New evidence suggesting that Barry O'Farrell did receive a $3000 bottle of wine may have led to his decision to resign as the Premiere of New South Wales. The reported resignation came in a press conference today. He had appeared before the Independent Commission against Corruption yesterday.
The bottle of wine in question is a $3000 bottle of Grange wine, supposed to have been given by Australian Water Holdings head Nick Di Girolamo. Barry O'Farrell has accepted that there has been a "significant memory fail" on his part and resigned.
In a statement released on April 15, he had denied receiving the bottle of wine. The statement said that media reports of a receipt from a courier company showing Barry O'Farrell as the recipient was not strong evidence. According to the statement the so called receipt was actually an invoice and does not show that either he or his wife actually received the bottle.
He further claimed that no one was at his house from April 21, 2011 till Easter. The receipt had the date of April 22, 2011 on it and Barry O'Farrell claims to have been holidaying in Queensland at that time.
The Independent Commission against Corruption presented evidence in the form of a hand written note by Barry O'Farrell thanking Nick Di Girolamo for the gift. The new evidence may have prompted the resignation.
He was also not able to explain a call made from his phone to Nick Di Girolamo on April 20, 2011. There is however no evidence to suggest that there has been any kind of undue favour granted to Australian Water Holdings so far.
Questions are being raised about the timing of presenting the evidence of the hand written note by the Independent Commission against Corruption. The evidence only surfaced after Barry O'Farrell gave his testimony. He may now be recalled to testify again and may even face charges of perjury for lying to the commission.
Reactions on social media are mixed. Some people are sorry to see him leave while others joke about his statement about having a bad memory of the events. But the overwhelming sentiment seems to be that he appears to be corrupt and may have also lied.
Meanwhile Tony Abbot has reportedly come to the defence of Barry O'Farrell and called his decision to resign as an honourable one. He also believed that the former Premiere did not deliberately mislead the Independent Commission against Corruption.
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