Arthur Sinodinos steps aside as company investigated
ASSISTANT Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos has resigned from his ministerial role amid political attacks on his credibility and a corruption investigation in New South Wales into a company he once directed.
Senator Sinodinos stepped down from his outer ministry position until the Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation of Australian Water Holdings is completed.
He was a director and one-time chairman of the Obeid family-linked company and Liberal Party Treasurer, when AHW donated money to the political party.
The company is now at the centre of the latest ICAC investigation, with an alleged deal with Sydney Water that Sen Sinodinos stood to make $20 million from, the subject of hearings in Sydney this week.
While no specific allegation of wrongdoing has been levelled at the former chief of staff to then-Prime Minister John Howard, the Labor Party has made political capital out of the situation.
In Canberra on Wednesday, the Opposition spent a second straight day attacking Sen Sinodinos' reputation, calling on him to make a fulsome statement to the Senate about his involvement in the company.
The Senate came to a virtual stand-still during several hours of debate on Wednesday as the Opposition sought to force the Senator to make that statement.
After telling parliament on Tuesday he would be "vindicated" by the ICAC investigation, he stood in parliament on Wednesday to declare he would stand aside from the ministry until the investigation was complete.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has maintained his support for the widely respected political figure, said Sen Sinodinos had "done the right thing".
EARLIER: Call for statement on Sinodinos link to company
LABOR and The Greens are calling on Assistance Finance Minister Senator Arthur Sinodinos to make a statement over his involvement with a company that is being investigated by New South Wales' corruption commission.
A fiery debate is raging in the Senate in Canberra over Sen Sinodinos' role on the board of Australian Water Holdings, which donated money to the Liberal Party while the Senator was then Treasurer of the party.
The company is now being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, with noted links of the water company to Eddie Obeid.
On Monday, that inquiry heard Sen Sinodinos stood to make up to $20 million from an infrastructure deal with Sydney Water in January 2012.
Sen Sinodinos said in parliament yesterday the ICAC inquiry would find him "vindicated", and Coalition figures including Attorney-General Senator George Brandis and Prime Minister Tony Abbott have defended his reputation as of the "highest integrity".
While there have been no actual allegations of any wrongdoing by the Abbott Government front-bencher, Labor and The Greens have called on Sen Sinodinos to make a complete statement to the parliament about his involvement in the company.