Barry O'Farrell resigns: 'Influence, power, greed' mocking democracy

Barry O'Farrell's resignation was not an "act of integrity" as it came only after the evidence showed he had no other choice, University of Wollongong politics lecturer Anthony Ashbolt and anti-corruption campaigner John Hatton have said.

Soon after the Premier said he would resign, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it was an act of decency and integrity of the sort rarely seen in politics, and he was hailed by many as having done the honourable thing.

Dr Ashbolt said while it was "healthy politically", Mr O'Farrell had no choice.

"The fact that he has accepted responsibility and accountability is, I suppose, a healthy sign - but it's a healthy sign on top of an unhealthy sign about the state of politics, where politician after politician has been shown to mislead in particular ways," he said.

"He's taken responsibility and that's healthy politically, but the initial statement to ICAC was deception.

"This wasn't a case where he could say 'I know nothing', because a note was produced, the evidence was there. It's not a matter of great integrity when the cause of the resignation is a failure of integrity."

Former South Coast MP John Hatton said, "anybody who lies to ICAC is a fool".

"They have the powers of a royal commission, so you do not know what is in their hands, and that's how he got caught out.

"If you resign, it's not an act in my view to be praised, it's an inevitable consequence."

Mr Hatton said corruption in politics was not a NSW phenomenon, but this state has "a mechanism to uncover it" in ICAC.

"The issues in politics everywhere of course are misuse of power and greed," he said.

"But in NSW the scale of it is mind-boggling."

Mr Hatton, whose allegations of police corruption led to the creation of the Wood Royal Commission in 1995, said the exercise of influence, and the concentration of political power, made a mockery of the democratic system.

"The Parliament doesn't make decisions," he said.

"The executive and the public servants and the lobbyists and the unions and the money make the decisions.

"The hierarchical structures and centralised power of all political parties, and the power wielded by centralisation and cabinet decision making, has completely alienated the Parliament and the process from the people."

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University of Wollongong politics lecturer Anthony Ashbolt.

University of Wollongong politics lecturer Anthony Ashbolt.


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