Tony Kelly (politician)

Last updated


Tony Kelly

ALGA
Member of the
New South Wales Legislative Council
In office
17 September 1997 6 June 2011
Preceded by Peter Watkins
Minister for Planning
In office
8 December 2009 28 March 2011
Preceded by Kristina Keneally
Succeeded by Brad Hazzard
New South Wales Minister for Lands
In office
3 June 2004 28 March 2011
Preceded by Richard Amery
Succeeded byBrad Hazzard
New South Wales Minister for Infrastructure
In office
8 December 2009 28 March 2011
Preceded by Joe Tripodi
Succeeded byBrad Hazzard
Personal details
Born
Anthony Bernard Kelly

(1948-08-25) 25 August 1948 (age 72)
NationalityAustralian
Political party Labor Party (circa 1975–2011) [1] [2]
Spouse(s)Anne Kelly
Children2 sons

Anthony Bernard Kelly (born 25 August 1948) is an Australian former politician, who was a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council representing the Labor Party from 1997 until 2011.

Contents

Following an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2011, [3] it was found that Kelly engaged in corrupt conduct during the government purchase of a beach property in northern Sydney. Kelly did not face criminal charges. [4] The Director of Public Prosecutions decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution for forgery and misconduct in public office. [5]

Early life and background

Kelly was educated at St Mary's Catholic School in Wellington, New South Wales and at St Stanislaus' College in Bathurst, New South Wales. [1] He undertook further studies in local government administration at Mitchell College of Advanced Education, now Charles Sturt University.

Kelly worked for 20 years with the Wellington Council, becoming General Manager. [1]

Political career

Kelly entered the Legislative Council in September 1987 and served until the 1988 election, [6] which his party lost. Kelly re-entered the Council in September 1997 and was re-elected at the 2003 and 2011 elections for eight-year terms; resigning from the Council with immediate effect on 6 June 2011. [7] [8]

During his time in parliament, Kelly served as Minister Assisting the Minister for Natural Resources (Lands), 2003 to 2004; Minister for Local Government, 2003 to 2005; Minister for Emergency Services, 2003 to 2009; Minister for Rural Affairs, 2003 to 2008; Minister for Lands, 2004 to 2011; Minister Assisting the Minister for Natural Resources, 2005; Minister for Juvenile Justice, 2005 to 2008; Minister for Justice, 2005 to 2008; Minister for Police, 2008 to 2009; and Minister for Planning and Minister for Infrastructure, 2009 to 2011. He was leader of the House from 2003 to 2011. [6]

Corruption - Unauthorised Purchase of Property at Currawong

ICAC Investigation

On 20 June 2011, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced [9] that it would hold a public inquiry into matters arising from the purchase of property at Currawong, Pittwater by the NSW Government.

ICAC held a public inquiry over 11 days in June and July 2011. The ICAC Commissioner, the Hon David Ipp AO QC, presided at the public inquiry, at which 21 witnesses gave evidence. ICAC concluded its investigation in mid-December. In sum, ICAC found that Kelly engaged in corrupt conduct with respect to the purchase of the property by the NSW Government. [4] The ICAC found that Kelly, as the then Minister for Lands, authorised the purchase even though he knew he was not authorised to do so, and that he backdated a letter to before the caretaker period of government commenced, [10] [11] knowing that it would be used by a public servant to falsely represent that written authority had been given to authorise the purchase. [3] [12] [13] The allegations generated significant publicity. [14] [15] That public servant was the Director General of the Department of Lands, Warwick Watkins. On release of the findings, the Labor Party immediately moved to terminate Kelly's membership. [2] [16]

More specifically, ICAC reported that after the contract for purchase of the Currawong property was executed and exchanged on 15 March 2011. However, given the caretaker period of government when such actions are not to be undertaken, questions were soon raised within the government about whether the purchase was authorized. On 17 March 2011 the Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet tasked the Internal Audit Bureau (IAB) to investigate Watkins' authority to purchase the site. The following day, the Director General stood Watkins down and met with Watkins where he was told that that he had not been authorized to purchase the land. Subsequently Watkins contacted Kelly, then Minister for Lands, and asked if he would sign a letter - backdating it - confirming their alleged understanding that Watkins was authorized to purchase the Currawong property. The effect of the backdating of the letter was to convey that authority was given on 28 February 201, prior to the exchange of contracts. Thus, the provision of the backdated letter to the IAB investigator finding that Watkins was authorized to execute the contracts for the purchase of the site by Kelly. [17]

ICAC’s key findings were as follows:

• Kelly and Watkins engaged in corrupt conduct in relation to a backdated letter that was used to claim authority for the purchase of property at Currawong.

• Kelly created the letter which was later used by himself, Watkins and the LPMA's then corporate secretary and chief financial officer, Robert Costello, to mislead public officials into believing the letter was genuine.

• Corrupt conduct findings were found against Costello.

• The four former Unions NSW properties at Currawong, Pittwater, were purchased by Watkins on behalf of the NSW Government from then owner, Eco Villages Australia Pty Limited. Contracts were exchanged for the $12.2-million purchase on 15 March 2011.

• Watkins was not authorized to commit the NSW Government to the purchase of the Currawong site.

• Watkins engaged in corrupt conduct by purchasing the land. [18]

ICAC’s opinion was that the matter be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Watkins, Kelly and Costello for various criminal offences. [19] [4]

Watkins claimed the letter to Kelly dated 25 February 2011 from the premier Kristina Keneally authorized the purchase of the site. However, ICAC found that the Premier’s letter only authorized negotiations and did not authorize Watkins to purchase the site. ICAC reported that after the contract for purchase of the Currawong property was executed and exchanged on 15 March 2011. However, given the caretake period of government when such actions are not to be undertaken, questions were soon raised within the government about whether the purchase was authorized. On 17 March 2011 the Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet NSW engaged the Internal Audit Bureau (IAB) to investigate Watkins' authority to purchase the site. The following day, the Director General stood Watkins down and met with Watkins where he was told that that he had not been authorized to purchase the land. Subsequently Watkins contacted Kelly and asked if he would sign a letter - backdating it - confirming their alleged understanding that Watkins was authorized to purchase the Currawong property. The effect of the backdating of the letter was to convey that authority was given on 28 February 201, prior to the exchange of contracts. Thus, the provision of the backdated letter to the IAB investigator finding that Watkins was authorized to execute the contracts for the purchase of the site by Kelly. [20] [21]

Director of Public Prosecutions Advice

In December 2011, the DPP advised ICAC that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal charges against Kelly. ICAC accepted the DPP’s advice. Thus, prosecution of Kelly did not proceed. The DPP also advised against prosecuting Costello. Arising from ICAC’s investigation and DPP advice, it was only Watkins that would face criminal charges. [22] [23]

Further Corruption

In August 2017, Former NSW Labor ministers Kelly, Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi were found by ICAC to have prepared a "deceptive" cabinet minute to benefit the Obeid family. ICAC’s Operation Credo, its investigation into Obeid-linked company Australian Water Holdings. ICAC found Tripodi was "doing Mr Obeid's bidding" in backing attempts by AWH to enter into a lucrative public-private partnership with the state government in 2010. ICAC reported that the Obeid family had a $3 million stake in AWH, despite their claims the money was advanced as a loan. ICAC recommended the DPP charge Kelly, Obeid, Tripodi and Gilbert Brown with misconduct while in public office, which is a criminal offence carrying a jail term, Brown was a senior member of Kelly’s staff. [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] Obeid has been the subject of multiple ICAC investigations for corrupt conduct to benefit his family. He was sentenced in December 2016 to five years in jail with a non-parole period of three years. [29] In Dec 2019, Obeid was released from jail. [30]

See also

Related Research Articles

Orange Grove affair

The Orange Grove affair was a political scandal in Australia concerning the dealings of the New South Wales state Australian Labor Party government with multinational corporation The Westfield Group. It resulted from a court decision in 2004 to force the closure of the Orange Grove shopping centre after a zoning dispute, with the loss of approximately 200 jobs. Westfield, who owned a nearby shopping centre, had challenged the legitimacy of the Orange Grove centre, which was operating on land not zoned for this purpose.

Independent Commission Against Corruption (New South Wales) Anti-corruption agency in New South Wales, Australia

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), an independent agency of the Government of New South Wales, is responsible for eliminating and investigating corrupt activities and enhancing the integrity of the public administration in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The Commission was established in 1989, pursuant to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act, 1988 (NSW), modeled after the ICAC in Hong Kong.

Morris Iemma Australian politician and Former Premier of New South Wales

Morris Iemma is a former Australian politician who was the 40th Premier of New South Wales. He served from 3 August 2005 to 5 September 2008. From Sydney, Iemma attended the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney. A member of the Labor Party, he was first elected to the Parliament of New South Wales at the 1991 state election, having previously worked as a trade union official. From 1999, Iemma was a minister in the third and fourth ministries led by Bob Carr. He replaced Carr as premier and Leader of the New South Wales Labor Party in 2005, following Carr's resignation. Iemma led Labor to victory at the 2007 state election, albeit with a slightly reduced majority. He resigned as premier in 2008, after losing the support of caucus, and left parliament shortly after, triggering a by-election. He was replaced as premier by Nathan Rees.

The Surveyor-General of New South Wales is the primary government authority responsible for land and mining surveying in New South Wales.

Joseph Guerino Tripodi, a former Australian politician, was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Fairfield for the Labor Party between 1995 and 2011. He was Minister for Finance, Infrastructure, Regulatory Reform, Ports and Waterways under former Premier Nathan Rees. He was a controversial figure during his time in politics, known as a factional boss, within the NSW Labor Right whose Terrigals sub-faction has twice dumped the sitting Labor Premier during 2007 and 2010. On 11 November 2010, he announced his decision to not contest the 2011 state election. Tripodi had his membership of the Labor Party terminated in June 2014 after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found that Tripodi acted in corrupt conduct by deliberately failing to disclose to his Cabinet colleagues his awareness of the Obeid family's financial interests in Circular Quay leases. In 2016 ICAC made a second finding of corruption against Tripodi for leaking confidential Treasury information to benefit Nathan Tinkler's business interests, and recommended charges. In 2017 ICAC made a third finding of corruption against Tripodi for using his ministerial position to try to award a government water contract to benefit the Obeid family.

Ian Michael Macdonald, a former Australian politician, was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council from 1988 to 2010 representing the Labor Party. Between 2003 and 2010, Macdonald held a range of ministerial responsibilities in the Carr, Iemma, Rees, and Keneally ministries. Macdonald, who joined the Labor Party in 1972, had his membership of the party terminated in 2013 for bringing the party into disrepute.

Eric Roozendaal, a former Australian politician, was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, serving between 2004 and 2013. He is a former General Secretary of the Labor Party. Roozendaal was the Treasurer of New South Wales, Minister of State and Regional Development, Minister of Ports and Waterways, Minister for the Illawarra, and Special Minister of State in the Rees and Keneally governments.

Kristina Keneally Australian politician; former Premier of New South Wales and current Senator

Kristina Kerscher Keneally is an Australian politician who has been a Senator for New South Wales since February 2018, representing the Labor Party. Since 2019, she has served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, and Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. She previously served as Premier of New South Wales from 2009 to 2011, the first woman to hold the position.

Edward Moses Obeid is a retired Australian politician, and convicted criminal, who served as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council between 1991 and 2011, representing the Labor Party. He was the Minister for Fisheries and the Minister for Mineral Resources from 1999–2003. Prior to the March 2015 expiry of his term in the Legislative Council, Obeid announced his decision to retire early on 10 May 2011, citing family reasons.

Angela D'Amore, a former Australian politician, was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing the electorate of Drummoyne from 2003 until 2011.

Chris Hartcher New South Wales politician

Christopher "Chris" Peter Hartcher is an Australian politician. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2015, representing the electorates of Gosford (1988-2007) and Terrigal (2007-2015). He represented the Liberal Party for most of his career, serving as its deputy state leader from 2002 to 2003, and in the O'Farrell Ministry as Minister for Resources and Energy, Special Minister of State and Minister for the Central Coast. In 2013, he resigned to sit as an independent following his implication in an ongoing Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry, and retired at the 2015 state election.

Michael Joseph Gallacher, an Australian politician, was the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Vice-President of the Executive Council in the O'Farrell government and Baird government from 2011 to 2014; the Minister for the Central Coast from December 2013 to May 2014; and the Minister for Industrial Relations in the Baird government from April to May 2014. Gallacher has been a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since 1996. He was the Minister for the Hunter between 2011 and 2014.

Nathan Rees Australian politician

Nathan Rees is a former Australian politician who served as the 41st Premier of New South Wales and parliamentary leader of the New South Wales division of the Labor Party from September 2008 to December 2009. Rees was a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Toongabbie for Labor from 2007 to 2015.

Adam Walters Australian journalist

Adam Walters is a Walkley Award winning Australian journalist and author. He was also a political adviser to former New South Wales Premier, Morris Iemma.

The Australian Labor Party , also known as NSW Labor and Country Labor in regional areas, is the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party. The parliamentary leader is elected from and by the members of the party caucus, comprising all party members in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The party factions have a strong influence on the election of the leader. The leader's position is dependent on the continuing support of the caucus and the leader may be deposed by failing to win a vote of confidence of parliamentary members. By convention, the premier sits in the Legislative Assembly, and is the leader of the party controlling a majority in that house. The party leader also typically is a member of the Assembly, though this is not a strict party constitutional requirement. Barrie Unsworth, for example, was elected party leader while a member of the Legislative Council. He then transferred to the Assembly by winning a seat at a by-election.

Members of the New South Wales Legislative Council who served in the 55th Parliament were elected at the 2007 and 2011 elections. As members serve eight-year terms, half of the Council was elected in 2007 and did not face re-election in 2011, and the members elected in 2011 did not face re-election until 2019. The President was Don Harwin. Hatzistergos resigned, Kelly resigned, Roozendaal sat as an Independent, Faehrmann resigned, Ficarra sat as an Independent, Gallacher sat as an Independent, </ref></ref>

Bart Edward Bassett is an Australian politician. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 2011 to 2015, representing the electorate of Londonderry. He was elected as a member of the Liberal Party, but resigned to sit as an independent in August 2014 following revelations about his conduct at hearings of the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). He was formerly mayor of the City of Hawkesbury from 2007 until 2012.

Jeffrey Raymond 'Jeff' McCloy is an Australian property developer, who was Lord Mayor of Newcastle between 2012 and 2014. He has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Newcastle. Before entering politics, he ran his own construction company, which built John Hunter Hospital. In 2008 he won the Hunter Business Chamber 2008 Business Person of the Year, and in 2009 he won the City of Newcastle Medal.

Kathryn Anne McClymont is a journalist who writes for The Sydney Morning Herald. Notable for exposing corruption in politics, trade unions, sport, and horse racing, she has received death threats because of her exposés. She has won many awards for her reporting, including the 2002 Gold Walkley Award for her work on the Canterbury Bulldogs salary cap breaches. She is best known for her series of articles and book about New South Wales Labor Party politician Eddie Obeid.

Warwick Arthur Watkins (1950–2019) was a senior New South Wales public servant and former member the Australia national rugby union team, the Wallabies.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Kelly, Anthony. "Inaugural Speech, Members" (PDF). Hansard: New South Wales Legislative Council (PDF). Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  2. 1 2 "Ex-minister faces forgery charge over $12m property buy: ICAC". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  3. 1 2 "ICAC has confirmed it will investigate former NSW Labor minister Tony Kelly over the sale of Currawong". The Australian. AAP. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 Shanahan, Leo (13 December 2011). "Ex-Labor minister Tony Kelly may face charges". The Australian. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  5. Nicholls, Sean (1 August 2013). "SMH". SMH. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  6. 1 2 "Mr (Tony) Anthony Bernard Kelly". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  7. "Former NSW minister Tony Kelly resigns". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  8. "Former NSW minister quits politics". ABC News. Australia. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  9. "ICAC public inquiry into matters arising from Currawong property purchase". Current investigations: Operation Napier. Independent Commission Against Corruption. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  10. Tranter, Chi (6 July 2011). "Kelly backdated letter at café, ICAC told". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  11. Shanahan, Leo (12 July 2011). "Paying the political price for Currawong". The Australian. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  12. Nicholls, Sean (20 June 2011). "ICAC to investigate former minister Tony Kelly over purchase of Currawong". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  13. "Former minister and ex-LPMA chief corrupt, finds ICAC". ICAC Media Releases. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  14. Nicholls, Sean (22 March 2011). "Labor hit by property scandal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  15. Shanahan, Leo (8 July 2011). "Former planning minister Tony Kelly vowed to delve into land sale probe". The Australian. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  16. Foschia, Liz (12 December 2011). "Kelly engaged in corrupt conduct, ICAC finds". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  17. https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/2011-media-releases/former-minister-and-ex-lpma-chief-corrupt-finds-icac
  18. ICAC, 2011. ICAC REPORT Investigation into the unauthorised purchase of property at Currawong by the Chief Executive of the Land and Property Management Authority, December 2011. www.icac.nsw.gov.au
  19. https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/2011-media-releases/former-minister-and-ex-lpma-chief-corrupt-finds-icac
  20. https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/2011-media-releases/former-minister-and-ex-lpma-chief-corrupt-finds-icac
  21. ICAC, 2011. ICAC REPORT Investigation into the unauthorised purchase of property at Currawong by the Chief Executive of the Land and Property Management Authority, December 2011. www.icac.nsw.gov.au
  22. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/tony-kelly-escapes-prosecution-over-currawong-purchase-20130801-2r0vl.html
  23. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-01/no-charges-to-be-laid-against-tony-kelly/4859078
  24. https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/newsletter/issue50/credo.html
  25. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/03/icac-finds-that-eddie-obeid-joe-tripodi-and-tony-kelly-engaged-in-corrupt-conduct
  26. https://www.wellingtontimes.com.au/story/4830930/tony-kelly-among-trio-caught-up-in-corruption-findings/
  27. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/exlabor-ministers-joe-tripodi-and-tony-kelly-found-corrupt-in-bid-to-enrich-eddie-obeid-20170802-gxo4ux.html
  28. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/icac-operation-credo-report-fresh-corruption-findings-against-obeid-tripodi-and-kelly-20170803-gxo7zy.html
  29. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-15/eddie-obeid-sentenced-five-years-jail-misconduct-public-office/8122720
  30. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/14/eddie-obeid-disgraced-former-nsw-labor-minister-released-from-prison

 

Political offices
Preceded by
Harry Woods
Minister for Local Government
2003 2005
Succeeded by
Kerry Hickey
Preceded by
Kristina Keneally
Minister for Planning
2009 2011
Succeeded by
Brad Hazzard
as Minister for Planning and Infrastructure