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Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

MINISTER CAUGHT AT GAY NIGHT CLUB

THE NSW Labor government has been rocked by yet another scandal, with Transport Minister David Campbell quitting last night following revelations he attended a gay sex club.
Mr Campbell, who is married with two adult sons, was caught on camera by the Seven Network on Tuesday evening, leaving Ken's of Kensington, in eastern Sydney.
He was shown driving away from the bath-house in his official car.
Last night Mr Campbell, whose wife has been battling cancer, said in a statement: "I apologise to my wife, family, colleagues, staff and the community for letting them down.
"This will be a very difficult time for my family and friends and I ask for their privacy to be respected."
While Mr Campbell, 52, said he would remain in his Wollongong-based seat of Keira, it appears highly unlikely he will contest the seat at the election due next March. Premier Kristina Keneally last night said she had accepted Mr Campbell's resignation and announced a reshuffle of her ministry. Industrial Relations Minister John Robertson will replace Mr Campbell in transport.
Ms Keneally said Mr Campbell had carried out his ministerial duties with dedication and success.
"I accepted his resignation on compassionate grounds as he clearly wants time to work through this difficult period with his family," she said. "I thank him for his tireless work and for fulfilling his ministerial duties with dedication. I appeal to the community to show understanding towards David and his family."
Mr Campbell's spectacular downfall follows the resignation last month of former Penrith MP Karyn Paluzzano, who admitted rorting her staff allowance.
The scandal around Mr Campbell makes it even more likely that Labor will lose Penrith at a by-election next month and brings to a screeching halt the momentum established by the popular NSW Premier since she replaced Nathan Rees last December.
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell declined to comment last night, citing the minister's patronage of the gay club as a personal matter. He instructed his MPs also to remain silent.
The Labor government has been racked by scandal over the past four years. Former Aboriginal affairs minister Milton Orkopoulos was sacked in November 2006 after he was charged with, and eventually convicted of, child-sex and drug offences. He is serving a 13-year sentence.
In September 2008, former police minister Matt Brown was forced to resign less than 72 hours after he was sworn in when it was revealed he had danced in his underpants during a party in Parliament House.
Last year, former health minister John Della Bosca resigned after revelations of an extra-marital affair.
As stunned MPs congregated in the corridors and bar of the NSW parliament last night, there was considerable anger at the media's treatment of what many considered a private matter. "He's done nothing wrong," one senior Labor figure told The Australian.
Several MPs testified that, even in the snake pit that is NSW politics, they had not heard rumours about Mr Campbell's sexuality.
There is no serious suggestion Mr Campbell breached official guidelines by driving himself to Ken's in his ministerial car.
The practice of ministers and senior opposition figures using their cars as their primary vehicles is common. It is also common for ministers to excuse their official drivers in the evening and on weekends and to drive themselves.
Mr Campbell, who was mayor of Wollongong from 1991 to 1999, is one of the government's most senior figures.
His removal adds to a considerable pool of ministerial talent on the back bench, including Mr Della Bosca, Mr Rees and former ports minister Joe Tripodi.
But Mr Campbell has been under considerable pressure in parliament recently, following several disasters in the transport portfolio. In February, Ms Keneally scrapped a plan, which Mr Campbell had been defending, to build a metro rail line from the Sydney CBD to the inner west.
Last month, motorists were trapped for up to eight hours on the F3 motorway north of Sydney, following an accident involving two trucks.
In parliament this week, the opposition claimed that Mr Campbell had gone missing during the F3 fiasco, leading to speculation last night that there was foreknowledge of his double life.