PREMIER Morris Iemma has refused to sack Education Jun 9, 2008 3:26:38 GMT -5
Post by Flash on Jun 9, 2008 3:26:38 GMT -5
PREMIER Morris Iemma has refused to sack Education Minister John Della Bosca over claims he and his federal MP wife were abusive and threatening to restaurant staff during a night out.
Mr Iemma, who demanded a written explanation from Mr Della Bosca today, has issued a statement indicating the Minister will keep his job.
Mr Della Bosca and his wife Belinda Neal denied the serious allegations made by six staff of Iguanas Waterfront Bar at Gosford on the Central Coast.
The Minister drove Ms Neal away from Iguanas afterwards despite having told Parliament on May 13 that he would stop driving because he was about to lose his licence for repeated speeding offences.
Premier Iemma said today: “Mr Della Bosca has insisted he is not at fault in this (Iguanas) incident.
“He has also provided a written official apology from the restaurant concerned, which appears to support his account.
“There is currently no allegation of criminal behaviour – and given the club’s apology and withdrawal of claims – no allegation of improper conduct. “
Mr Iemma said Mr Della Bosca would explain the incident to Parliament at its next sitting, including the reasons behind his decision to drive away from the location.
“Notwithstanding the legal status of his licence, I have instructed him not to drive again in the period before his formal cancellation takes effect,” the Premier said.
“The Police Commissioner (Andrew Scipione) has today been contacted and supplied with all written materials.
“If further allegations are made by any involved party in relation to this matter, Commissioner Scipione will be asked for his consideration and advice.”
But Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said only an independent inquiry could determine what occurred during, and after, the Iguana nightclub affair and satisfy the public whether or not undue influence was applied.
“It’s unacceptable for John Della Bosca to try and pronounce his own ‘not guilty’ verdict. It lacks any impartiality and fails the public interest test,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“After John Della Bosca’s false claim on May 13 that he would no longer drive, the public can’t believe him.
“Morris Iemma should appoint a former judge or a barrister to inquire into this affair, including Friday night’s incident and Mr Della Bosca’s subsequent actions.
“The public has a right to know what has gone on in this matter, what if any threats were made and what if any pressure has been applied to the club owners.
“Having sacked Carl Scully for lying to Parliament in 2006, Morris Iemma should apply the same test to John Della Bosca.”
Mr O’Farrell said that in addition to being Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council and Education Minister, John Della Bosca was also the Minister for Industrial Relations.
“At the centre of this scandal is the treatment of hotel workers – their treatment on Friday night and since,” he said.
“Only an independent inquiry can get to the bottom of this sorry saga.”