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NSW Preimer furious at underpants MP -

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NSW Preimer furious at underpants MP

The World Today - Thursday, 11 September , 2008 12:52:47

Reporter: Simon Santow

ELEANOR HALL: Just days after he made a great show of appointing a fresh, new Cabinet, the new
Premier of New South Wales has sacked one of his key minsters.

But it's not yet clear whether the Police Minister Matt Brown lost his job because he stripped down
to his underwear at a Parliament House party earlier this year or because he failed to disclose all
the details about it to his Premier.

Last night Premier Nathan Rees demanded the resignation of the newly installed Mr Brown. He says
he's furious about the minister's behaviour, but that Mr Brown's greatest mistake was to fail to
tell him the whole truth when he asked him to come clean over the affair.

In Sydney, Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: Matt Brown was a minister going places. Under the leadership of Nathan Rees, he'd
just been promoted to the Police portfolio. Now his political career is in tatters, permanently
damaged by a bout of late-night dirty dancing in his underwear at a post-Budget Parliament House
office party with Labor colleagues.

MATT BROWN: I'm not wanting to duck or weave this issue. As you can imagine this is a pretty tough
day for me.

I've tendered my resignation because I behaved in a way not fitting or befitting a minister and I'm
truly sorry for any offence that I may have caused in regards to that behaviour. I regret it. If I
could turn back the clock, I would, but I'm not trying to duck and weave.

SIMON SANTOW: Premier Nathan Rees told listeners on Sydney's Fairfax Radio the latest scandal is
more than embarrassing.

NATHAN REES: Former minister Brown conceded to me last night that he had been in his underwear.
That was not what he told me earlier in the day and that's why I demanded his resignation.

We've been as a Government through a very testing period over the last 12 months, none more testing
than the last week or so, and to have a minister be less than forthright with me about an issue
like this is bitterly disappointing. We told the people of New South Wales that...

RADIO ANNOUNCER: Well you said the soap opera was over.

NATHAN REES: That's right, that's precisely right. And I also said that my priority in the first
instance is to restore people's confidence in the administration of this state and I won't be
diverted from that, but there's no question that this is a setback.

SIMON SANTOW: Labor colleague Noreen Hay represents an electorate not far from Matt Brown's Kiama
constituency. She told AM this morning that the frolics she took part in in Mr Brown's
parliamentary office were just jovial and the Minister kept his clothes on.

NOREEN HAY: I'm told this morning that it's been described as a wild party. Can I say that there
didn't seem much wild about it to me.

But, you know, people were coming and going and there was music on, a number of people were
dancing. It was just people having fun, a bit of laughter, a bit of joking. And it was quite light
hearted. There was nothing sort of heavy duty while I was there.

SIMON SANTOW: And what was the state of Minister Matt Brown's dress at that stage?

NOREEN HAY: Whilst I was in his room he was fully dressed and this is the point I've made to a
number of people. I think whatever happened after I left that room I don't know but whilst I was in
that room, and I had a dance with Matt, he was fully clothed.

SIMON SANTOW: Did he ever say to your daughter, "Look at this, I'm titty something your mother"?

NOREEN HAY: I checked with my daughter. She doesn't recall that being said or hearing that being
said and I certainly don't recall that being said.

SIMON SANTOW: Matt Brown says in the midst of the political mess, he's been a victim too.

MATT BROWN: There's been some scurrilous accusations about inappropriate behaviour regarding a
female work colleague.

I want to state categorically they are lies, they are not true, they did not happen. You can see
here in this community I treat people with respect and I would never treat anyone, let alone a
female work colleague, as some people are suggesting. Why are they suggesting it? I don't know.
They are appalling, offensive allegations and I reject them.

SIMON SANTOW: New South Wales Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell maintains the Premier's response
has fallen short of public expectations.

BARRY O'FARRELL: There's no confidence that Nathan Rees is sacking Matt Brown for the right
reasons. Nor is there any confidence that Mr Rees didn't know about this affair before he chose
Matt Brown for the sensitive police portfolio.

It beggars belief that Nathan Rees who was a member of Cabinet at the time that this affair and
incident occurred, who was a member of Cabinet that the next day was warned by Morris Iemma against
inappropriate ministerial behaviour, wouldn't have known about this and it just again demonstrates
his lack of judgement, his poor judgement when it came to putting together his ministry.

SIMON SANTOW: Mr Rees has been in the media this morning saying that the reason he sacked his
minister was that he didn't come clean with the full truth when the Premier asked him to.

What about the mere fact that he had a party and that these acts allegedly occurred? Should that
have been enough for his resignation?

BARRY O'FARRELL: Well what the media outlet that broke this story was first told by Mr Rees' office
was that this was unacceptable behaviour but no action would be taken. Mr Rees has then after that
newspaper was published decided to appear to be tougher.

But look, that doesn't absolve Mr Rees. Mr Rees was on radio this morning saying he'd spoken to
many people about this incident, but he apparently didn't speak to Noreen Hay who is one of the
other parties to the incident who has been on radio today denying it occurred.

This is the same old Labor Party - arrogant, out of touch, drunk with power, which believes it can
say or do anything and get away with it.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the New South Wales Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell, ending Simon Santow's