Macdonald’s lawyer accuses ICAC commissioner of bias

The lawyer for former New South Wales mining minister Ian Macdonald has accused the commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of bias calling for him to step down from two inquiries.

Decisions made by Macdonald when he was mining minister are currently being investigated by the corruption watchdog.

Operation Jasper, which looked at the Mount Penny mining licence Macdonald approved over land owned by the Obeid family in the Bylong Valley.

And a second inquiry, Operation Acacia, which is looking at the Doyles Creek licence Macdonald issued to the former union boss John Maitland, without tender.

David Ipp, the ICAC Commissioner has previously said he will hand down his findings into both inquiries by the end of July.

The ABC reported Macdonald's barrister, Tim Hale SC, asked Ipp to disqualify himself from both inquiries due to "apprehended bias".

Last month Australian Mining reported that mining magnate Travers Duncan launched legal action aimed at shutting down the ICAC inquiry in which negative evidence was given about himself.

Duncan, one of Australia’s richest men, has launched action in the NSW Supreme Court which seeks to shut down the inquiry and stop the commissioner from making any findings.

Duncan is accusing Ipp of "ostensible bias", saying he is biased towards the NSW Government.

A decision on the case is yet to be handed down.

Today, Ipp asked Hale if the grounds for calling on him to step down were the same as Duncan's.

Hale agreed the reasons were the same.

Ipp refused to step down, saying the inquiries would continue.

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