Suspended minister faces a growing list of allegations

By Staff Writer

A string of complaints filed against suspended NSW minister Tony Stewart will now be referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the NSW Greens has said.

According to media reports, Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has received the latest complaint from a former public servant, who said she felt intimidated by Mr Stewart’s comments on her work in 2000.

The complaint became the fifth entry on the list of allegations against Mr Stewart, which was instigated by a report that he had verbally abused a female staffer at a charity function two weeks ago.

The small business and assistant health minister was forced to step aside last week, pending the result of an independent inquiry led by Chris Ronalds SC into the verbal abuse allegation.

Premier Nathan Rees told the media that he would sack Mr Stewart if the allegation was proven to be true.

However, Mr Rees said once the new cases were referred to Ms Ronalds, she would decide whether to include them in her inquiry.

Following the initial allegation, former Bankstown police area commander, Superintendent Dave Darcy, came forward with a complaint that the Bankstown MP had threatened to “bag” him in parliament unless he halted a case against a Labor donor.

The incident has been referred to the ICAC for the second time, with the first referral made last year failing to be proceeded due to lack of evidence.

Two former detective sergeants, brothers John and Paul Doran, also joined the complainants, claiming that Mr Stewart had attempted to interfere investigations involving the family of a Labor member about 12 years ago.

Ms Rhiannon told the Sydney Morning Herald that her office was getting an overwhelming number of phone calls revealing his problematic behaviours.

“After the number of contacts that have been made with my office, and given some of the complaints stretch back over 10 years…it’s hard to imaging that people within the Labor Party are not aware of these,” she told the paper.

NSW Opposition leader Barry O’Farrell argued a separate investigation into the new allegations should be set up.

“Nathan Rees has to stop ignoring this issue,” he told Macquarie Radio.

“He’s finally got to make good on his promise to raise ministerial standards, and that’s why he must appoint an independent inquiry to investigate these serious allegations from police.”

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