Labor in Crisis - Authored by Marcus Foo
If you’ve been under a rock & trying to escape politics, State Labor is imploding in both Queensland and NSW under the weight of numerous embarrassing corruption scandals.
In the Sunshine State, deputy Premier Jackie Trad has been under fire after her husband bought a $700K Woolloongabba house that’ll increase in value thanks to a nearby cross-river rail station plan over which Trad has Ministerial carriage. When the scandal erupted, Trad notified the head of Queensland’s CCC (thus deepening the hole that she’s already trapped in) but has refused to resign.
Premier Palaszczuk has thus far allowed Trad to continue as Queensland’s state Treasurer. However, given that Trad has access to classified Ministerial documents concerning the CRR station, it places both Trad and her spouse in hot water.
Recent Galaxy Polling for the Courier Mail suggest it’s severely hurting the QLD Premier & her party, with Palaszczuk taking a big -13 point drop (as preferred Premier) & the LNP overtaking Labor in the preferred party stakes.
Palaszczuk’s woes continue as has her Chief of Staff, David Barbagallo is also embroiled in scandal. A business related to Barbagallo allegedly received a $267K taxpayer grant after the Palaszczuk Govt awarded Fortress Capstone Pty Ltd a government fund payment, despite Barbagallo serving as a director and stakeholder in the company alongside his wife. It’s been several weeks since the allegations were made, & Barbagello’s status within the Government remains unclear.
Meanwhile NSW State Labor party is in a world of pain over an explosive $100K donation scandal which federal leader, Anthony Albanese has described as “diabolical”. The now dumped NSW Labor General Secretary Kaila Murnain admitted to knowledge of an illegal, $100K donation provided in an Aldi Bag, from Chinese Developer Huang Xiangmo. Donations from Property Developers are illegal in NSW, & Former Labor Senator Sam Dastyari had resigned in 2018 over his relationship with Xiangmo.
(Kaila Murnain - Daily Telegraph)
ICAC is now holding a six week investigation into whether NSW Labor had circumvented NSW electoral laws, in relation to over $100,000 in cash donations, made in $5,000 increments, to the NSW Labor Party & NSW Country Labor. The now suspended Murnain had been provided with advice from former Dastyari, suggesting that she should engage Labor Party Lawyer Ian Robertson for the purpose of covering up the donation. During the inquiry, Murnain revealed that she kept quiet about the illegal donations as she was “scared” for the “reputation of the party”.
Cheah told ICAC in 2017 that Huang Xiangmo in 2015 met at NSW Labor HQ to personally deliver the donation to the-then party boss, Jamie Clements. Labor Staffer Kenneth Cheah then took the money home under instruction of Murnain, “to be careful,” as he testified that there was no safe at the office.
Another witness at the Commission is former NSW Labor MP, Ernest Wong, has been caught lying under oath regarding the booking of a $100,000 dinner table for Huang Xiangmo. Several documents, including a budget revealed that a $100K table had been booked out for Xiangmo, Wong & former Labor leaders Luke Foley & Bill Shorten. He now faces the possibility of jail time for lying under oath. To make this saga even more shocking, ICAC witness Lee Liao tragically committed suicide before he was due to give ICAC evidence to a “private compulsory examination”.
As the revelations are now public, it’s taken the media and Labor leadership by storm, damaging them at both state and Federal Levels. The combination of Labor bosses not properly solving the issue in 2015 and attempting to cover-up has left a political time bomb to go off at the worst time possible.
Time can only tell of what’ll happen, but it’s looking awful for Labor in both states. I predict more will come out from these scandals (especially in NSW) & there’ll undoubtedly be calls for major changes in the Labor Party as preventive measures . After all, voters simply demand accountability, integrity & credibility from our political parties & politicians.