Torbay referred to ICAC

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Torbay referred to ICAC

Date March 20, 2013 – 1:52PM 188 reading now

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Sean Nicholls

Sydney Morning Herald State Political Editor

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Torbay: Premier ‘surprised as anyone else’

NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, responds to the resignation of state independent Richard Torbay.
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Information that led to Richard Torbay’s dumping as a federal Nationals candidate and his resignation from the NSW parliament over links to the Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid has been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

There is speculation that the government will make an announcement about the referral to the corruption watchdog today.

This morning Mr Torbay resigned as the independent state member for Northern Tablelands, effective immediately.

Referred to ICAC … Richard Torbay. Photo: Jim Rice

The resignation came only hours after he was forced to quit as the Nationals candidate for the federal seat of New England, where he was to challenge the independent MP, Tony Windsor at the September 14 federal election.

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In a statement, Mr Torbay cited the amount of pressure placed on his family by politics, but also acknowledged he had brought forward the decision.

On Monday night the NSW Nationals were reportedly given information related to Mr Torbay’s acceptance of funding from the Labor party to run against Nationals candidates.

The party’s state chairman, Niall Blair, would not disclose the nature of the information, but said the party was seeking legal advice.

Mr Torbay’s resignation from the NSW parliament will spark a by-election in Northern Tablelands, which he has held as an independent MP since 1999.

The Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has indicated his willingness to stand in the federal seat of New England if he is endorsed by the party.

It is understood the Nationals move to dump Mr Torbay was related to concerns about his links to the family of the Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, who is the subject of the largest ever corruption investigation in NSW.

Mr Obeid, a former upper house MP, is accused of conspiring with the then minerals minister, Ian Macdonald, in 2008 to rig a tender for a lucrative coal exploration licences.

On Monday, Mr Windsor called on Mr Torbay to explain himself over claims by the Labor strategist Shane Easson that Mr Obeid had helped kick start Mr Torbay’s political career.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/torbay-referred-to-icac-20130320-2gez8.html#ixzz2O3ABJLsx

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