Let’s be perfectly clear from the outset.The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was originally established to look into dubious matters and perceived corruption within government and governmental instrumentalities. Whether or not, as Henderson states in last nights Lateline interview, ICAC was created on similar lines to corruption commission(s) to whatever might have been established in Hong Kong, is entirely irrelevant. Equally irrelevant is whether or not former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell drank the $3,000 bottle of 1959 Hermitage Grange, spat it out, or whether the wine was good, bad or indifferent. Just a couple of rungs down the ladder of ridiculous assertion is Liberal MP Brad Hazzard’s excuse for O’Farrell, in that those first 3 weeks of the new Liberal government in NSW, after routing Labor’s 16 year rule, well, in his words, very difficult times and he (Hazzard) isn’t at all surprised that O’Farrell forgot all about receiving a $3,000 bottle of 1959 Grange Hermitage, or of making a telephone call to Nick Di Girolamo, or indeed of penning a note of thanks to the same gentleman for his gift. A gift, I should point out, which never made it’s way onto O’Farrell’s pecuniary interests register, as is required by ALL politicians and public servants upon receiving any gift or gratuity from any member of the public in the course of their duties.
The wine itself – over-rated wine at that in my view – is not the issue. The fact that it was gifted to O’Farrell by a now known confidente of the Obeid connection and a leading light of the proven corrupt Australian water Holdings camarilla, is clearly a matter that looms ominously. Turning time back 3 years to infer corrupt behaviour retrospectively certainly isn’t valid and on that point I must agree with Henderson. However that isn’t a point that Henderson makes, which is possibly the most powerful argument in support of a poor memory. That aside, retrospectively claiming corrupt behaviour is NOT why O’Farrell had to fall on his own sword. O’Farrell had to go because he was caught out in a bald-faced lie, under oath, in front of a properly convened and empowered public interest Commission of Inquiry. Persistence or accuracy of memory does not enter into the equation, and especially so when this very same issue had been brought to O’Farrell’s attention via a journalist who was leaked the information, supposedly by now departed former MP Chris Hartcher, who himself will face corruption allegations before ICAC in coming weeks. To claim a poor memory when one was reminded of the event, and one which was almost certain to arise during questioning anyway, weeks before addressing ICAC, smacks not just of falsehood, but of gross ludificatory.
Anyway, the real reason I felt I had to write on this issue, is one of a more light-hearted nature. Henderson very clearly makes a complete buffoon of himself, and exposes, yet again, his blatant bias in favour of anyone and anything which falls within the purview of his side of the ideological divide. His arguments, excuses and defense of the indefensible in this interview only serve to make the man look as foolish as the rational, fair-minded observer of politics in this country knows him to be. There can be only one reason the ABC asked Henderson to appear on Lateline opposite Fairfax journo Kate McClymont, who has sat in the ICAC hearings for many weeks now. Entertainment value. Henderson, in full conservative apparatchik flight, can only be taken one way. A large helping of sodium chloride and a solid belly laugh.