I’m sure she would agree with Mike Baird, and the timing… well when is a good time?