18 August 2014

Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy quits after ICAC scandal

Jeff McCloy in Sydney. The property developer last week told ICAC he had given political donations to two MPs. Source: News Corp Australia
NEWCASTLE Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy, at the centre of corruption allegations, resigned last night effective immediately. 

His resignation came after NSW Premier Mike Baird told Mr McCloy he should “do the honourable thing and resign” after it was revealed last week the property developer had illegally donated to Liberal candidates at the 2011 election.

In a statement to the Newcastle City Council and the people of Newcastle last night, Mr McCloy said: “The controversy surrounding donations I made in the lead-up to the 2011 NSW elections may effect the proper functioning of Newcastle City Council.

“I, therefore, tender my resignation as Lord Mayor of Newcastle effective immediately.

“It has been a privilege serving the people of Newcastle.’’

Mr Baird earlier said the government would take “every legal option available” to see Mr McCloy stand down, after the property developer last week told the Independent Commission Against Corruption he had given political donations to two MPs forced to resign after revelations of corruption and lying.

Mr McCloy’s resignation came as Mr Baird said his government would not be contesting the two central coast seats ­vacated last week by Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell, at by-­elections expected to occur within three to five weeks.

“We do not think we are in a position to ask the community to vote for us,” he said yesterday.

“In the by-election we have forfeited the right, I strongly believe, to seek their endorsement at this time. We need to get our house in order.”

He did not, however, rule out standing candidates at the state election due in March. Mr McCloy said last week he gave at least $20,000 to the now former Newcastle MP Mr Owen, and $10,000 in cash to Mr Cornwell, who held Charlestown.

The refusal to run candidates for the two seats was viewed as a cynical political manoeuvre by the opposition, with the government viewed as being able to avoid a near certain wipe-out in those Hunter Valley seats by not contesting, while giving it a slightly better change at regaining the seats at the March election.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said the move was “extraordinary” and that in modern times no party that had held a seat had abandoned running candidates at a by-election.

“It’s pretty extraordinary and I think it's a demonstration of the act that Mike Baird is raising the white flag,” Mr Robinson said.

Mr McCloy told ICAC on Thursday he had given Swansea MP Garry Edwards between $1500 and $2400 for his election campaign. Mr Edwards has since stood aside from the Liberal Party.

Since 2009 developers have been banned from making political donations in NSW following a string of corruption cases.

theaustralian.com.au 18 Aug 2014

What just one 'Lord Major' to quit over corruption?

There are many more.

Let's just see how the 'authorities' deal with this.

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