Widespread support has emerged for changes to the Independent
Commission Against Corruption after yesterday's Court of Appeal decision
overturning a finding of corrupt conduct against the former Premier, Mr Nick
The Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Carr, the head of the ICAC,
Mr Ian Temby, QC, and key Independent MPs all supported a review of the ICAC Act
after Mr Greiner and the former Minister for Environment, Mr Tim Moore, won
their appeal against the ICAC decision in June which led both men to resign from
Mr Greiner said he had been vindicated because the decision showed that Mr
Temby's finding was "absolutely wrong" and that "any suggestion of corrupt
conduct on my part was totally ... nonsensical".
At a media conference called soon after the two-to-one court decision, Mr
Temby said he regretted that the court had found his decision was wrong.
However, he believed that the ICAC's authority was not undermined. On his
reading of the judgment, ministers in NSW were not bound by the same rules as
other public officials for the purposes of the ICAC legislation.
Asked whether he believed Mr Greiner had been done an injustice, he said:
"I don't think the term 'injustice' fits, but others can judge that."
Mr Temby said the ICAC was considering an appeal to the High Court
although he was concerned about the public expense, particularly as he believed
the legislation governing the ICAC would be amended after the judgment.
Mr Greiner and Mr Moore went to the Court of Appeal after the ICAC found
that they had both acted corruptly in the appointment of the former Independent
MP for Davidson, Dr Terry Metherell, to a senior Public Service job.
Justice Gleeson and Justice Priestley both found that Mr Temby had erred
by defining the behaviour of Mr Greiner and Mr Moore as corrupt because he had
not applied legally recognised standards as to what constitutes grounds for
Under the section of the ICAC Act used by Mr Temby, conduct can be found
corrupt only where it could constitute grounds for dismissal. The majority
decision declared that Mr Temby was "wrong in law".
The dissenting judge, Justice Mahoney, said that although their conduct
did not constitute reasonable grounds for dismissal, it was open to the ICAC to
conclude that it did.
Justice Mahoney also said that the term "corrupt conduct" in the ICAC Act
was "misleading and apt to cause injustice".
Two Independent MPs who played a key part in forcing Mr Greiner's and Mr
Moore's resignations by threatening to support a no-confidence motion said the
Court of Appeal judgment changed nothing.
Mr John Hatton (South Coast) said justice had been done to Mr Greiner and
Mr Moore. Although he was "pleased for them", he said their resignations were
warranted because of the way they had created a job for Dr Metherell and
appointed him, not because of any finding of corrupt conduct.
Dr Peter Macdonald (Manly) said: "There was a lot more than the label of
corruption - there was a host of issues in terms of what was unethical, improper
and immoral - standards of behaviour well below the criminal threshold which
was the thing that dominated the ICAC report."
Mr Carr urged Mr Temby to appeal to the High Court, although he argued
that the judgment did not exonerate Mr Greiner of corrupt conduct.
Mr Carr maintained that the appointment of Dr Metherell to a senior
government job was an act of corruption.
"A job was given to Metherell ... a job illegally created ... a job to
induce him to quit Parliament," he said.
"That's what we objected to, that's what we brand as corrupt and no
technical finding in a court alters the essential facts of the case," he said.
Mr Fahey said Mr Carr's remarks showed that the Opposition Leader, who was at
home with a cold, was not only sick but "delirious", and had made a fundamental
legal error in interpreting the judgment.
Yesterday's decision was welcomed by the Liberal Party, which is fighting
two by-elections today to replace Mr Greiner and Mr Moore. Although both are
safe Liberal seats, the decision should cushion any adverse reaction from the
The Deputy Premier, Mr Murray, also called for a major overhaul of the
ICAC Act and said Mr Hatton, Dr Macdonald and the Independent MP for Blight, Ms
Clover Moore, should all consider resigning for forcing Mr Greiner and Mr Moore
Mr Fahey said the review of the ICAC Act will be conducted by the
parliamentary committee on the ICAC headed by the Liberal backbencher Mr Malcolm
Kerr. The committee has been reviewing the operation of the ICAC since it was
established in 1989.
Mr Moore declined to attack either the ICAC or the Commissioner, Mr Temby,
saying he was a strong advocate of a need for such a body.
"But as all three judges indicated this morning, there is clearly a need
to deal with the (ICAC) Act to prevent this sort of injustice and damage that
Nick Greiner and I and our families have suffered in the last two months.
"It has been a pretty rough time for me and my wife," he said, adding that
after quitting Parliament he was "learning how to be a normal human being
Although the Government has paid most of Mr Moore's costs, he said he
was$40,000 out of pocket as a result of the affair.
The court awarded costs against the ICAC.
Senior members of the Government were bitterly critical of the role the
Independents in the Metherell affair.