“I’ve always felt that Newcastle is a strange place as it seemed to be run by a small group of very powerful people who were well placed in the legal, political, but most importantly the economic arenas and really had control too have seemed.
“There seemed to be this kind of weird oligarchs that were very wealthy and controlled certain industries and manipulated things and did things themselves.”
Watson said Newcastle is a wonderful city with impressive leaders, many of whom are wealthy because they are talented entrepreneurs. However, he believed the problems stemmed from “too much power in too few hands”.
In 2014, the ICAC in Newcastle slammed the Liberal Party ranks when it investigated NSW politicians for accepting illicit donations from property developers. Crakanthorp’s career in state politics was born from the ashes.
Liberal MP for Newcastle Tim Owen resigned after admitting he had accepted an envelope full of $10,000 in cash from developer and then Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy.
Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell was another Liberal victim after he admitted receiving $10,000 in a brown paper bag on a rendezvous at McCloy’s Bentley and accepting money from another real estate developer through a sham sale of artwork was camouflaged.
McCloy, who described himself as a “walking ATM”, also admitted to giving money to Swansea MP Garry Edwards. Edwards stepped aside but denied looking at the envelope before handing it to a Liberal Party official.
Crakanthorp, a longtime councilor from Newcastle who had been campaigning for the state seat, was finally rewarded for his patience when he was nominated for the Labor Party in a by-election sparked by Owen’s resignation.
The son of two school teachers from the sleepy town of Moruya on the NSW south coast, he had moved to Newcastle to study and “fell in love with the city”.
Crakanthorp was an avid surfer and family man, raising four children with his wife Lara, now known as Laura. He was a long time senior in ALP but also had hands-on experience in disability care and mine safety and was a board member of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
Crakanthorp’s campaign was not without its ups and downs as he was asked about the 18 months he had worked for disgraced Lake Macquarie businessman Hugh Charles Gordon.
Some Hunter families lost everything after Gordon’s company Whet Investments collapsed in 2005 after raising more than $10 million. Gordon was sentenced to 11 months in prison in 2010 for dishonesty and fraud.
Crakanthorp admitted Newcastle Herald He had been warned about Gordon but said: “As soon as I realized it wasn’t a good place to live, I stopped working there.”
When asked if it was fair to reconsider the issue, he replied, “I don’t think it matters at all.”
During another interview with the newspaper, Crakanthorp resisted suggestions that novocastrians were still wary of Labor due to past corruption scandals.
“Joe Tripodi isn’t at the party anymore. It’s a new generation of people,” he said at the time.
Candidates in the October 2014 by-election were required to attend a New South Wales Electoral Commission seminar where they were explained their funding and disclosure requirements.
Crakanthorp won the seat with a weaker-than-expected 37 percent of the primary vote. In his inaugural address, he made only passing mention of the ICAC riots that had led to the fall of his predecessor and McCloy’s resignation as mayor.
“This experience has given me an even deeper understanding of what is really important in the day-to-day life of my fellow Newcastle citizens,” he said.
On Friday, McCloy said that herald He was surprised that Crakanthorp had failed to meet its disclosure requirements.
“He watched me leave the room many times when there was evidence of a conflict of interest because it should be easy to manage,” McCloy said.
The current Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Nuatali Nelmes, who has never been accused of wrongdoing or wrongdoing during her tenure, said Crakanthorp has been very supportive of the City Council’s “progressive agenda”.
“In particular, we support our strong action against climate change and our net zero targets,” said Nelmes. “Tim also helped secure the vital $25 million to help fight devastating coastal erosion… after years of community and council campaigning.”
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