Sidoti accused of making up evidence

·3-min read

The public hearings into corruption allegations against NSW MP John Sidoti have drawn to a fiery close, with accusations that he made up evidence and avoided answering questions.

The member for Drummoyne, who left the Liberal party room before the hearings to sit on the cross bench, was excused on Tuesday after giving evidence to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption for five days.

Labor is calling for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to avoid relying on Mr Sidoti's vote in parliament and keep him out of her party.

"His vote is a tainted vote," Opposition Leader Jodi McKay said on Tuesday, describing the evidence aired during the four weeks of public hearings as "concerning".

Mr Sidoti, who denies all wrongdoing, is accused of failing to disclose property interests and misusing his position as an MP.

The inquiry has probed allegations he pressured Canada Bay councillors in Sydney's inner west to vote for town planning changes that would allow more development on Five Dock sites owned by his family and friends.

The MP was accused several times of giving false evidence, including on Tuesday.

As he was examined by his own barrister on Tuesday, Mr Sidoti told the commission a recent chance encounter "a couple of weeks ago" had caused him to revise his recollections of a meeting he had been questioned over during the inquiry.

He said the former Five Dock Chamber of Commerce vice-president Glen Haron drove past him as he was walking his dog "in the first or second week of the inquiry" and pulled over to chat. Mr Haron told him he had seen Mr Sidoti say he did not recall the meeting.

"He basically said, 'Are you silly?' or something, 'Have you lost your memory?' You organised the meeting for us. And then I said to him, 'Was I there? I just don't recall' and he said 'You were there, you stayed in your own office and you didn't come in'."

But counsel assisting Rob Ranken pointed out that Mr Sidoti had only started giving evidence last Tuesday, in inquiry's fourth week.

"I'm suggesting you have made up that evidence of that conversation with Mr Haron and it is false evidence."

"No, absolutely not. That's not correct at all," Mr Sidoti replied.

Mr Ranken had earlier suggested Mr Sidoti's evidence was "absolutely ridiculous".

The Drummoyne MP also ran into trouble when Commissioner Peter Hall QC accused him of "obfuscating" during an answer to a question about how he managed conflicts of interests when making representations to councillors on behalf of his constituents.

"Do you say you were entitled to assume that everybody knew about your family's property interest in the Five Dock area and not make that explicit when you were making representations (to them)?" Mr Ranken asked.

Mr Sidoti replied that "everybody knew", but Mr Ranken insisted he answer the question.

"That's what you're doing. You're assuming and entitled," Mr Sidoti snapped back. "I know you don't like my answer but that's not going to change my answer."

Commissioner Hall told Mr Sidoti it was a "straightforward question".

"You ... must co-operate with the commission to answer the question whether you like it or not," he said.

Mr Sidoti on Tuesday again denied any wrongdoing.