It is with great pleasure that we announce that NSW Minister Greg Pearce, the corrupt architect of the NSW workcover reforms, has finally been sacked today. Karma! Karma!
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has stood down finance minister Greg Pearce, for “failing to disclose a perceived conflict of interest” (nicely worded, huh!)
Mr Pearce came under strong criticism after being accused of being drunk in parliament and that he breached ministerial travel rules.
Greg Pearce – architect of workcover NSW reforms- finally sacked
Greg Pearce sacked from NSW cabinet over conflict of interest – SMH
Barry O’Farrell has suffered his first ministerial casualty after he sacked finance minister Greg Pearce for failing to disclose a perceived conflict of interest over an appointment to the board of Sydney Water.
Mr Pearce appointed Richard Fisher, the general counsel at the University of Sydney, to the board of Sydney Water in late 2011.
However, the Premier said Mr Pearce failed to declare to him or cabinet that Mr Pearce’s wife, Shauna Jarrett, worked for Mr Fisher as assistant group secretary at the university.
Mr O’Farrell said this was a “clear breach” of the ministerial code of conduct and dismissed Mr Pearce from cabinet at 1.45pm on Thursday.
“This is not a day that I wanted to happen,” he said. “No one ever wants to lose a member of a team. But this is another reminder of the need to maintain the best and highest possible standards in government.”
Mr O’Farrell said Mr Fisher’s appointment was “meritorious”, as he had been previously appointed by both sides of politics to positions including the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Library Council of NSW.
“What’s clear is where there are apparent, or possible, or actual conflicts of interest, those interests either have to be avoided or, if they’re apparent or perceived, declared to cabinet and the Premier,” he said. “That did not happen.”
He took a month of stress leave from mid-June after a government investigation found he had breached his travel expense claims.
The head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Chris Eccles, investigated the costs Mr Pearce had claimed for a private trip to Canberra at the expense of taxpayers.
Mr Eccles found bookings for a flight and hotel “were made in breach” of the requirements for the use of the state government’s travel contractor.
After the investigation found he had gained a personal benefit of less than $200, Mr Pearce admitted he had made a mistake for which he had been admonished by Mr O’Farrell.
He also said he had been exhausted and stressed on the night in Parliament when he was accused of being drunk – and this had been “compounded” by the effects of alcohol.
At the time, the Premier said Mr Pearce had suffered enough, and he would not ask for the minister’s resignation from cabinet because he had made a “minor breach”.
“We are talking about a personal benefit of $188.91,” he said. “Politicians are not perfect, but they should try to be perfect. He has been through two of the worst weeks of his life and I think that is punishment enough.”
Andrew Constance will replace Mr Pearce as Minister of Finance. John Ajaka will take over from Mr Constance as Minister for Disability Services and also take Mr Pearce’s portfolio of the Illawarra.