| 07.12,11. 05:11 PM |
Macdonald suspended from NSW ALP
December 07, 2011
DISGRACED former Labor minister Ian Macdonald has been suspended from the NSW Labor Party.
The NSW Labor branch said this afternoon that Mr Macdonald's membership had been suspended following a request by NSW Labor leader John Mr Robertson.
Mr Robertson wrote to the NSW Labor general secretary Sam Dastyari on Tuesday, asking that Mr Macdonald, who is being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), be suspended from the party in "light of the alleged actions".
Mr Macdonald's membership will be reconsidered pending the conclusion of the investigation by ICAC, the branch said in a statement.
The former minister is being investigated for setting up meetings between electricity bosses and businessman Ron Medich in return for a meeting with a prostitute, paid for by Medich who is on bail after being charged with murder.
ICAC is investigating allegations that property tycoon Ron Medich arranged for Mr Macdonald - then the energy minister - to spend time with a prostitute as a reward for setting up meetings with executives from Country Energy and Energy Australia.
Mr Macdonald has admitted to receiving a massage from the prostitute at a Sydney hotel, but denied having sexual relations with her.
Mr Robertson last week said he was "appalled" by the allegations.
"There is no place for this in politics," he told ABC Television at the time.
"I can tell you that there is no place for anyone behaving like that in the Labor party under my leadership."
The granting of an exploration licence in the Hunter Valley to mining company NuCoal Resources by Mr Macdonald has also been referred to ICAC by the parliament, after a report raised questions about the tender process.
Mr Macdonald announced the approval of the Doyles Creek licence in December 2008 after inviting only the former national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, John Maitland, to tender.
Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd was chaired by Mr Maitland who also held an 11 per cent share of the company.
NuCoal bought Doyles Creek Mining in February 2010.
Mr Macdonald resigned as State Development Minister under Kristina Keneally's leadership in June 2010, following claims he misused taxpayer funds to help pay for a trip to the Middle East.
He did not recontest his seat of Campbelltown, in Sydney's southwest, at the March election.