The following story and its sequels during the week have been allegations of misconduct. Just thought we should all remember that. We do often forget, don’t we? — 24 February.
MORRIS IEMMA was battling an escalating corruption scandal last night that threatened to draw in two of his most senior ministers and to bring down one of the state’s biggest Labor-controlled councils.
Joe Scimone – a close ally of the Minister for Ports and Waterways, Joe Tripodi, and a friend for 30 years of the former Wollongong lord mayor and current Police Minister, David Campbell – stood down from his job managing property within NSW Maritime yesterday pending the outcome of an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.
There are allegations before the commission that Mr Scimone, a former Wollongong Council officer, paid $30,000 last year to conmen posing as commission officers who were offering to destroy evidence against him…
I won’t bother going into it all, except to say 1) I lived in the Gong for ten years, and it isn’t the first set of exciting local government events down there and 2) my father spent most of his life in the building and development business, losing his business in the early 1960s when he declined to be involved in corrupt practices emanating at that time from the other side of politics.
It’s a high stakes game, and the term “development” is often a euphemism.
One of the more colourful characters in my father’s story ended up as a a Pillar of the Community and a Papal Knight. Such has often been the case in NSW.
My father had had quality building practice drummed into him from childhood. I didn’t inherit the gene, barely passing Year 7 Woodwork, but my brother was a good carpenter in his day. However, I do know my father looked with some alarm at what passed for building practice even in the early 1970s, and, allowing for new materials and technologies, there is little doubt that a close look at most of Sydney’s major “developments” would fill him with horror, and I include the one I live in whose defects even I can see. People have made squillions in the process, of course, and many a person in government has appeared to be the Minister for Very Tall Cheap Buildings.
So these stories have been, I am afraid, the norm rather than the exception. Ethics schmethics, you might say…
The poverty of process and supervision, at the very least, is emerging too in the parallel universe of hospital building lately…