ABC News Australia

Corrupt former NSW Labor MP Ian Macdonald should receive a jail term, court hears

26 May 2017

Former NSW Labor minister, Ian Macdonald, answers questions as he leaves the ICAC.
Corrupt former NSW Labor minister Ian MacDonald should receive a jail term, the prosecutor in the case against him has told a Sydney court.

In March, Ian MacDonald was found guilty of misconduct in a public office over his decision to grant a mining licence to a company run by former union boss John Maitland.

The decision was made in 2008, when Ian MacDonald was the NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Mineral Resources in the Iemma Labor government.

Maitland, once the head of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, was found guilty of being an accessory.

The men, who are on bail ahead of being sentenced, sat at opposite ends of a bench in the dock at the King Street Supreme Court.

Prosecutor Michael McHugh SC told the court MacDonald should receive a jail sentence.

Quoting from another case, Mr McHugh said: “The real bite of general deterrence only takes hold when a custodial sentence is imposed.”

He said the nature of MacDonald’s breach of duty as a minister was serious.

“The more senior a public official is, the greater level of public trust in their duty,” Mr McHugh said.

Macdonald ‘did expect something in return’

During the trial, MacDonald’s lawyers argued he granted the Hunter Valley mining licence to Maitland’s company, Doyles Creek Mining because of the merits of the proposal, not because they were “mates.”

Former CFMEU head John Maitland

 

The judge Christine Adamson said it seems clear MacDonald saw the decision to grant the licence as mutually beneficial.

“If one accepts the evidence, he had some financial concerns, he did expect something in return,” she said.

The judge went on to say although there was no evidence of what the deal was, it could not have been simply based on a friendship.

“This is not the way friends behave, this is strategic,” Justice Adamson said.

“Why would a cabinet minister stick his neck out? You have to explore that.”

The judge also said MacDonald had shown “no remorse, no contrition and no acknowledgement of guilt.”

MacDonald’s lawyer Matthew Johnston SC tendered a long list of references supporting his client, including radio host Alan Jones.

MacDonald and Maitland both had their bail revoked and they were taken into custody.

The pair will be sentenced next Friday.