Dissecting Eddie’s charming manner


Dissecting Eddie’s charming manner

The Daily Telegraph
February 05, 201312:00AM

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LABOR powerbroker Eddie Obeid didn’t rise to his level of prominence and authority within the NSW ALP without possessing a certain amount of charm.

The enormous number of factional deals Obeid accomplished over decades of Labor Party involvement is testament to his persuasiveness.

But while Obeid’s gifts for deal-making were remarkably effective within the ALP, they don’t seem quite as useful inside the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

During a stunning day of evidence yesterday, Obeid presented his complete range of tactical gambits.

He blustered, smiled, interrupted and distracted.

Geoffrey Watson SC, the counsel assisting the inquiry, wasn’t buying any of it. Nor was ICAC Commissioner David Ipp.

For once, Eddie Obeid may have encountered men who are immune to his usually winning ways

“I’m warning you,” Ipp said at one point. “Answer the question or you will be held guilty of contempt. You persist in not answering the question and interrupting.”

Besides his attempts at evasion, Obeid presented an image of amiable confidence, eventually drawing a warning from Watson that he cease smiling.

Obeid’s response was telling: “I will not be intimidated by you or anyone else.”

That certainly seems to be the case. As the hearing continues, Obeid seems to have been the most confident of all people so far called to answer questions.

He was buoyant even before he entered yesterday’s hearing.

Asked by a television reporter if he feared losing his empire, Obeid smiled again and answered: “Far from it.”

If it wasn’t already the best show in town, Eddie Obeid yesterday confirmed ICAC’s top tier theatrical status. Time will tell if he’s still smiling when the inquiry concludes.

Commuters are fed up

IT’S an item of faith among Sydney commuters that one drop of rain on our roads means traffic jams and delays across the entire city.

Yesterday we found that one train incident can cause similar delays throughout the Sydney rail system.

The problems began even before most commuters were awake, at 4.30am, when a train dislodged overhead wiring at Waverton station. As those wires came down, so did the hopes of any rail users for a quick journey to the office, school or factory.

Nearly 12 hours later, after painstaking and cautious work with the rail system’s hugely powerful electrical structures, Sydney’s trains were finally back on schedule.

If state politicians need any reminders of how significant trains are as an issue, they need only have monitored the fury of thwarted travellers. Sydney’s workers are completely fed up with our sub-standard train system. Yesterday’s outage may have been the final straw for many who usually rely on trains to get them to work.

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