Lastest scandal sparks bitter row
THE latest political donations scandal to rock NSW Parliament sparked a bitter row between leaders from both sides of the floor during question time yesterday.
In defending Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts against accusations he accepted political donations from property developers, Premier Barry O'Farrell said NSW Labour was in no position to be throwing stones.
Pointing his finger at Opposition Leader John Robertson, Mr O'Farrell said he gave his rival "full marks for courage given the way they (Labour) had treated their own members" who had been subject to criminal allegations.
His comments came after weekend reports revealed Mr Robertson had hosted property developers at Parliament House at lunch meetings which had allegedly been auctioned off for $2000 per person at a Liberal Party function earlier this year.
Invites to the function had clearly stated property developers were unable to attend.
Mr O'Farrell said when it was raised that some of those who attended the function had been property developers, all auction items were returned, no money exchanged hands and not one cheque was cashed.
He also said he had referred the allegations to the director-general and would bring a report back to parliament as soon as it was available.
The Speaker of the house ruled Mr Robertson's original question had breached a standing order relating media innuendo and unconfirmed rumour.
She later banned another member from going down the same line of questioning.
But the ruling didn't stop the occasional jibe or off-hand remark from either party.
While Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner was making a speech about the creation of jobs in the Clarence Valley, a member interjected "what about that jail?" referring to the State Government's recent decision to scale back the Grafton Jail to a remand centre.
Mr Stoner replied - "they've still got some room for some former Labour ministers".