About the Book and the Author

Ruth Richmond

Ruth Richmond MA, MCA has written the authorised biography of Independent MP, corruption fighter, John Hatton, AO.
The Mafia, Death Threats, Corrupt Police, Political Isolation - could not stop him ...

It is a true story of how some people in NSW set out to make the system better and, despite many obstables and setbacks, managed to do so.

Former High Court Judge Michael Kirby said:
John Hatton was something of a burr under the saddle of New South Wales politics.

John Hatton - The Man Who Made A Difference

John Hatton Making a Difference

To Buy the Book

Mrs Ruth Richmond
14 McGrath Street
Mulwala NSW 2647
Telephone: 0448064446

Email: rbooks@fastrac.net.au

The Stench in this Parliament takes us inside the mind of John Hatton, born to poverty but destined to carry out the role of an Independent MLA in the NSW Parliament in a way no one before or since has done. It takes us through his childhood giving insights into why he would later struggle so hard for the underdog – through his career as an educator and the need for social justice and equity – as a local councilor struggling with bureaucratic lunacy until in frustration he convinces his wife Vera to help him run for Parliament. He takes a safe Liberal seat and keeps it until he retires.

His election is followed by twenty two years of courage and determination to create more government accountability, see parliamentary reform and fight corruption wherever he smells it out. He fights it by exposure. This inevitably incurs bipartisan wrath, public insult and criminal death threats. His dream is to make democracy work, and for Government to be transparent and accountable.

In the course of his career the boy with holes in his shoes, no uniform and only one book for French and English, receives awards and honors, is offered the Speakership, portfolios (which he refuses in order to stay independent) membership on committees and study tours. As the book progresses, his dream becomes ours as we read how he made government listen, how we can and how we must make a difference if Australians are to enjoy democracy.

Book Availability in Australia

Every newsagency in New South Wales is able to order this monograph through its distribution network.

Dymocks as well as Angus & Robertson have the book in stock.
• · Dymocks
• · Angus & Robertson.

Media Coverage of the Book Launch and Matters of Concerns Raised by Mr John Hatton, AO

The timing could hardly be better: as allegations of corruption continue to swirl around the NSW Parliament following the murder of Michael McGurk, the veteran former state MP and noted corruption fighter John Hatton has announced the imminent launch of his biography. Its title? The Stench in this Parliament. Penned by Ruth Richmond, the book contains a glowing forward from the Sydney Lord Mayor and state MP for Sydney, Clover Moore, who along with Hatton and Peter McDonald shared the balance of power in Parliament while Nick Greiner was premier. Hatton, who sat in Parliament for 22 years and was hated by politicians from both major parties, is credited with instigating the Wood Royal Commission into corruption in the NSW Police. The book is subtitled ''The story of the Independent nobody who brought down a premier'', referring to Hatton's lead role in forcing Greiner's resignation from Parliament over the Terry Metherell affair. Richmond notes: ''In the minds of many, Greiner's sacking created a deep scar in Hatton's credibility.'' Despite the passage of time, it seems old wounds are yet to fully heal: Metherell, Greiner and his successor as premier, John Fahey, all declined to be interviewed for the book, Richmond writes. It will be launched by one of Parliament's current independents, the Speaker, Richard Torbay, on November 4. Stench revisited rivals the latest - by Sean Nicholls and Emily Dunn

John Hatton must be feeling a sense of déjà vu these days Life story of corruption fighter timely for NSW - The Editorial from the Bay Post

• · John Hatton - Speaking at the launch of his biography (The Australian)
• · ABC - Stateline NSW
• · Royal commission needed into NSW planning and development(The Australian)
• · Planning in NSW is out of control (The SMH & The Age)
• · Hatton Tells All(South Coast Register)
• · ICAC - a shadow of its former self
• · Kill the stench (Tweed [Shire] Echo)
• · ABC Illawarra Regional News
• · THE Shaolin monks of central China are not known for their work as property developers Alarm at the sound of one hand upsizing
• · Greens endorse Hatton call for Royal Commission into donations

Quotes from the Book and the Assembly Handsard


Corruption of Government

The pillars supporting the Westminster System have been
discarded... bad government results in a starved constituency and a
corrupt society and that corruption can only exist in secrecy and

John Hatton 1994

Mackay murder

Once, having gone to Griffith to visit Mrs Mackay, Hatton had
dropped young James Mackay off to school. He remembers being
moved to tears and thinking, ‘Some bastard murdered his father.”
As she was dying from a lung disease in Griffith Hospital, Barbara
Mackay had taken Hatton’s hand and reduced him to tears again by
saying, ‘John, you were the only one to keep your promise over my
Don’s murder.’


‘...shoes without holes, big enough beds, warm enough blankets,
pants without patches, a box of pencils for school. Surely ‘the lot’
would mean work every day for my father and more than one good
dress for my mother.’
John Hatton

Electing a nobody

‘They led me down to the old part of the House to a warren of little
offices and put me in one. The roof leaks.’
John Hatton

The seating arrangements in the Parliamentary dining room were
clearly partisan. ‘In the dining room I ate with a book propped in
front of me while I read or pretended to read.’
John Hatton

Exposing Police corruption

It is mid afternoon 11 May 1994. A voice shouts into a telephone,
‘Get the men up here straight away! Hatton’s on his feet.’
Moments later, Members of the NSW Legislative Assembly as the
door to the public gallery opens and a galaxy of senior police officers,
resplendent in full dress, file in and form row upon row of
intimidating lines of blue. Ranking from Deputy Commissioner to
Assistant Commissioner to Inspector, and with epaulettes gleaming,
they sit immobile, waiting. Never before in the history of the NSW
Parliament has this occurred.
Nigel Hadgkiss, Chief Investigator NSW Police Royal Commission:
‘Hatton’s performance during that marathon debate was a brave
one.’ ‘Áfter all,’ he adds, ‘He was no spring chicken at the time.’

Askin Bribes

Max Leiberman, the man connected to the ARMCO project in
Nowra, told Hatton it was impossible to do business in NSW because
of the bribes Askin demanded. He related the story of Askin leaving
the desk draw open while he left Leiberman alone in the office.
Askin, upon his return, seeing the drawer still open but empty,
terminated the discussion with Leiberman and dismissed him.

Winchester Murder Inquest

‘You’d think it was the Hatton Inquest we were talking about here.’
Jim McCrudden,

The Mafia

At one meeting with Deputy Police Commissioner Col Cole and
Superintendent Barney Ross at Police Headquarters, Hatton was
shown a chart of Mafia families based around Griffith and linked to
other areas of NSW. White crosses on the chart signified those killed.
At first Hatton was convinced he should keep quiet but as time
passed he formed the view that it was a ploy to muzzle him.
Friends and Enemies
‘The Government failed to recognize that it had been mortally
John Hatton

The Metherell Affair

It is ironic that Hatton should have been instrumental in destroying
the political career of the Premier who had done most to encourage
his efforts towards Parliamentary reform and that Greiner’s own
creation, ICAC, should have forced his resignation.
Greiner said, ‘I thought , here is someone out of his tiny, cotton-
picking mind, someone who could not have a view on the matter, but
thought he was in a position to decide it.

Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service

John Hatton, Independent South Coast MP, raised matters of police corruption in the NSW Parliament for many years, leading to the Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service. Established on 13 May 1994, the Royal Commission authorised Justice James Wood to investigate the existence and extent of corruption in the NSW Police Service and other related matters. The final report was released in 1997 in 6 volumes.

Protests Against Development

I am fortunate that, as well as official sources, I have quite good information from my research officer, Arthur King, who was involved in the Victoria Street, Kings Cross, protests against development by Abe Saffron and who was kidnapped, he believes by arrangement through police officers, taken away in the boot of a car and kept overnight in fear for his life. He first came to me together with a journalist, Peter Rees, who at that time was working for the West-Australian. They were writing a book on the disappearance of Juanita Nielsen. The documents and the solid nature of the evidence in this case cannot be denied. Mrs Nielsen was last seen alive in a club owned by Abe Saffron and run by Jim Anderson, a friend of the developer of Victoria Street, Mr Frank Theeman

Honourable members are aware of the work of what was an unprecedented parliamentary committee. I stress that it did not go into matters of corruption, but what it uncovered, and the evidence it received, screamed out for follow-up action. The silence was deafening. All the blame does not go to the Minister, by any means. I want to know what the Independent Commission Against Corruption has done about the enormous amount of intelligence that was passed on to it. I want to know why Temby has not investigated these matters and why we have not heard anything from him. Add to that the enormous number of files given to him by the head of the Cabinet Office, Mr Sturgess, and by the Minister. I want to know why the ICAC has failed to perform and why there is a deafening silence about widespread corruption within the ICAC...

$200 Million Worth of Heroin

The Milloo inquiry inquired into some members of the gaming squad and, I believe, charged nearly all of the members it looked at. It did not go any further. The unanimous findings of the bipartisan committee revealed that: when it suited, police, senior superintendents, the assistant commissioner and even Commissioner Lauer would lie under oath; hundreds of items and files could be made to disappear; and 412 items were lost from the commissioner's computer. The parliamentary committee revealed that police were prepared to involve themselves in a conspiracy against the truth; there was collusion in statements; inability to find essential witnesses who were publicly listed; and inability to trace some records when the tracing of those records proved no problem for the committee - and these were the honest police trotted out before the parliamentary committee! These are the police who are supposed to clean up the force!

The committee found that the drug exhibit room at Central police station, which at any one time held up to $200 million worth of drug exhibits, remained insecure for 15 months, despite demands by Commissioner Avery, Minister Pickering and Premier Greiner to make it secure. Only corrupt and naked power at the highest level can resist such demands and get away with it for so long. Finally, the police produced a deficient specification to ensure that surveillance cameras could be switched off from the inside. That is when Ted Pickering blew his stack; that is when Ted Pickering said to the officer, "Take away that specification if you want to keep your job". Honourable members should think about that.

This room held kilos of heroin with no test for purity ...

Police Officer Shot

I believe that the evidence before the committee, properly analysed, shows that senior officers were prepared to lie under oath time after time in support of their commissioner. It took the Sydney Morning Herald to reveal the loss of marijuana exhibits at the Frenchs Forest police station and the replacement of those exhibits by police going to nearby forest land and harvesting it. There were allegations of cocaine trafficking associated with that police station. One officer was not questioned prior to going to South America. He was put on customs alert, yet upon his return he was not questioned for six weeks. Finally, he was allowed to resign while under investigation.

Some officers have been charged, but what was really going on at Frenchs Forest police station, and for how many years? What was happening at other police stations? In the New South Wales Police Service, drugs and the shooting of an officer are not matters of which Commissioner Lauer is appraised. Believe that, if you will! What was really behind the Frenchs Forest stabbing, then shooting; the smoking of marijuana by officers in the station; the stealing of marijuana exhibits; either the growing of marijuana by police or the harvesting of it by police? Were none of these circumstances known to Commissioner Lauer? I, for one, in my minority report in the police committee, make it quite clear that that is not possible. If it is possible, Commissioner Lauer should not be there, because the force is out of control. Neither was the force in the control of Minister Pickering if the police commissioner could threaten him.

Minister Pickering resigned for misleading Parliament, but the commissioner was re-appointed for five years. I believe that the force is not in the control of the present Minister and I believe that we need a royal commission. Commissioner Lauer expects us to believe that he knew about the shooting but not about the criminal drug offences that had been going on for two years. He said he was not told. Chief Inspector Myatt of internal affairs did not tell him; the head of the shooting team did not tell him; Commissioner Cole, the head of internal affairs, did not tell him. He did not ask Commissioner Cole, who lived just down the corridor, why a police officer was stabbed and then shot. Lauer maintained that drugs and shooting are an internal affairs matter under Commissioner Cole. He neither informed his Commissioner nor obeyed the law.

The transcript of the speech is available on the Internet: Consideration of Urgent Motion to establish a Royal Commission, staffed by personnel other than serving or former New South Wales Police, to inquire into the operations of the Police Service

Mafia Involvement with Drug Trafficking

This is the gravest matter that I have ever raised. The second most senior police officer in our country has been assassinated. More than 10 crops of marijuana, worth tens of millions of dollars, were grown on the South Coast and Southern Tablelands of New South Wales and in the Australian Capital Territory, some of them with police knowledge and or involvement. There was mafia and other criminal involvement with police in illegal marijuana-growing operations.

For seven years senior State and Federal police have been and are involved in a massive coverup and conspiracy of silence to avoid responsibility for illegal acts. Judge Foord has links with organised crime and the marijuana industry. There are serious questions about the efficiency of the National Crime Authority. There is an absence of effective structures which, together with incompetence and lack of political commitment, has allowed organised crime to flourish, especially in the
marijuana industry. There is a danger to my life. An attempt was made to bug a committee room of the Australian Parliament to listen in on secret discussions involving the National Crime Authority.

There is a lack of political and administrative will to pursue the illegalities of police action in a multimillion dollar marijuana-growing operation. Bungling and corruption have been involved and people have profited from it. Attention is focused on whistleblowers rather than the illegality of police activity. All this has happened despite important legislative advances-they are not inconsiderable-such as the confiscation of the proceeds of crime and the Independent Commission Against Corruption that were put in place by this Government.

After what I reveal today, if this Government does not give unstinting and unqualified support to the establishment of a Federal royal commission as outlined and, because of sensitivities within the police force or the police ministry concerning outside investigations, this Government slides away from its responsibilities in this awesome matter, it will commit political suicide and stand condemned for its lack of courage. I do not believe it will but I have not taken the risks and carried the burdens this far to be denied. This is just the beginning.

The full motion in the NSW Parliament John Hatton stretched the limits of the role of an Independent Member of the New South Wales Parliament

CODA: The transcript of the speech is available in PDF version: Motions in the People's House