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Della Bosca regrets 'poor personal decisions' -

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ELEANOR HALL: From the rescue of a Minister in Victoria, to New South Wales and the end of the
ministerial career of Health Minister John Della Bosca.

Mr Della Bosca fronted up to the media this morning, just hours after media revelations of an
extra-marital affair prompted him to hand in his resignation.

According to reports in the "Daily Telegraph" newspaper the minister had a sexual relationship with
a 26 year-old woman from March to August of this year.

Mr Della Bosca told the media pack today that he regretted the hurt and embarrassment that he'd
caused by what he described as some poor personal decisions.

But he denied ever having compromised his duties as health minister to spend time with the woman.

In Sydney, Barbara Miller reports.

BARBARA MILLER: John Della Bosca joined the ALP 36 years ago. But it took just a matter of a few
hours to apparently bring to an end a career path some thought would culminate in the state
premiership.

After learning yesterday afternoon that the "Daily Telegraph" was about to publish revelations of
an extra-marital affair, Mr Della Bosca resigned.

This morning he confirmed the decision to reporters.

JOHN DELLA BOSCA: I've taken this opportunity to confirm that last night I told the Premier that I
would be resigning today as NSW minister for health, and shortly I'll be presenting my resignation
as leader of the government in the Legislation Council to the parliamentary Labor Party.

BARBARA MILLER: The Daily Telegraph reported the affair began when John Della Bosca and the young
woman met at a function in March.

According to a statement provided to the paper by the woman, things moved pretty quickly.

They were soon lovers and were declaring their love for one another.

Mr Della Bosca wouldn't be drawn on any details of the alleged affair, saying simply he'd made a
mistake.

JOHN DELLA BOSCA: I've made some poor decisions, decisions that I regret. I've taken my medicine.
You have to live up to the consequences of bad decisions and that is to resign as leader of the
government in the Legislative Council and as a minister. I will serve out my term as a member of
the Legislative Council.

BARBARA MILLER: The woman claims Mr Della Bosca sneaked her into his office where they had sex on
at least one occasion, and that he once deliberately missed a flight to Armidale where he was due
to officially open a hospital to be with her.

Mr Della Bosca denies those claims.

JOHN DELLA BOSCA: I've been very diligent as a minister. I have never, ever deliberately missed a
plane, dileberately missed a flight on any occasion, and at no time have I breached my obligations
as a member of Parliament or as a minister in regard to ministerial conduct, protocols or security.

BARBARA MILLER: The "Daily Telegraph" says the woman approached the paper with the allegations and
that she was not paid for them.

But Mr Della Bosca took a long time to decide how to respond when asked if he believed he had been
set up.

JOHN DELLA BOSCA: There is no possible way in which anything that has occurred could be described
as a set-up

BARBARA MILLER: The NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell was also momentarily lost for words on AM
this morning:

Do you feel any sympathy at all for John Della Bosca?

BARRY O'FARRELL: Look .... look, Mr Della Bosca can account for his own actions. But as far as the
public's concerned, once again we see a Rees Government minister forced to resign because of a
scandal, and that's bad news for the public because it simply means that their issues aren't being
focused on, and ultimately that's the job of government.

BARBARA MILLER: Mr Della Bosca has long been thought to covet leadership ambitions. In recent
weeks, there's been intense speculation about a possible challenge.

Associate Professor Rodney Smith from Department of Government and International Relations at the
University of Sydney says one won't be coming for some time now.

RODNEY SMITH: I don't think it's necessarily the end of his career in the Labor Party. But I think
it certainly marks a point where he'll spend a fair bit of time on the backbench if he wants to
remain in parliamentary politics.

I can't see him coming back onto the front bench before the next election which Labor is likely to
lose. So I think it's the end of his ministerial career, at least for a number of years.

BARBARA MILLER: It's just over a year since John Della Bosca and his wife Belinda Neal were
involved in a scandal centring around a nightclub on the Central Coast. Do you think he was still
carrying baggage for that? Or do you think this incident alone has forced his resignation?

RODNEY SMITH: I think it's certainly a combination of the two incidents and the previous incidents.
John Della Bosca's been a powerful figure within the NSW Labor Party for some time. He's got a lot
of friends but also a lot of enemies within the party, and these incidents have mounted up over
time. This one on its own probably wasn't enough to see the end of his career, if you like,
ministerial career.

BARBARA MILLER: John Della Bosca is married to the Federal Labor MP Belinda Neal, with whom he has
two sons. He says he deeply regrets the hurt and embarrassment he's caused his family.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller in Sydney.