Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Australian Federal Election 2016: Kristina Keneally's open letter to Cabinet Secretary Senator Arthur Sinodinos
The Guardian, Open letter to Senator Arthur Sinodinos, from Kristina Keneally, 29 April 2016:
Woody Allen said 80% of life is showing up.
Every single day of my ministerial career I showed up. I did my job. I answered the hard questions. I faced the opposition, the media and the public.
Ask any NSW press gallery journalist. As premier I ended every media conference by asking, “Are there any more questions?”, and the journalists answering no.
Ask your fellow Coalition colleagues in NSW. Every time they called an inquiry, no matter how politically motivated, I showed up. An upper house inquiry into the murder of Michael McGurk: I showed up. An upper house inquiry into the sale of electricity assets: I showed up.
After Barry O’Farrell was elected he instituted a second electricity transactions inquiry, conducted by Justice Tamberlin. I volunteered to show up to that as well, but was never called.
Not one of these inquiries made adverse findings. If anything, these processes vindicated my actions. Tamberlin found my government acted with probity in regard to the electricity transactions and achieved the best possible result for taxpayers.
As for planning, there was absolutely no evidence uncovered of any planning official involved in McGurk’s murder. Later Icac found no evidence of corruption in the NSW planning system while I was minister.
So why won’t you turn up to the Senate and answer questions about the fundraising activities of the NSW Liberal party in the 2011 NSW state election?
Did you know the Free Enterprise Foundation was taking funds from prohibited donors and sending them to the NSW Liberal party? If you didn’t know, why not? You were the honorary treasurer and finance committee chair, after all.
Who conceived this scheme? What legal advice did you receive? What advice did you give to candidates in regards to NSW fundraising laws and prohibited donors? Was O’Farrell aware of the washing of funds from prohibited donors?
Here’s the question I really want you to answer: why the hell did the Liberal party undertake such stupid, questionable and potentially illegal acts in that election? I led a 16-year-old government that was trailing some pretty high profile scandals. Surely you could have just passed the plate for gold coin donations at the Ku-ring-gai and Manly Liberal party branch meetings and still won the election.
Was it hubris? Was it immaturity? Was it carelessness? Was it idiocy?
Your party’s fundraising tipped more money into key seats and likely ended the careers of several good, hardworking Labor MPs who were simply outspent in the campaign. Now we know why. The funds were ill-gotten. The NSW Liberal party subverted democracy. Do you care?
I know you are at both the beginning and the end of your political career. After years of supporting others as an adviser, you finally have your chance to be the man, to make the decisions, to run the show and be seen to run the show.
But this is also the end. You aren’t young. This is your second chance. There won’t be a third go. You are likely terrified this is how your whole career will be defined.
You seem willing to do whatever it takes, including disrespecting the Senate when it exercises its proper authority, in the hope you can avoid the tough questions.
You can’t. Not forever.
I didn’t always believe in karma, but that bottle of vintage Grange a few years ago reminded me that people, more often than not, reap what they sow.