There is something about a court case followed by the withdrawal and pulping of a book which instantly arouses interest. Add to that the name of Eddie Obeid, easily the name most likely to invoke adjectives like “corrupt”, “sleazy” and “criminal”, and how could anyone resist this tale of a megalomaniac’s fall from power?
This book first appeared in August 2014 and was quickly recalled and pulped by the publisher due to legal action taken on behalf of the Obeid family. It has now been re-edited and tightened up to eliminate a defamation case, but it still packs a wallop. It tells how Eddie Obeid rose from his poor immigrant Lebanese background to be a kingmaker of NSW politics, appointing and sacking Premiers at will and enriching his family’s coffers by millions of dollars in the process. What is just as tantalising is the long list of names cropping up along the way – Graham Richardson, Rene Rivkin, Morris Iemma, Carl Bitar, Arthur Sinodinos and many more - all were somehow involved with this sordid passage which was ultimately brought to a stop by the investigations of the NSW ICAC, investigations which are still not over. Criminal charges are forthcoming for a number of specific offences, and Eddie may yet end up in jail.
This story is long, involved and complicated, but truly riveting and begs the question: “Is there any such thing as an honest politician?”