NSW police minister forced to resign over donations
A SIMPLE "I'll stand aside" wasn't enough for NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher, who was forced to resign on Friday amid allegations he was at the centre of Liberal Party donations scandal.
Battle lines were drawn after the state's corruption watchdog made clear it would spare no-one - not even a former police officer who had "spent his entire life fighting corruption and crime".
Claims Mr Gallacher had helped mining magnate Nathan Tinkler funnel tens of thousands of developer dollars into a secret fund ahead of the 2011 state election, were aired before ICAC on Friday morning.
Counsel assisting the commission Geoffrey Watson said he would be pursuing the allegations and accused businessman Darren Williams of lying about Mr Gallacher's connection to the fund.
At first Mr Gallacher-who told reporters at the Police Attestation Ceremony at Goulburn he had just been informed of the allegations - indicated he would stand aside pending the outcome of the investigation but by Friday night, his position was officially vacant.
Dealing with the latest extraordinary claim against yet another of his most trusted colleagues, NSW Premier Mike Baird told reporters in Canberra that while he had made no judgement on the allegations, Mr Gallacher's plan to "temporarily" stand aside would be "an unacceptable distraction for my government".
"I will take every single action required to clean up politics in NSW. I don't care what the political badge is," Mr Baird said
"My job here is to fix it and I give an assurance to everyone in NSW that's exactly what I will do."
The bulk of allegations before ICAC relate to dealings on the Central Coast where Mr Gallacher has lived for more than 25 years.
Speaking to reporters on Friday afternoon Mr Gallacher said he was "disappointed" about the way the claims had been made but accepted he could not remain police minister while "such a serious" allegation remained unanswered.