| 19.02,20. 05:15 PM |
Eddie Obeid lobbied then NSW premier Morris Iemma to promote Ian Macdonald, Sydney court hears
Photo: Eddie Obeid (left) and his former colleague Ian Macdonald (right) are standing trial. (AAP)
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Former NSW Labor minister Eddie Obeid lobbied a then-premier to promote his colleague Ian Macdonald, a Sydney court has heard.
Mr Obeid, 76, his son Moses, 50, and former NSW Labor minister Mr Macdonald are standing trial over accusations they conspired together to secure the Obeid family farm a coal mining licence in the Bylong Valley in Mudgee in 2009.
The prosecution case is that the Obeid family stood to make $60 million from the deal by selling their farm for four times what they paid for it and by having a secret stake in a mining company.
The Supreme Court heard allegations Mr Macdonald, who was then the mining minister, leaked information in breach of his confidentiality obligations to repay Eddie Obeid for past political favours and to secure preferential future treatment.
The first crown witness to give evidence, former premier Morris Iemma told the court Eddie Obeid and Mr Macdonald had a close working relationship despite being from different party factions.
Mr Iemma, who was NSW premier between 2005 and 2008, said Eddie Obeid belonged to the dominant Terrigal sub-faction of the right and Mr Macdonald belonged to the hard-left sub-faction.
He said Eddie Obeid told him Mr Macdonald was someone "worthy of promotion to senior positions in the government".
"They had a cordial good relationship and appeared to work well together," Mr Iemma said.
Photo: Former NSW premier Morris Iemma resigned in 2008. (AAP: Paul Miller)
The former Labor premier said his view of Mr Macdonald at the time was that he was a minister who "embraced his portfolio".
"He was a well-performing minister, energetic in his duties," he said.
Mr Iemma told the court he resigned as premier in September 2008 and was not able to collect his personal belongings.
Mr Iemma left after losing the support of caucus for a ministerial reshuffle.
"I was escorted from the premises," he told the court.
The judge-only trial continues before Justice Elizabeth Fullerton and will hear from more than 50 other witnesses, including Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.