Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ICAC findings could cost Labor 3% of vote - Ninemsn

Corruption findings against NSW Labor figures could cost the party up to three per cent of its primary vote, former premier Nathan Rees says.

That could be enough for Labor to lose the upcoming election, Mr Rees said on Wednesday.

"It's probably dragged our primary vote down in the order of two to three per cent in NSW. If we consider that the election may be won or lost in NSW, then that's a very significant factor in the political landscape," he told ABC television.

Following months of sensational hearings, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption released its report on Wednesday, finding former NSW Labor heavyweights Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald acted corruptly.

Mr Rees, premier from September 2008 to December 2009, was ousted after losing the backing of Obeid's right faction.

He said it was clear their conduct did not meet the standards the public expected.

"They are political players of longstanding. They have very thick hides. It doesn't surprise me that they are contesting these findings. Equally I don't think the findings by the ICAC surprised anyone else," he said.

Mr Rees said the ICAC inquiry had been exhaustive and the players were well known.

"None of them are central to federal Labor," he said.

Mr Rees said people of NSW visited their judgment on NSW Labor for its method of operation at the state election in March 2011 when the party experienced the biggest defeat in Australian political history.

"It may be the case that voters want to see more punishment, in particular as it pertains to people who are subject to these allegations," he said.

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