28 September 2019
Newly released documents indicate that Liberal Minister John Sidoti – stood aside while under ICAC investigation – sought a ruling from Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian in May 2019 on his potential conflicts of interest.
However – in an apparent gross dereliction of duty under her own Ministerial Code of Conduct – the Liberal Premier failed to provide such a ruling.
In fact, she failed to act despite the public record showing she knew of Mr Sidoti’s property holdings near planned Metro stations going back to at least March 2017.
ICAC is investigating whether Mr Sidoti has benefited improperly from property holdings at Metro stations at Tallawong and Five Dock, while a Parliamentary Secretary and then Cabinet Minister.
- October 2014 – Mr Sidoti appointed Parliamentary Secretary
- March 2017 – Ms Berejiklian asked eight questions in the NSW Parliament about Mr Sidoti’s property holdings
- March 2018 – Ms Berejiklian and Mr Sidoti stand side by side to announce a potential Metro station at Five Dock, despite Mr Sidoti and his family owning multiple properties in Five Dock at the time. (TV footage here)
- March 2019 – Ms Berejiklian appoints Mr Sidoti as a Cabinet Minister.
A week ago, Labor in the NSW Upper House successfully moved a Call for Papers, forcing the release of key government documents. These were published yesterday, and though many remain privileged and heavily redacted, they show:
- Mr Sidoti finally requested a written ruling by the Premier on May 22, 2019 on potential conflicts of interest – a ruling he was required to obtain several years ago as Parliamentary Secretary given his multiple property holdings near planned Metro stations
- Premier Berejiklian has failed to issue a ruling on the matter.
“The Premier is exposed for a completely lax approach to managing conflicts of interest. She is meant to be the gatekeeper of integrity in government and she’s left the gate wide open” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor Leader in the Legislative Council
“From March 2017, Gladys Berejiklian has known all about John Sidoti’s property holdings and failed to manage their impact on his public role.”
“How on earth did she allow herself to stand side-by-side with John Sidoti in March 2018 to announce a potential Metro stop at Five Dock, then appoint him to Cabinet a year later?”
“Mr Sidoti is five years late making an application for a ruling from the Premier – and what’s worse, she still hasn’t made it.”
“She’s left the management of potential conflicts in John Sidoti’s own hands.”
“These documents raise more questions than they answer – and we await the results of ICAC’s investigation with interest.”