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Barry O'Farrell quits as NSW Premier over ICAC ‘memory fail’

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has rocked the Liberal Party by quitting over evidence contradicting his earlier…

New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell has resigned over evidence tendered to an ICAC inquiry. AAP/Sophie Tarr

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has rocked the Liberal Party by quitting over evidence contradicting his earlier denial to the Independent Commission Against Corruption that he was given a $3000 bottle of Grange by the chief of the company lobbying for a Sydney Water contract.

O’Farrell, premier since 2011, had flatly rejected testimony that he had received the 1959 wine from his birth year or thanked the CEO of Australian Water Holdings, Nick Di Girolamo, for it.

O’Farrell said today he had been advised overnight about a thank you note from him to Di Girolamo to be presented to ICAC.

He continued to flatly deny remembering the bottle of 1959 Grange and said he could not explain what had happened to it.

“I’ve accepted that I’ve had a massive memory fail, I still can’t explain either the arrival of a gift that I have no recollection of or its absence, which I certainly still can’t fathom.

“But I accept the consequences. In an orderly way, a new leader will be elected to take on the position of Premier of NSW.”

“I do accept that there is a thank you note signed by me, and as someone who believes in accountability, in responsibility, I accept the consequences of my actions,” O’Farrell said.

The note said: “Dear Nick and Jodie, We wanted to thank you for your kind note and the wonderful wine. 1959 was a very good year, even if it is getting even further away! Thanks for all your support. Kind regards, Barry and Rosemary”.

O'Farrell’s resignation, which will be formalised next week, comes a year before the next NSW election and leaves the state Treasurer Mike Baird as favourite to be the next premier. Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian is also being mentioned.

Earlier in the ICAC inquiry it was made clear that O'Farrell was not involved in any wrong-doing in relation to the dealings of Australian Water Holdings and its lobbying for the Sydney Water contract.

O'Farrell insisted today that his evidence to ICAC on Tuesday was “evidence to the best best of my knowledge” which he believed was “truthful”.

“In no way did I seek to mislead, wilfully or otherwise, the Independent Commission Against Corruption. But this has clearly been a significant memory fail on my part, albeit within weeks of coming to office, but I accept the consequences of my actions.”

He said he would organise a parliamentary Liberal party meeting to choose his successor next week.

He also said he supported the process of ICAC - “a body that I’ve always supported throughout my career”.

Barry O'Farrell’s signed thankyou note. AAP/ICAC

Prime minister Tony Abbott strongly defended O’Farrell, describing his resignation as an example of honour and integrity at a very high level.

“We are seeing an act of integrity, an act of honour, the like of which we have rarely seen in Australian politics. I admire him tremendously for this, although I deeply regret the necessity for it,” Abbott told a news conference.

He said he had enormous respect and admiration for O’Farrell who had been a friend of his for two decades and had been a great servant for the Liberal Party, the people of New South Wales and the people of Australia.

Abbott insisted the Premier had “innocently, inadvertently” misled ICAC and reacted angrily when a journalist asked him whether he trusted the NSW government which is “proving to be corrupt” to deliver the infrastructure he was announcing for the proposed second Sydney airport.

Abbott said it was “an unjustified smear” and demanded that the comment be withdrawn and apologised for or evidence be provided.

At ICAC, counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson, said there had been a “pretty substantial development” overnight and tended documents.

“One is an envelope addressed in we believe the handwriting of Mr O'Farrell … to Mr and Mrs Di Girolamo,” Watson said.

“The second page is a copy of the front of a card emanating from the NSW Parliament.

“The third is a note we believe in the handwriting of Mr O'Farrell and on the card issued from the office of the Premier of NSW thanking Mr and Mrs Di Girolamo for their gift, being a bottle of wonderful wine from 1959,” He said.

At ICAC on Tuesday O'Farrell said he had not received the wine and then at a news conference later he repeatedly denied it had arrived at his home and said there could have been no thank you note because there was no gift.

Join the conversation

121 Comments sorted by

  1. David Stein

    Businessman

    Hartcher, Sinodinos, and now O'Farrell. What can one make of all this? Is this perhaps 'Royal Commission stuff' as Alan Jones might say?
    O'Farrell's campaign was all about moving on from the Obeids and exactly the sort of outrageous influence peddling we are seeing come out of ICAC, and which the Liberal Party so successfully associated with the ALP.
    It's the ultimate irony that O'Farrell himself is caught in a trap of his own making.
    And all this so soon after the Liberals took office both in NSW and Federally. It took Labor four terms for the rot to really set in in NSW. For O'Farrell, his lapse occurred almost immediately after taking office.

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    1. Thomas Liszt

      Systems analyst

      In reply to David Stein

      Suggest to rather read this account by Thomas Clarke.

      https://theconversation.com/ofarrell-fell-short-of-basic-standards-in-business-and-public-life-25705

      Where he says:
      "O’Farrell fell short of basic standards in business and public life".
      Correct.

      He states: "Many will be sad to see Barry O’Farrell go".
      True. Everyone that is, who falls short of basic standards in business and public life.

      He also refers to a report in "The Daily Telegraph" that no such declaration was made".
      Not a good idea to base anything on what's written in Murdoch's "Daily Terror".

      The previous ALP government had their snouts in the trough. but the current mob of Knights and Dames (Federal and State) have made it an art form!

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Now, now Peter, you know that politicians are too busy involved with self-interest to worry about bottle drops on the door step from anonymous admiring fans ... but consider this additional information:

      http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/not-the-first-time-barry-ofarrells-memory-has-failed-him-20140416-36rvl.html

      http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/a-keen-political-instinct-fuelled-a-rise-to-the-top-20140416-36seh.html

      Perhaps your skepticism is well placed after all ...

      Only 44 (no, 23) more Coalition MPs to remove before resuming responsible government for the voters of NSW.

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    3. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "Let's see where this bit of a rat hunt takes us" You already know, Peter, that the mainstream Murdoch-led mob that calls itself 'the media' in this country will make sure this rat hunt takes us nowhere unfriendly for the LNP. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see TA give him a knighthood for his 'integrity'.

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    4. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Rick Sullivan

      How about instead of blaming the "media" for bias, we just use our better judgement and filter out what we know to be untrue from the facts. I am neither left nor right and am amused by the zealots on this page who so blatantly push their sides view to the exclusion of common sense.

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    5. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      How about seeing it for what it is, Peter. If you haven't noticed blatant media bias since before the federal election, I'm not sure you've been listening or watching. Remember "Let's kick this mob out"? Just one example of the stuff being fed to the public. Yep, I use my judgement and filter the stuff, but there are sadly a lot who'll actually swallow it. Don't believe me?

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    1. harry oblong

      tree surgeon

      In reply to Paul Howat

      abbott still has to explain to the voters what important liberal party functions he went to in port maquarie while opposition leader that justifies his expense claims for that trip.......if he wont he should step down as well.

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to harry oblong

      Perhaps it has something to do with parliamentary entitlements plus allowances, and a large mortgage reported in MSM when he ascended to the Coalition leadership.

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  2. Pat Moore

    gardener

    The octopus of corruption trips up an apparently and comparatively innocent and honourable man, obviously lacking in deviousness, who had just attained office and was being primed for future cosy arrangements with this tasty little entrée/gesture of foreplay from an outfit whose public infamy was not yet established.

    Mr O'Farrell perhaps should have taken some lessons from his equally forgetful ICAC predecessor but one who made certain not to be contradicted by the problem of incriminating evidence.

    The coming Peter Hartcher instalments will be interesting.

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    1. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Pat Moore

      If the slipperiest fish swim through the ICAC net and the less wily ones are left in it holding the can/the grange hermitage, then there's something wrong with the process. Wonder if Penfolds considers this positive or negative advertising?

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    2. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to harry oblong

      I said "apparently and comparatively (innocent) and honourable" harry, compared to others. As our PM proves to us every day, lies are the necessary means by which some politicians achieve power....the 'core' and the 'non-core' could be used of lies as well as promises? Political exigencies of opening doors for business? There's a lot of money at stake. Achieving 'mandates' fraudulently better than languishing impotently once more on the opposition benches? Doesn't seem to be a law against it.

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    3. harry oblong

      tree surgeon

      In reply to Pat Moore

      i do hope i and others ordinary people are not comparatively compared to these corrupt bastards.

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    4. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Pat, whereabouts in your garden do you keep these delicious political snippets?

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  3. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    Perhaps there is more to come re BO'F.

    Interesting that Mr Sinodinos doesn't feel compelled to resign. His involvement in AWH seems more fouled than the former premier.

    TA said “We are seeing an act of integrity, an act of honour, the like of which we have rarely seen in Australian politics"

    Perhaps it's a subtle hint to AS to do the "honourable thing".

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    1. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Don't think TA is of the "subtle hints" school Stephen. He'll be holding on to AS as a matter of dogged and bent principle, in the quasi background even, if no longer officially Assistant Treasurer. More likely Abbott's feeling sorry for O'Farrell and his lack of guile in being so easily caught out on such a comparatively innocent instance of bribery, evidently not yet matured to corruption...a bottle of ridiculously overpriced wine (unless it transports one to heaven) compared to tens of thousands…

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      "TA said “We are seeing an act of integrity, an act of honour, the like of which we have rarely seen in Australian politics""

      Such shameless hyperbole. Its as if BOF did nothing weong Perhaps BOF will be the second recipient of a knighthood. Maybe the Order of the Grange? Or the Order of Forgetfulness. Arthur Sinosotis could join him in the latter order.

      I ranked BOF as one of the more moderate LNP premiers of the likes of Denis Naphthine so its a shame that his behaviour has been found corrupt.

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    3. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Yes Henry, it is sad. Kerry Chikarowski on Sky News today was saying that, when she was NSW premier she always had a staff member who handled all gifts and donations on her behalf so she herself never took delivery did not even have to think about it.
      I thought that sounded very sensible as people in those positions are very vulnerable if they are wrong - even by mistake.

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Not only did the $3000 bottle of turps slip his mind but he also "completely forgot" that he was in regular chats by phone with Nick di Girolamo every few weeks. Oooops. Barry also forgot that he wrote a letter in support of a government deal with Australian Water Holdings.

      But it is a pity. I quite liked Barry O'Farrell. So it's sad to see him struck down with early onset forgetfulness, like Artie, Eddie, Macca, like Alan Bond, like Rupert Murdoch ... but at least Barry knew when to depart the stage with dignity.

      NSW politics - the ruin of many a good man.

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    5. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Ah yes, Kerry ... the recently resigned Barrier OFascist spent most of his time destabilising the leadership terms of Kerry and also Peter Debenham. Then when finally elected to Premier, he encouraged the 'Get Clover' legislation to pay back Clover Moore for being one of the four Independent MPs who hounded his former boss NIck Greiner out of politics.

      Clover frustrated this attempt to remove her from NSW politics by retiring from being the extremely effective, much respected Lord Mayor of Sydney, much to the chagrin of Liberal Party property developers.

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    6. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Well, Dame Cadbury does have more of an English ring about it than Lady Lindt or the very Swiss Baroness Nestle.

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Kerry Chikarovski, while a memorable NSW Opposition Leader of the Coalition, was never a Premier of NSW.
      But her statement loses no impact for that fact, since opposition leaders receive gifts.
      The "Abbott" inquiry we need to have?

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    8. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to James Hill

      You are right James. Thanks for reminding me. I actually did remember once I read your post - oh well, just one of those "massive memory fails" - can happen to anyone? Cheers. Jane.

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    1. Notta Mehere

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      well written!

      it's no wonder the public is so utterly fed-up with politicians in general, from ALL sides.

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    2. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Notta Mehere

      I agree and I wouldn't begrudge him the outlandishly expensive wine. No, it's just the faux amnesia that always sticks in my throat and I just can't swallow it, or trust people who do that.

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  4. harry oblong

    tree surgeon

    the corruption and lies continue.......when are the voters going to learn that the lib/lab parties both need a long time in opposition together to cleanse themselves.....re-electing the same 2 parties over and over again has created this..

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to harry oblong

      Not really much choice........we get the main course with a few chosen side dishes.

      Lately the main course has gone off considerably.

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    2. Notta Mehere

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to harry oblong

      agree entirely, but what's the alternative?

      i can't see the greens taking over the reins, nor enough indies either.

      it's time the stables were clean thoroughly, but even that task would be carried out by faceless individuals who, i am sure, would carry more muck in that they take out....

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    3. harry oblong

      tree surgeon

      In reply to Notta Mehere

      a good start would be to give the greens absolute control of the senate to investigate and monitor the other main parties...

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    4. Craig Read

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Notta Mehere

      I think the alternative is to change our political system. The current one is working for big business, lobbyists and politicians, but not for the people of Australia.

      Bring in the ability for people to (optionally) vote on each policy. Make not doing their job of listening to their constituents and representing their interests a trigger for by-elections. Then they end up in the same situation as every other employee in Australia. Do your job as you're employed to do, or get fired.

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    5. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to harry oblong

      perhaps you are right but you couldn't possibly subscribe to us putting our trust in the Greens who have proven to be the most ill-considered, self absorbed speed bumps in Australian politics for a very long time.
      Lets just hope Labor and Libs can see we are fed up and implement reforms to remove the distrust and disgust , to be replaced by considered views which represent the electorates for whom they represent.

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    6. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to harry oblong

      you cant be serious ! they are feral and destructive ! They represent no interest other than their own - anything but the greater good !!!!

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      Peter, your complaints may be counterproductive, for over their history, now several decades, they seem to have thrived on negative publicity.
      Especially when those criticising them, your good self naturally excluded, are the untrustable major parties, and the very self-interested palace eunuchs of the press.

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    8. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to James Hill

      I have no concern that the majority will take the greens seriously. With the affable Bob Brown in charge they were harmless - Christine Milne, Adam Bandt and the nonsensical Sarah Hanson-Young represent a new low as they focus on policies and outcomes with little to do with being Green - and lot to do with imposing their narrow-minded views on my life and my hip pocket.

      With the demise of the ludicrous carbon tax will be the relevance of the greens in the future.

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    9. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      Perhaps you will be prophetic, Peter, but the problem with the "Fuhrer-princip" and The Greens, is that because of their principle of grass roots participatory democracy they don't really have "Leaders" to like or fear.
      All decisions, except finding a parliamentary party leader, emanate from the membership.
      The old Country Party pre-dated The Greens in this participatory, local democratic decision making.
      Mainly because distances in the bush in the old days meant tighter knit communities, and…

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    10. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to James Hill

      Greens principles ? Inconsistent and ever changing as they are !

      Always good to see a rave from the party faithful - your colours are well and truly showing. Shall we call it shotgun politics?

      No leadership - just a blast in the general direction of policy and common sense without worrying about the innocent victims along the way ! It is cringe-worthy to watch.

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    11. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      James methinks thou doest protest too much. Indeed, the tenor of your argument appears to follow the malicious wanderings usually ascribed to the notorious multipersonality represented by "Greg North". BTW, has anybody else noticed that 'our Greggie' is very quiet in this thread???

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    12. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Yes, Jack. Can't believe Team Greg hasn't chimed in to defend Barry's little memory lapse.

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    13. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      There must be a malicious and notorious virus floating about the place, Jack.
      Variously named contrarianism, or the "devil's advocate" virus.
      Hopefully what doesn't destroy the reputation of those so inflicted makes them stronger, "nein"?

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    14. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      Peter, you could be justified in your views on inconsistency by the media inspired confusion between Greenies and Greens.
      In the Qld, in the Murdoch press in particular the public was informed over many years that the single issue Wilderness Society were The Greens political party, even going to the extent where a political reporter from The Brisbane Courier-Mail complained, bitterly, that local Groups of The Greens party were, following their principle of grass roots democracy determining their preferences and ignoring the "green""preference deals" organised by the Wilderness Society and Labor and backed by "Big Rupe".
      Very inconsistent and confusing.
      And the subject of a successful complaint to The Australian Press Council.
      But despite that correction the confusion and the inevitable "inconsistency" seem to remain?

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    15. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to James Hill

      I object to the incorrect and oft repeated statement that leadership change in the Aust Democrats led to party meltdown , with the assumption that Brown's resignation and Milne's leadership spell the demise of the Greens. Shallow and ignorant of the facts.

      After Chipp came Janine Haines ,for several years an effective and respected leader , under whom the party gained increased parliamentary representation. She risked all by nominating for a House of Reps seat, not easy for a minor party to gain…

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    16. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to wilma western

      So, are Democrats, like the Democratic Labor Party, out there in waiting?
      Time for a comeback?
      Why not?

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  5. Neville Mattick
    Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

    This is an interesting read - thank you.

    What I see it doing is that as the 'smell' now spreads that the future will be a 'windfall' for minor parties as apathy prevails regarding the major two.

    Lesson being learned?

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  6. George Naumovski

    Online Political Activist

    And yet we have Abbott and gang doing Royal Commissions into ALP and unions while their own are being court out! Shifty hypocritical Liberals.

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  7. grant moule

    Consultant

    In my opinion, considering the circumstances Barry O'Farrell should not be eligible for any parliamentary privileges (nor should any other politician who is found to be misleading the public).

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  8. Geoff Anderson

    Brain Surgeon

    Can't wait until the real reason behind his resignation gets out.

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  9. Tim Thornton

    Retired Dairy Farmer

    Poor dumb Barry, gets caught out over a bottle of grog; one has to feel sorry for him when the big fish like Sinodinos are swimming away to Tony's arms and keeping their ill gotten gains.

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  10. Troy Howard

    Mechanic at -

    Where's Greg or Ken or Natasha? Surely they would need to comment on this.

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  11. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    What a lot of rot - selective memory loss as a defence?
    Sorry, won't wear that.
    Barry O'Farrell either knows what he's doing, or he doesn't.
    If he knew, then he deliberately misled ICAC.
    If he didn't know, he's incompetent.
    In either case, the only way out was resign.
    Hardly honourable.
    Tony Abbott's efforts to paper over this major lapse of judgement won't wash either.
    Does the PM think it's okay for ministers to have selective memory loss moments, and use this strategy as a defence?
    Not a very honourable stance to take, PM.

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  12. Josh Markey

    logged in via email @fentonandfenton.com.au

    Already we are engulfed by the flood of right wing apologists led by Abbott who reminds me of O'Brien from 1964:

    "These are NOT, nor have they ever been, the actions of a corrupt, lying perjurer, these are and ALWAYS have been the honourable actions of an innocent, with a touch of memory loss."

    Whoever the journalist was that he attempted to intimidate for suggesting something that resembled the reality of the situation, I hope she told him where to put his retraction. We should take his failure to actually answer the question as a "No - I don't trust them"?

    To borrow from the LNP playbook - this is a government seeking to manipulate and control the very minds of its people by hijacking our language to control meaning and thereby limiting the possibilities of debate.

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  13. Timothy Bateman

    Garbologist

    It seems unbelievable that Eddie Obeid is still at large when the ICAC manages to take down Barry O'Farrell over a related affair with evidence being a $3000 bottle of wine. Maybe Obeid can offer some consultancy on evasion ?

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Timothy Bateman

      Hi Timothy

      I've made a similar comment on TC before.

      This man seems to be at the bottom of everything corrupt in NSW and yet remains at large to ply his trade.

      A very perplexing state of affairs.

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    2. Susan Nolan

      retired

      In reply to Timothy Bateman

      ICAC didn't "take down" Barry O'Farrell. Barry O'Farrell resigned.

      ICAC, in fact, said that there would not be findings against Barry O'Farrell about the Grange.

      ICAC, itself, does not charge people - that's up to the Public Prosecutor, who is no doubt waiting until the ICAC Inquiries are all complete before charging anyone.

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    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Susan Nolan

      I hope SOMEONE has taken a few passports away from individuals.

      When push comes to shove I wonder if there will not enough evidence to convict. Be all too interesting to see the results.

      And given NSW's history ICAC could go on for years.

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  14. Susan Nolan

    retired

    The significance of Barry O'Farrell's corrected testimony at ICAC is that it ties di Girolamo, Liberal Party fundraiser, directly to the practice of AWH wrongly charging the publicly owned Sydney Water for things which were not public expenses, including gifts to Liberal Party figures.

    The evidence has been that the bottle of wine was paid for - not by the person who sent it , di Girolamo - but by AWH. The further evidence is that AWH billed the publicly owned Sydney Water for all sorts of things…

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Susan Nolan

      Hi Susan

      this is a sad case, and probably indicates a quagmire of corruption throughout NSW politics and business.

      Everyone knows everyone else, and the secret deals and sweetheart arrangements must be endemic at every level.

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  15. John Campbell

    farmer

    Anyone who thinks this is just about a bottle of wine, expensive or not, is showing a large degree of naivety.

    No wonder the ultra right wingers are so keen on removing all restrictions and regulations (apart from the rather meaningless self-regulation) from business. If there are no rules or regulations it is impossible to break them.

    It is clear that when a party gets voted out of office you need someway of ensuring real change not just a shuffling of the deck chairs. If not, it is easy to see how corruption could become entrenched, even if it only relates to 'ensuring' party funds.

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  16. Whyn Carnie

    Retired Engineer

    This political charade only goes to show how dishonest and corrupted our political system has become. Witness the wriggling and squirming of various party players, from the PM down, trying to make out that O'Farrel has really behaved honorably when the unwritten charges against him had little to do with his honour and more to do with his back door dealings with a grateful lobbyist. Copping a bottle of wine is no crime.

    In trying to deflect the relationship that generated the largesse, O'Farrell…

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  17. Max Kamien

    Emeritus Professor of General Practice & Corlis Fellow of the RACGP at University of Western Australia

    It seems that the 1959 Grange was not such a memorable drop as we Kalimna drinkers have been lead to believe.

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  18. Shaun Scallan

    logged in via email @icloud.com

    A few questions about the other side of the equation.

    A note like this is a very useful thing to suddenly come to light. Why now? Someone kept this note and made it available, who?
    Why isn't more attention given to the giver, are they somehow a bystander?What standards govern business conduct? There seems to be a mismatch in standards between each side of the equation. Answers to these would yield a more complete picture.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Shaun Scallan

      Interesting - who gave it to whom - in reference to ending up at ICAC.

      More intrigue.

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    2. Susan Nolan

      retired

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Di Girolamo turned up the thank you note to him the day after Barry O'Farrell gave evidence.

      Looks to me like di Girolamo decided that he wasn't going to be the Liberal Party's sacrificial lamb and was more than a bit miffed about people (such as O'Farrell) having been talking about doing something about the system in which he - di Girolamo - had prospered.

      Looks to me like di Girolamo had an attack of the "If I go down, then I'm going to take some of the rest of you down with me." And that, even after Barry O'Farrell said that he scarcely knew him.

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    3. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Susan Nolan

      I reckon it's beautiful. What goes 'round, comes 'round, eh. The trouble is - as alluded to by Henriette up there - rather than ending up in jail where he (and others) should be, Baz'll end up with a generous pension from us and a great job supplied by some other crook whose back he's scratched in the past. How do you beat these greedy little beasts?

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Susan Nolan

      I get the impression that not only does DiG seem to know Everybody and Everybody knows him, they all seem to know each other............it's a a real pork festival.

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  19. Philip Impey

    Architect+Urban Designer

    He should have dealt with tit the Labor way- when there's a sniff of doing the wrong thing, give it back. Just like the undeclared $200,000 Rudd failed to declare in the lead up to the 2013 poll. Whilst i acknowledge the difference in the twp cases where O'Farrell lied to the ICAC, where's the principle of resigning when there's a rule breached. One rule for Labor, one for the LNP.

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    1. Doug Melville

      Manager

      In reply to Philip Impey

      I think you have your parties confused. When certain members 'inadvertently overclaim' expenses they are allowed to pay it back, even when it was used for a book signing tour, whereas of course, Slipper goes to court for cab charges.

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Doug Melville

      And of course, no action is taken against the Minister for Rinehart when he incorrectly claimed travel expenses from a foreign located wedding and attendance as a guest at a football match. Then there are the cycling events of the PM ....

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  20. PAUL NUDD

    Brain Surgeon (Amateur)

    It's his arrogance that brought him down. He could have said I don't remember but no, his attitude was "if I don't remember it, it didn't happen. Memory fail - no, humility fail, common sense fail. Why on earth would anyone say it didn't happen rather than I don't remember it happening?

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  21. PAUL NUDD

    Brain Surgeon (Amateur)

    When he said it didn't happen he was accusing others of lying. That is as bad as lying himself.

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    1. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to PAUL NUDD

      He effectively accused Girolamo of lying, and Girolamo apparently kept "the Dirt" on O'Farrell?
      Taken from "How to Compromise Important People" 101?

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to James Hill

      Possibly James ... or how about if you want to take down the Obeid machine then we shall ensure that you will all be taken down with it???

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack, I am sure that criminologists about the place are sagely recognising this behaviour.
      But the history of corruption in NSW is horrendous, so horrendous and criminal that that highest of criminal classes, the major party politicians, have spent much time and effort to successfully suppress it.
      Ugly reading, when you can find it, it is no wonder that it is not popular reading.

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to James Hill

      As long as I can remember NSW has been an epicentre for crime and corruption. It has been systemic and broad throughout the state.

      It is quoted that it goes back to the 19th c. and then flourished over the decades.

      Without any evidence (except my own knowledge), Id say that this crime and corruption has filtered through families and groups over these decades, and has become an intrinsic part of many people's lives.

      A bottle of wine is small change, but is part of that Omni-present stench of corruption that pervaded the state of NSW from the beginning.

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    5. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Yes indeed Stephen crime and corruption aplenty ... but it's actually worse than that if it's conceivable.

      It is a thicket - a swamp - filled with competing vested interests - the crime and corruption is just what vested interests do when they want to run the show and can. Smart operators position themselves so they cannot lose - like Obeid.

      But decisions - too often by State Ministers alone - can so easily be hijacked - unscrutinised, unaccountable and seemingly purely "administrative…

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    6. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      When one reads the details in the various books written on the subject, the mind boggles.

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, is it worth investigating any possible connection with the English East India company, which was the privatised, or "privateer" branch of the "empire" in nearby India in the early days of the colonies?
      They were so corrupt that eventually they were taken over by the actual Empire, but given the historical closeness, did the Liberal party evolve from the remnants of the English East India company.
      There seems to have been a successful conspiracy of silence on the subject.
      Remembering that it was to Calcutta and not London that early colonial administrations looked for support.

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    8. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to James Hill

      It's a very interesting thing to ponder James in that while there were immense differences between the "colonial imperatives" of India and NSW, the fact is that our colonial establishment coincided with a political disenchantment with the rampant privatised brutality of the East India Company. NSW was not to be a rerun of the Indian experience.

      It's worth remembering that our settlement also coincided with the loss of the American colonies and it could be said that there was a crisis of opportunity…

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    9. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Another resource the early squattocracy had access to, Peter, was an abundant supply of slaves - cunningly procured from the mother country. They pinched them for paltry crimes, called them convicts, and bundled them off to Australia. Very acceptable indeed - unless of course you were a slave or the mother of one.

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    10. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Rick Sullivan

      Slavery doesn't work very well with sheep apparently - too seasonal. Too much time sitting around eating and watching the grass grow. OK for public works though ... excellent navvies.

      Yer proper slavery is much more suited to labour-intensive plantations - like sugar and bananas ... not to mention tobacco and cotton ... hence Queensland's flirtation with slavery - sorry a free islander with every coconut purchased. Also these convicts clashed colour-wise - Irish yes but unarguably white - not…

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    11. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I wouldn't go that far Peter, but I may make a small sacrifice or two myself - I'm sure I could find a pagan altar somewhere.

      NSW - corrupt one day, corrupter the next.

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    12. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hmm. Thanks for that. Another acclaimed 'hero' of early colonisation was famed explorer and commander of Moreton Bay Penal Settlement, Captain Patrick Logan. So what if he did have the odd slave thrashed to death on the 'triangles at Moreton Bay', does that make him a BAD person? SOMEONE had to teach those impertinent bloody Irish a lesson for stealing slices of bread to feed their families.

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    13. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to James Hill

      Try "The Prince and the Pauper" about Liberal party politics of the 1960s.

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    14. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to James Hill

      Unlikely, James. Much of the money for early NSW came from the AA Co in about 1820 with William Wentworth I, so of part-time highwayman and surgeon Darcy Wentworth, for a time the richest man in the colony.

      Then there was the flood of money out of the West Indian sugar industry when slavery was abolished, about 1833 (Thank you Lord Mansfield ... arrrrrrr!!)

      Look out for Dan Byrnes work on the social links of early Australian capital, especially starting with "the Blackheath Connection".

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    15. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Arh, the disreputable Henry Dangar, progenitor to the local squattocracy and protector of his stockmen who were finally convicted of killing Aborigines 1838 at the Myall Creek Massacre, which was the first conviction of white men for killing aborigines since 1788. Not bad, a 60 year open season on the Aboriginal survivors of disease brought to Australia by the English.

      White Australia has a black history.

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    16. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks Peter, some greater interest in British Australia would be beneficial for those living here who must live with the consequences of that period.
      This "it all started at Gallipoli" Australian history nonsense gets a bit wearing.
      On the Wentworth front I remember spending three days digging myself out of a table drain before being forced to trudge off, in defeat, to ask for help from Wentworth's homestead on the Murrrumbidgee, also fronting the Sturt Highway.
      My three days of struggle must…

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    17. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thank you for mentioning that great "businessman", Mr Ben Boyd. I'm disgusted that a major city in North Queensland is still named after Robert Towns, another great "business" monster.

      Slavery - and its clones - cannot compete with workers who are able to make more good money for themselves by working harder and smarter. That's what smashed the plantations system of the Australian sugar industry within a decade or so. As soon as the Queensland colonial government put seed funding into high-tech central sugar mills supplied by co-operatives of individual small, supposedly inefficient farms, the mighty plantations with their hundreds of "indentured" black-birded Islanders, were doomed. It was not that the South sea Islanders were lazy but they were not fools; those who remained after the rest were repatriated, worked like Trojans for the small farmers and were paid real money for real work.

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    18. Whyn Carnie

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Fijians were smarter. When the East India Co. tried to get sugar and copra farming organised, Fijians only worked hard or long enough for their immediate needs. So the EIC brought Indian slave labour to make up the labour shortfall. The Fijians were delighted and took to Indian flesh comfortably.
      Not all the Indian labourers suffered that fate. A few escaped and bred up to cause serious racial problems in the last half of the last century, culminating in Fiji's departure from the British Commonwealth
      Australia was more fortunate in so much as the British did not bring Indian labour here.

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    19. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Whyn Carnie

      Did a bit - well from the neighbourhood anyway ... hence the Ghan railway. Afghan cameleers were the communication and transportation backbone for much of central and remote Australia for much of the 19th and early 20th century. But I'm pretty certain these fellas were not in any way bonded or indentured labour.

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    20. Whyn Carnie

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Correct but Afghans were voluntary labour and nothing like Indian indentured labour that had absolutely no intention nor hope of returning to India.
      Even today if an expat Indian loses or gives up his Indian passport it is never replaced.

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    21. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Whyn Carnie

      I'm not certain how the "Afghans" were employed Whyn - whether they were brought in on contract or whether they essentially worked for themselves - but many certainly ended up running very profitable enterprises and becoming very well respected - despite the prevailing attitudes at the time.

      For those interested - here's a pretty decent summary of the who, how and why ... http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/afghan-cameleers. But regardless of the initial form of employment, it's clear that a significant number of the cameleers were able to put together enough capital to establish quite sizable transportation and haulage firms.

      A sadly neglected part of our history. Shaped the place.

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    22. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      As a young fella I was a station hand in the 60s and 70s on a couple of thousand square miles in WA's North West. The paddocks were pretty big and it wasn't unusual to come across evidence of the old Afghan cameleers and bullock drivers while mustering and so forth - hobble straps, broken saddles, Condamine bells. Important relics of our early history. Those old fellas did it hard.

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  22. john byatt

    retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

    Is there a difference between $3000 cash and something worth $3000,

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    1. christopher muir

      retired TV executive

      In reply to john byatt

      I was surprised to hear Nick Greiner last night on the ABC 7.30 say that he would have accepted that bottle of wine. Really?

      "Wine is constant proof that God loves to see us happy." (Benjamin Franklin)

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  23. john tons

    retired redundant

    Dear Barry
    Please forward the bottle on to me. Currently we need to raise $14,000 for much needed repairs to our community hall and so we need prizes for our wandering chook raffle and this would seem to do the trick. But perhaps neither side of politics is very much interested in helping local communities unless they can siphon of benefits for themselves and their mates.

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    1. Whyn Carnie

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to john tons

      John, O'Farrell forgot he received the wine, forgot he wrote back thanking someone he forgot he knew, so you have Buckley's chance he will be able to remember where he put the wine. He says he never drank it so the journo who finds it may give it to you.
      Wine this good should not simply be lost, or forgotten. May be Obeid or one of his minions has retrieved it as a hedge against O'Farrell turning State's witness at ASIC.

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  24. David Clark

    Retired lawyer, full time cynic

    The basic problem with politics today, in both the State and Federal spheres, is that most of the incumbents make the Rum Corps look like angels. Whilst I feel some sympathy for O'Farrell the man, I have none for O'Feral the Premier. No matter how busy you may be, you simply don't forget about someone giving you $3k's worth of Grange.

    Unfortunately it seems that this kind of thing is endemic within the Liberals - the "born to rule" syndrome writ large. It's everywhere. What bright spark, for example, thought of the "unsolicited proposal" scam? Your mates make you an offer you cant refuse, it gets fast tracked and large amounts of our money are syphoned off to favoured sons without proper testing by way of a tender process or in any other way. If a council tried that the public inquiry and sacking would be done in a flash! Why can't the same standard apply to the State?

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  25. Chris Colenso-Dunne

    logged in via email @hushmail.com

    In a western democracy, no elected or appointed politician, official, officer or public servant should ever accept a present or gift of any monetary value whatsoever except from designated family members.

    All gifts, tangible and non-tangible, from non-designated family members should be acknowledged by the recipient with a pro-forma letter from the recipient to the donor that becomes part of the public record. The gifts should be catalogued, stored and then publicly auctioned off at regular intervals with the name of the donor and the value of the gift acknowledged in the public record of the auction. All proceeds from the auction should go to a non-controversial public charity on a list that has been approved by local, state or federal electors.

    This is the only way to try to keep the bastards honest.

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  26. christopher muir

    retired TV executive

    Have just watched on ABC iview a replay of last night's Lateline. An incredibly agitated Gerard Henderson tries to do battle with a very cool Kate McLymont (SMH).

    Terrific viewing.

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  27. Alex Fletcher

    retired medical practitioner

    BOF obviously did not expect the thank you note to be revealed. How did it come to be presented to ICAC?
    Is it possible that his downfall has been a pay-back for NOT being corrupt, or corrupt enough, – or that for some other reason the Liberal Party want him out of the way?

    This article by Mike Seccombe of “The Saturday Paper” :-
    “Sinodinos steps down while ICAC investigates”

    http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2014/03/22/sinodinos-steps-down-while-icac-investigates/1395406800

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  28. ERIC KELLY

    retired

    Was the gift of the Grange a known unknown or an unknown known?

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    1. ERIC KELLY

      retired

      In reply to ERIC KELLY

      Though I should have added: the probabilities are definitely finite.

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    2. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      While all you wine buffs are discussing the plonk, important people up here in the Blue Mountains. The Royals are thanking the fire officers (the REAL heroes around here) for fighting the fires in Their colony. Luckily they seem to have found the baby kidnapped by that woman on Shaun McCallef's show. A near miss, that.
      Possibly the reason for BOF's amnesia was that he routinely has a $3000 bottle (or two?) at dinner after a hard day's slog at the office: quite a decent little drop but nothing particularly memorable?

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