Ian Macdonald (New South Wales politician)

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This article is about the New South Wales politician. For the Australian federal politician, see Ian Macdonald (Australian politician). For other people with similarly spelled names, see Ian McDonald (disambiguation).
Ian Macdonald
Member of Legislative Council of New South Wales
In office
19 March 1988 – 7 June 2010
Succeeded by Luke Foley
Minister for Primary Industries
In office
3 May 2004 – 17 November 2009
Preceded by Tony Kelly
Succeeded by Steve Whan
Minister for State and Regional Development
In office
2 April 2007 – 5 June 2010
Preceded by David Campbell
Succeeded by Eric Roozendaal
Minister for Major Events
In office
11 March 2010 – 5 June 2010
Succeeded by Kevin Greene
Minister for Mineral and Forest Resources
In office
3 August 2005 – 5 June 2010
Preceded by Tony Kelly
Succeeded by Paul McLeay
Personal details
Born Ian Michael Macdonald
(1949-03-07) 7 March 1949 (age 68)
Political party Australian Labor Party (1972 - 2013)[1]
Spouse(s) Larisa
Alma mater La Trobe University

Ian Michael Macdonald (born 7 March 1949), a former Australian politician, was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council from 1988 to 2010 representing the Australian Labor Party. Between 2003 and 2010, Macdonald held a range of ministerial responsibilities in the Carr, Iemma, Rees, and Keneally ministries.[2] Macdonald, who joined the Labor Party in 1972, had his membership of the party terminated in 2013 for bringing the party into disrepute.[1] After the Independent Commission Against Corruption found that Macdonald acted in a corrupt manner,[3] in November 2014 it was announced that following advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Macdonald will be prosecuted for the offence of misconduct in public office for corruptly issuing of lucrative mining licences at Doyles Creek in the Hunter Valley.[4][5]

Early career and background[edit]

Raised as one of five children by his mother in a single parent household,[6] Macdonald graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in history and worked for the Australian Council of Overseas Aid, and a range of Commonwealth and State government agencies before his election to parliament in 1988.[2]

At the time of entering Parliament, he was a farmer near Carcoar in the Central West of New South Wales.[7]

Political career[edit]

Elected to the Legislative Council in 1998, Macdonald was appointed Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in 2003 and then the Primary Industries portfolio and a range of other portfolios in the first and second Iemma and Rees ministries including Natural Resources, Mineral Resources, State Development, and Energy. However, granted extraordinary powers by Labor State Conference on 17 November 2009, Rees sacked Macdonald (along with others) from the ministry because of Macdonald's efforts to destabilise Rees in his position.[8][9]

Macdonald then played a large part in the sacking of Rees in favour of Keneally.[citation needed] Macdonald was previously a member of the New South Wales Socialist Left faction, but was formally expelled in December 2009 for his role in Rees's downfall.[citation needed] Keneally restored Macdonald to the ministry following her election as Premier, making him the Minister for Major Events, Mineral and Forest Resources, State and Regional Development and Central Coast.

Macdonald was plagued by scandal surrounding a trip to Dubai made in 2008, which led him to resign from the ministry on 4 June 2010[10] on the same day as the resignation of Minister Graham West. Macdonald's Dubai trip was investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) after a government report found he misused public funds.[11]

On 7 June 2010 Macdonald resigned from parliament with immediate effect.[12][13] He was replaced by Luke Foley, the Assistant Deputy Secretary of the New South Wales Labor Party.[14]

ICAC inquiry into alleged corrupt behaviour[edit]

In November 2011 the ICAC commenced an inquiry that heard allegations that Macdonald, while Minister, accepted sexual favours in return for introducing businessman to executives of state-owned energy companies. It was also alleged that property developer Ron Medich acted as a broker for Macdonald and was seeking to do business with government agencies where Macdonald had influence as a Minister.[15] Appearing before the Commission to give evidence in relation to the allegations, Macdonald claimed that he was under the influence of alcohol and suffering the effects of depression at the time of the alleged incident.[16]

In July 2012 Macdonald was suspended by the Australian Labor Party for "conduct contrary to the principles of the party".[17] His membership was subsequently terminated in mid-2013 for bringing the party in disrepute.[1]

In November 2012, the ICAC began a series of investigative hearings relating to Macdonald and the property and mining interests of Eddie Obeid, a former Labor minister and "power broker".[18] This inquiry concerned, among other issues, the circumstances surrounding a decision made in 2008 by Macdonald as the Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Mineral Resources, to open a mining area in the Bylong Valley for coal exploration. These circumstances include whether Macdonald's decision was influenced by Obeid.[19] The witnesses list for the inquiry included former NSW Premiers Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees.[20][21]

On 31 July 2013 the Commission found that Macdonald engaged in corrupt conduct by exercising his ministerial influence to arrange a meeting between businessman Ronald Medich and Country Energy managing director Craig Murray on 15 July 2009, and, prior to the meeting, by soliciting the services of a woman as a reward for arranging the meeting.[22] The Commission also found that Macdonald acted contrary to his public duty as a minister of the Crown by arranging for the creation of the Mount Penny tenement to benefit members of the Obeid family, and that he acted contrary to his public duty as a minister of the Crown by providing members of the Obeid family with confidential information that was to their benefit. Further, the Commission found that Macdonald acted corruptly by deciding to reopen the expressions of interest process for mining exploration licences in order to favour Travers Duncan, and by providing him with confidential information.[23] The Commission recommended that the above matters be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with respect to prosecuting Macdonald.[24][25][26] On reviewing the evidence before the Commission of the financial benefits accrued to the Obeid family, the ICAC provided relevant information to the NSW Crime Commission for such action as it deems appropriate, and the ICAC also disseminated relevant information to the Australian Taxation Office for appropriate action.[23] Macdonald vowed to launch a court challenge against the corruption findings made against him by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.[27] One month later, the ICAC made further findings that Macdonald engaged in corrupt conduct by acting contrary to his duty as a minister of the Crown in granting consent to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd to apply for a coal exploration licence at Doyles Creek and by granting the exploration licence to the company, both grants being substantially for the purpose of benefiting John Maitland, a former official of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. The Commission found that, but for that purpose, Macdonald would not have made those grants.[3][28] In January 2014, the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, announced that the Liberal/National government would introduce legislation into Parliament to cancel the exploration licences for Doyles Creek, Mount Penny and Glendon Brook.[29][30]

The Commission also made findings of corrupt conduct by Obeid and his son, Moses Obeid, John Maitland, and others.[3][31] In November 2014 the ICAC announced that following advice from the DPP, Macdonald will be prosecuted for the offence of misconduct in public office for corruptly issuing of lucrative mining licences at Doyles Creek in the Hunter Valley.[4][5] Maitland is being prosecuted "for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office, in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald". He is also being prosecuted for giving false and misleading evidence to the ICAC.[4] In December 2015, the Supreme Court heard that Macdonald was unable to secure (Legal Aid) funding to pay for legal representation in his criminal trial. The Judge commented that a Dietrich application was a "potential collateral challenge to the trial date."[32] It was estimated that Macdonald's defence legal costs would be between A$250,000 and A$1.5 million.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Harvey, Eliza (6 June 2013). "Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald expelled from Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Mr Ian Michael Macdonald, BA(Hons) MLC". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "ICAC finds corrupt conduct in relation to Doyles Creek coal exploration licence" (Press release). Independent Commission Against Corruption. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Nicholls, Sean (20 November 2014). "Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald prosecuted over Doyles Creek mine deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "ICAC: Former NSW ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald to be prosecuted after corruption findings". ABC News. Australia. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill (No.2) – Second reading" (PDF). Hansard – extract. Legislative Council of New South Wales. 8 June 1988. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "New Minister for Agriculture". The Country Hour. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 April 2003. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Rees crackdown: ministers axed from NSW cabinet". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 November 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  9. ^ Dinneen, Martin (17 November 2009). "Hornery to Keep Fighting". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  10. ^ Hall, Louise (4 June 2010). "Keneally loses another minister". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Corruption watchdog to investigate Macdonald's expenses". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  12. ^ Nicholls, Sean (7 June 2010). "Expenses errors: Macdonald quits NSW parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 10 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Mitchell, Alex (6 June 2010). "The party was over long before 'Macca' jumped". The Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Labor announces Macdonald replacement". ABC News. Australia. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Nicholls, Sean; McClymont, Kate (24 November 2011). "Tiffanie and the minister: Macdonald accepted sexual services arranged by Medich, inquiry hears". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "I couldn't see properly; Macdonald's two bot night with Tiffanie". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Nicholls, Sean (13 July 2012). "Labor axes trio in bid to rebuild". smh.com.au. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Totaro, Paula; Wainwright, Robert (25 February 2003). "Dump the Left, and Eddie Obeid will see you right". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 March 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Public inquiry into circumstances surrounding decision to open Bylong Valley mining area for coal exploration". Operation Jasper (Press release). Independent Commission Against Corruption. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Witness list for the Operation Jasper Segment" (PDF). Operations Indus/Jasper/Acacia Public Inquiry (Press release). Independent Commission Against Corruption. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  21. ^ Wells, Jamelle (13 November 2012). "Iemma tells ICAC of relationship between Obeid, Macdonald" (transcript, video, audio). ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "ICAC finds former minister Ian Macdonald corrupt over rewards for facilitating meeting with energy executive" (Press release). Independent Commission Against Corruption. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "ICAC finds corrupt conduct over Mount Penny tenement" (Press release). Independent Commission Against Corruption. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Shanahan, Leo (31 July 2013). "Ian Macdonald, Eddie Obeid facing charges after being found by ICAC to have acted corruptly". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  25. ^ Wells, Jamelle; Gerathy, Sarah (31 July 2013). "ICAC recommends charges against former NSW Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  26. ^ Olding, Rachel; Waters, Georgia (31 July 2013). "Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald acted corruptly, ICAC finds". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  27. ^ Gerathy, Sarah; Oriti, Thomas (31 July 2013). "Ian Macdonald vows to launch court challenge against corruption findings". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  28. ^ Besser, Linton; Nicholls, Sean (30 August 2013). "Ian Macdonald found corrupt by ICAC again". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  29. ^ Kennedy, Jean; and staff (21 January 2014). "NSW to cancel licences for Hunter Valley mines at centre of ICAC corruption findings". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  30. ^ Nicholls, Sean; Whitbourn, Michaela (20 January 2014). "NSW government cancels mining licences tainted by Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald corruption scandals". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "ICAC finds corrupt conduct in relation to benefit to former minister" (Press release). Independent Commission Against Corruption. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  32. ^ Hall, Louisa (4 December 2015). "Disgraced former MP Ian Macdonald fails to secure funding for criminal trial". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  33. ^ Merritt, Chris (27 January 2016). "Refusal of legal aid risks stalling trial of Ian Macdonald". The Australian. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Amery
Minister for Agriculture
2003–2004
Succeeded by
himself
as Minister for Primary Industries
Preceded by
Eddie Obeid
Minister for Fisheries
2003–2004
Succeeded by
Steve Whan
Preceded by
himself
as Minister for Agriculture
Minister for Primary Industries
2004–2009
Preceded by
Craig Knowles
Minister for Natural Resources
2005–2007
Succeeded by
himself
as Minister for Mineral and Forest Resources
Preceded by
Kerry Hickey
Minister for Mineral Resources
2005–2009
Preceded by
Joe Tripodi
Minister for Energy
2007–2009
Succeeded by
John Robertson
Preceded by
Morris Iemma
Minister for State Development
2007–2009
Succeeded by
himself
as Minister for State and Regional Development
Preceded by
himself
as Minister for Mineral Resources and
as Minister for Natural Resources
Minister for Mineral and Forest Resources
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Steve Whan
Preceded by
himself
as Minister for State Development
Minister for State and Regional Development
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Eric Roozendaal
Preceded by
Nathan Rees
Minister for the Central Coast
2009–2010
Succeeded by
John Robertson
New title Minister for Major Events
2010
Succeeded by
Kevin Greene