Kelly under fire for taser comment

By Ju Yeon Jung

NSW Police Minister Tony Kelly may face a formal complaint from an insurance lobbyist over alleged intimidation and inappropriate behaviour at a recent meeting.

According to The Australian, Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) senior analyst Alex Sanchez, along with another lobbyist, held the meeting with Mr Kelly last month concerning the mini-budget and the fire service levy on insurance premiums.

Mr Sanchez told the paper that Mr Kelly said he would shoot him with a Taser stun gun after a heated discussion.

Mr Kelly also told the ICA representatives that a member of his family had been in a car accident and asked for the insurance company’s direct number to get better services.

A spokesperson for the minister admitted the discussion was “robust” and the Taser remark was “offhand”.

He told the paper the minister personally rang the lobbyists later on the day of meeting to clear up misunderstandings and offer an apology if they felt offended.

Premier Nathan Rees, who was forced to dump former small business minister Tony Stewart over intimidation behaviour only two weeks ago, uneasily defended Mr Kelly, saying the remark was a “throw-away” comment. 

“It was a facetious line to a couple of adults after what would have been a healthy exchange of views in an industry meeting, and that’s that,” he told ABC.

Mr Rees said the issue had been already resolved, but it was getting a belated publicity in relation to the unpopular mini-budget.

The mini-budget imposed an extra levy to cover fire and emergency services. The ICA reportedly wants the levies scrapped.

Mr Kelly became Police Minister in September, following his short-lived predecessor Matt Brown, who was sacked after dancing in his underpants at a post-budget party.

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