Pearced And Proud

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Local Politics, Media, Politics

I am quite sure that being a politician can be quite a stressful job. I am also sure that being a government Minister is even more stressful.

What I am even more sure of however that being a Finance Minister in state government that has delivered three budget deficits after inheriting a surplus, and privatising seeming everything that they can squeeze a discount price sticker on must test anyone’s stress levels. Having a treasurer that loses a billion dollars down the back of the couch in his second budget would hardly raise confidence levels in your work colleagues either I guess.

However the public elect these MP’s assuming they will be able to handle a bit of stress, and we also assume that the leader of a political party will pick only the members of the highest calibre to represent them on the front bench.

What an epic failure on every level NSW Finance Minister Greg Pearce has been then.

Greg Pearce is due back from stress leave in the coming days.

Pearce suffered from that rare kind of stress that makes you smell like alcohol, makes you take in vast amounts of fluids, and affects your mobility to the point where two staffers are required to assist you from Parliament House and into a car.

However it is to be noted that recent reports regarding the possible introduction of “Drunk Tanks” in NSW are apparently not related to Pearces return from stress leave.

Barry and his "best man for the job" Pearce front the press

Barry and his “best man for the job” Pearce front the press

However things get worse for Mr Pearce.

Before Greg Pearce was allowed to take a month in stress leave he had a hell of a couple of weeks, and that was before the third budget in deficit was announced.

Greg Pearce hit the headlines in June after seemingly hitting the top shelf of someone’s liquor cabinet.

On Thursday 30th May Greg Pearce was granted a pair in the morning after having to leave Parliament during a debate on the absolutely reprehensible “Victims Of Crime Bill” introduced by the Coalition.

Pearce was so drunk that had to be helped out of the building by members of his own staff. Pearce admitted to having a “couple of drinks”, one thing we all know is they weren’t Tony Abbott style shandy’s, what we don’t know is what classes a drink in Pearces eyes, a glass of scotch or a bottle.

Bear in mind this occurred in the morning also. This wasn’t a late night sitting, this was well and truly in the AM.

Maybe Pearce knew what was coming?

On the 6th June Pearce was in the papers once again. This time however it was for rorting travel expenses. Pearce had called in “sick”, then promptly taken a flight to Canberra and booked himself accommodation at the expense of NSW taxpayers . The trip was apparently for a guided tour of vacant paddock and the developer who he was meeting with had no idea he was supposed to be coming. Hmmm.

On the 14th June it was reported that Pearce was giving out jobs to mates.

Ray Whitten, an ex Vice President of Pearce’s  Liberal Branch and a member of one of the worlds smallest groups, the “Friends Of Greg Pearce” group, was appointed to a job worth over $80K a year as the deputy chair of the new Safety, Return to Work and Support Board.  Pearce him to the Workcover Authority of NSW board and Motor Accidents Authority board in 2011.

Then there’s Gavin Bell, the CEO of Mr Pearce’s old law firm Freehills who was appointed to the Return to Work Safely Board.

Pearce also appointed his secretary’s husband Kim Garling, as the WorkCover Independent Review Officer last year, something that pays $300,000.

Not to mention Geoffrey Levy, also from Freehills being appointed to run the government’s property utilisation taskforce. Mr Levy also chairs a company called Cromwell Property who won a tender to buy $405 million worth of property he had recommended the government sell. Hmmm, big bucks indeed, even by Eddie Obeid standards.

How big are them Bucks Greg? That big....

How big are them Bucks Greg? That big….

However what has emerged recently is even more shocking if that is possible.

Pearces Deputy Chief Of Staff Natalie Ward has been forced to quit her job.

The problem with Ward is that her husband David Begg, is a lobbyist with a firm called PremierState.

The below is from the firms website under the title “Our People”.

“PremierState was founded by former NSW Cabinet Minister, Michael Photios and David Begg, Managing Director of David Begg & Associates and a former member of the Liberal Party State Executive. Michael and David are joined by a small team of talented professionals who bring a breadth of knowledge and experience across a range of industries.”

PremierState is also the lobby firm of insurance giants Suncorp and Allianz.

It was revealed that last year Ward and Begg were guests of Suncorp at the Melbourne Cup while Wards boss Greg Pearce, was looking at changes to Compulsory Third Party Insurance.

The reforms to Green Slip insurance that were put forward by Mr Pearce would save insurance companies millions upon millions of dollars, coincidence I’m sure. The proposals were to limit the medical expenses that insurance companies would be exposed to. This means despite an increase in the price of your Green Slip, your level of coverage would plummet.

As a result of the controversy of Millions of dollars being saved by the clients of Greg Pearces Deputy Chief Of Staffs husband, the proposed changes have not passed through parliament and the project has been taken from Pearce and given to Andrew Constance.

Have a look at this pathetic article complete with posed picture from News Ltd complaining about the roads and politicians with Ward and Begg as the subjects. News Ltd paint them as ordinary citizens who are angry at politicians for the state of the roads. Nowhere in the article does it say Ward is a senior staffer of the Finance Minister, or the Begg is a political Lobbyist who spent time on the Liberal State Executive.

It’s easy to understand why people don’t trust the News Ltd press.

Ward, Begg and family turn on the charm for News Ltd

Ward, Begg and family turn on the charm for News Ltd

This whole episode made me wonder about other changes that have happened while Pearce has been Finance Minister, and while Natalie Ward has been a key member of his office giving PremierState unparalleled access to the Finance Ministers office.

Many of you will recall the Fire Levy that is to be added to the bills of those who pay home insurance.

The $300 Fire Levy is another windfall for the insurance companies. The Levy is to cover the cost of extra payouts that insurance companies will have to pay out because the Coalition have been closing Fire Stations across the state.

We the public pay more for what is less service, less safety, and a lot more damage. However the State Government get to save a few quid and the insurance companies get to make out like bandits.

Around NSW as you read this thousands of people who were receiving compensation for serious injuries they suffered while working are now suffering beyond belief. The compensation payments they were receiving from the insurance companies of their employers have stopped, leaving many people desperate, unable to support themselves and their family, unable to pay their mortgage, and unable to have the quality of life they deserve.

Once again however, the insurance companies laugh all the way to the bank. I’m starting to detect a pattern here.

I also noted with interest that on PremierState’s website they proudly state that one of their clients is

“The industry leader in workers compensation”

That is interesting indeed.

The changes to Workers Compensation pushed through NSW Parliament by the Coalition have been extremely controversial. They have been slammed by unions everywhere, they have resulted in the largest public protests seen in NSW this century, and even saw the Coalition booed out of Parliament by angry Police (O’Farrell later made police exempt from the changes).

The insurance companies stand to save Billions of dollars due to these changes.

It would seem the Coalition government in NSW has been put in place to serve the needs of Insurance companies, and the lobby firms of the husbands of Greg Pearces staff.

Desperately Seeking ICAC

Desperately Seeking ICAC

The Fire Levy and the Workers Compensation changes should all be scrapped or at least put on hold while this whole matter is being investigated by ICAC in my view.

ICAC should launch an enquiry into this affair immediately, and if Barry O’Farrell is confident that there is no corruption involved, he should welcome the enquiry.

Bear in mind also, the O’Farrell government is only in its first term and already there appears a need for ICAC to become involved.

I would also like to see the Australian Securities and Investment Commission look into the share trading on some of the key insurance companies since the Coalition came to power, particularly Suncorp and Allianz. It would be interesting to see if there are any interesting and timely purchases by members of the Coalition or their family members. The same would go for Liberal members staffers and employees of PremierState.

With all of this going on it is no wonder Greg Pearce is in need of stress leave.

It’s enough to drive a man to drink…

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Comments
  1. owen1967 says:

    contemporary politics is all about how many taxpayer dollars you can launder off to your supporters, mates and family whilst maintaining the pretence that you are a ‘servant of the people’ and operating in the ‘interest of the public’.

    laundering taxpayer money to big business is rife … Big Business eg. military contractors, insurance companies, Big Pharma … just to name a few … are the major beneficiaries. we’ll look back on this period of history and shake our heads in wonder at how it all go so out of balance … and how blindly complicit the general public turned out to be.

    meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to distract and divert the attention of the taxpayers … who somehow (and it is a constant source of amazement to me) believe the BS and continue to capitulate … forgoing their rights, choices and sanity … handing over the reins (no pun intended) to corrupt, nepotist, crony politicians who dont even do a good job covering up their disgraceful behaviour …

  2. joy cooper says:

    This is disgraceful, Peter, but, unfortunately, so typical of any Coalition government, state or federal. They are all psychopaths who lack any shred of empathy for anyone who is not “of their class/type”.

    This excuse of a state government needs to be dragged out into the fresh air & daylight of an ICAC investigation. Trouble is, O’Farrell has made sure ICAC is currently busy with Labor’s two reprobates so it won’t have time to shine the light on them for the time being.

    Strangely, this article could be about any of the Coalition/LNP state governments we have, at the moment, in Australia. They are all the same. Woe betide us if .they also get in federally.

  3. John Smith says:

    thank you for all the great columns Wixxy.

    another issue regarding the “honorable” Greg Pearce is the recent CTP insurance bill submitted, possibly written by the Insurance lobby, that would have dramatically increased the cost of CTP insruance cover for motorcyclists.

    the bill was not going to get up based on the shooters party not supporting it. it may come back again.

    first time in my life i have ever said anything good about the shooters party, but this CTP insurance is well above levels where it needs to be, margins are huge for these companies….

  4. David says:

    I thought the Sydney Daily Telecrap was the keeper of the States morals and decency, the protector of the taxpayers dollars, the leader in outing negligent, incompetent, lying politicians……oh my apologies, LNP Politicians excepted, they apparently are innocent at all times in all things. Silly old me.

  5. MikeA says:

    I am not very familiar with NSW politics, but dismayed to read stuff like this. I felt a similar despondency with the developer / candidate interactions in last years Melbourne City Council elections.
    I think Australia has to front up to the fact that we are pretty corrupt – it is not just those despotic third world countries

  6. sue says:

    How does the ICAC get cases referred to it? By the govt, the opposition, a citizen, a newspaper article or research by an very good blogger? Good work Wixxy

  7. Saaq Madiq. says:

    It is amazing how the ALP or Greens have to be 100% squeaky clean with every little thing but the Conservatives with their sleazy Main Stream Media maggot buddies can get away with anything. What a low grade bunch of crooks they are. That is why I would never vote Liberal ever.
    Keep up the great work in showing us what a despicable bunch they are.

  8. clarittee says:

    The preferential treatment of the LieNP by some police is an extremely worrying thing. If this is suspected would an approach to a court outside Australia be available, like the ICC.? Surely with a landslide victory not assured for the LieNP now, more of a level playing field might become evident?

  9. […] The Minister that has been sacked is Greg Pearce, someone I have written several articles on previously, the most recent of which can be seen via this link. […]

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