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Former NSW events supremo ‘Sir Lunchalot’ jailed

June 6, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A former New South Wales Minister for Major Events, once well known in the travel industry, has been jailed for 10 years and must serve at least seven years, having been found guilty of misconduct in public office.

Former NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Mineral Resources, Ian Macdonald, 68, was convicted over the decision to grant a mining licence to a company run by former union boss John Maitland, who will spend at least four years behind bars, ABC News reported. Macdonald has indicated he will appeal.

The decision to grant the licence was made in 2008, when Macdonald was the NSW minister for Primary Industries and Mineral Resources in the NSW Labor government of Premier Morris Iemma.

“I strenuously deny that I was engaged in any misconduct in the execution of my role as Minister for Mineral Resources,” Macdonald said in court.

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

Ian Macdonald has had a colourful political life, joining the Labor Party in 1972 and having his membership of the party terminated in 2013 for bringing the party into disrepute.

He became known in the travel industry when he was NSW Minister for Major Events and head of Events NSW. In 2010, then NSW Premier Kristina Keneally controversially decided to relinquish control of Events NSW and hand it to Macdonald. Macdonald later resigned from Parliament.

Around 2009, Macdonald was nicknamed “Sir Lunchalot” by the media and the NSW Opposition of the time, a name coined in reference to his office racking up bills for fine dining. The name made headlines in July 2009 when the Sydney Morning Herald published an article headed “The extraordinary reach of Sir Lunchalot”. The article stated that Macdonald at that time was in charge of 58 government committees which employed more than 300 people and cost the taxpayer more than AUD 1 million in sitting fees alone.

Macdonald is certainly not the first NSW politician to end up in prison. The history of the state includes some truly extraordinary cases, some far worse than anything Macdonald has ever been accused of.

History buffs may know that perhaps the most lurid character in the state’s political history was Thomas John Ley, NSW Minister for Justice from 1922 to 1925. After a convoluted political career that made him a great deal of money, Ley moved to England, where in 1946 he murdered a man in a case that became known as the “Chalk-pit Murder” because the victim’s corpse was dumped in a Surrey chalk pit.

In March 1947 Ley was convicted of that murder and sentenced at London’s Old Bailey court to be hanged. While awaiting execution Ley was declared insane and transferred to the infamous Broadmoor Asylum for the Criminally Insane (as it was then known), where he died soon after of a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 66.

Written by Peter Needham

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