NSW government to strip Obeid of pension
The three biggest victims of Eddie Obeid's unyielding power in the NSW Labor party have hailed his spectacular fall from grace, saying the former MP has finally got his "deserts".
"He can't get long enough as far as I'm concerned," ex-premier Morris Iemma said after Obeid was sentenced on Thursday to a minimum of three years jail for corruption.
Mr Iemma, who was forced to resign in 2008 after Obeid stopped him from changing his cabinet, said he had been vindicated by the news.
"Eddie Obeid has got his just deserts ... I say good riddance," he said.
Nathan Rees, who was knifed by Obeid and the ALP's right faction in 2009, meanwhile dug straight in to slam the former Labor powerbroker.
""He's been found to be corrupt and he's now in jail and he's lost his order of Australia medal," the former premier said.
"It's game over for Eddie Obeid and a lot of people will be saying that's great."
Rees' successor Kristina Keneally was satisfied that "justice had been done".
"The judgment's words on the significance of Obeid's crime and its potential to undermine our democratic system are important," she said.
Current NSW Premier Mike Baird echoed those comments on Thursday and said his government would move to change laws to ensure Obeid is stripped of his hefty $120,000 a year parliamentary pension.
"(If) you use your public office for personal gain, there is no excuse," he told reporters in Sydney shortly after Obeid's sentencing.
"My hope is it never happens again," he said.
At present, MPs can only be stripped of their pension if they are still in office when they are charged with a serious offence, punishable by at least a five-year imprisonment.
Mr Baird said the government would work with the opposition and crossbench MPs over the summer break to amend the legislation and "repair this glaring anomaly".
NSW Labor will support the move if the "legislation is sensible", deputy leader Michael Daley said, arguing the changes were something the party had been pushing for.
"We are gratified that a custodial sentence has been handed down," he said.
Greens MP Jamie Parker said Obeid's sentencing was a "testament to the hard work of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)".
"It shows the crucial need for a strong, independent corruption fighting body in NSW," he said in a statement.
Obeid's son-in-law Majid Saab, however, was not impressed.
"It's absolutely appalling," he said outside court.
Obeid was sentenced to a maximum jail term of five years after being found guilty in July of lobbying a senior public servant over lucrative Circular Quay leases without revealing his family's stake in the outlets.
The 73-year-old's barrister has signalled he will appeal against the conviction and sentence.
The Baird government will move to recover around $280,000 worth of taxpayer-funded legal assistance given to the former MP to fight his court case.
This will be done once Obeid's avenues for appeal are exhausted, the premier said.