Barry Farooqs himself

You’ve dropped the Grange, Barry

You’ve dropped the Grange, Barry

The resignation of Premier Barry O’Farrell on 16 April took everyone by surprise. His resignation followed assurances to the ICAC the day before that he had not received a bottle of 1959 Grange from Liberal Party identity and Obeid connection, Nick Di Girolamo.
 
This, despite evidence presented to him that the wine had been bought, delivered to his house and shortly afterwards he had a short phone conversation on his private mobile phone with Mr Di Girolamo. He denied it, and he denied it strenuously and repeatedly. 
 
But, as often happens in the theatre which is the ICAC, up pops a thank you letter in the Premier’s own fine fountain-penned hand thanking “Nick and Jodie” and signed “Baz and Rosemary”. Uh oh …
 
At least he had nice manners. His Mum should be proud.
 
There are lessons in this for employees in local government. There are no longer any secrets. People have ways of finding everything you would rather not found and doing so at precisely the wrong time.
 
While some are trivialising the circumstances of the resignation by claiming it was all about forgetting to declare a bottle of wine, it was much, much more than that. 
 
Not just breaches of guidelines for ministers and politicians, not just the blurred line between what’s acceptable when you’re running for power and what’s acceptable when you’re in government, not just a failure to acknowledge phone calls nor the extent of relationships, and not just attempting to withhold information about meetings, their frequency and their purpose.
 
Then there was the unfortunate timeframe of the gift he can’t remember receiving with the Premier’s subsequent intervention over his Water Minister’s portfolio to look after a mate and benefactor and the subsequent revealing of his office taking steps to recommend Di Girolamo for a Government Board only two weeks after the gift was delivered and the thank you letter written. 
 
In the end, it’s hard to get away with anything that is anything less than appropriate and proper and satisfies guidelines for governance and propriety. Don’t try it. 
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