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The Metherell Affair

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

The Metherell Affair was a political scandal that occurred in New South Wales, Australia, in 1991. The affair involved the resignation of Terry Metherell, a Liberal Party minister, after allegations of improper conduct, and resulted in the resignation of then-NSW Premier, Nick Greiner.

A black-and-white photo of Terry Metherell and Nick Griener, with the text "The Metherell Affair" foregrounded.

At the 1988 NSW election, Mr. Metherell was appointed Minister for Education and Youth Affairs under the Nick Griener-led government. In this role he introduced the Education Reform Act 1990 (NSW) (now the Education Act 1990). In the same year, Mr. Metherell was accused of tax avoidance and resigned from the ministry.

Speculation remained however that he would be re-appointed to the ministry if the Coalition were to be re-elected in the 1991 election. At the 1991 NSW election, the Coalition lost 10 seats to Labor, leaving it one seat short of a majority. The Coalition was able to form a minority government with the support of four independents. Mr. Metherell was not returned to a ministerial position, and resigned from the Liberal Party live on the ABC's 7.30 Report, with none of his colleagues having been given prior notice.

Mr. Metherell then went on to accept "a specially created position in the state’s new Environmental Protection Agency." This special appointment led to the legislative assembly referring the matter to the NSW ICAC, which found evidence of corruption. As a result, Mr. Greiner also resigned.

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