Also significantly, [Counsel Assisting Geoffrey]Watson [SC] has declared that although the ICAC has interviewed O’Farrell on camera (O’Farrell acknowledged an association with Di Girolamo), ”we have found no evidence to implicate” him in any corruption.
Watson also “cleared” former Liberal finance minister Greg Pearce and former Labor treasurer Michael Costa, who served as chairman of AWH for a time after Sinodinos.
But Watson did not “clear” Sinodinos, now a Senator and Assistant Treasurer in the Abbott Federal Government.
“It’s presently difficult to offer observations on the conduct of Mr Sinodinos. He has other involvements which will come under scrutiny in Operation Spicer,” Watson said.
At the moment the Prime Minister is standing by Senator Sinodinos. Sinodinos denies impropriety and is entitled to the presumption of innocence, as are all the adversely named so far at the ICAC ’s current investigation.
As previously reported, ICAC hearings are inquisitorial proceedings held in public after preliminary and extensive in camera inquiry. It is likely Sinodinos has already been asked in to assist and has answered questions under oath.
He will have to endure a painful wait to see exactly what the ICAC, which has coercive powers, has on him. There was an audible sucking in of breath when Watson remarked that it’s “difficult to offer observations on the conduct of Mr Sinodinos”.
Although Watson has a headline-grabbing descriptive ability it would be an act of cruelty and irresponsibility to use these words without full consideration of their impact.
In the weeks and months ahead the constant media coverage will re-confirm the public’s worst fears about what really goes on behind the closed doors of government.
The Liberal Party will stand besmirched and tainted, its high moral ground destroyed after five years of advantageous revelation.