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NSW Parliament suspends MP John Sidoti

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Disgraced former Liberal MP John Sidoti has been suspended from the NSW parliament after the state’s corruption watchdog found he engaged in serious misconduct.

Government leader in the lower house Alister Henskens moved a motion to suspend Mr Sidoti on Tuesday, saying it was necessary to “protect and uphold the dignity” of the parliament.

The motion will suspend the Drummoyne MP from the parliament through to November 25, or until further orders are made.

Premier Dominic Perrottet called for Mr Sidoti’s resignation last month, after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found he engaged in serious misconduct in its Operation Witney report.

The former sports minister refused to resign, and said he intends to fight the ICAC findings in the Supreme Court.

“Given the findings of the report operation Witney, the house now has the opportunity to suspend the Member for Drummoyne,” Mr Henskens said.

“This is an appropriate action for the house to take in order to protect and uphold the dignity of the Legislative Assembly.”

Mr Henskens said he wanted to keep his comments brief due to Mr Sidoti’s plan to challenge the ICAC’s findings in the court.

Addressing the parliament on Tuesday, Mr Sidoti became emotional, saying he had been persecuted by Greens MP David Shoebridge, Labor MPs Penny Sharpe and Walt Secord during budget estimates.

The estimates hearings led to Mr Sidoti being investigated by ICAC.

“These honourable members deliberately took pleasure in creating a fiasco knowing that there was no foundation of truth,” Mr Sidoti said.

He also said his parents were subjected to a negative media campaign.

“I cannot express how heartbroken I’ve been to watch them be vilified in media by this process,” Mr Sidoti said.

“They are the most inspiring beautiful people who came to Australia with absolutely nothing.”

Mr Sidoti has served as an MP for the past 12 years.

The motion was supported by Labor and passed on the voices.

The now independent MP was investigated amid allegations he lobbied local councillors to rezone blocks at Five Dock in Sydney’s inner west, where his family owned property between 2013 and 2017.

After it delivered its report, Mr Perrottet phoned the Drummoyne MP and told him to resign from parliament and said the government had sought legal advice in relation to this matter.

“There is no place for corruption in the NSW Parliament.”

AAP has contacted Mr Sidoti’s office for comment.

Mr Sidoti said previously he intends to fight to clear his name in the Supreme Court and previously claimed the ICAC made errors in its report.

He said the commission had not interviewed people from crucial meetings and failed to chase exculpatory evidence.

“This report has a number of unfounded inferences, errors and assumptions, and its findings are completely rejected,” Mr Sidoti said.

“I will continue to fight to clear my name and have instructed my lawyers to lodge an application in the Supreme Court.”

– AAP

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