Australia

Ex-NSW Labor boss Kaila Murnain concedes she was 'less than forthcoming' to ICAC

Kaila Murnain leaves the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) public inquiry. Source: AAP

NSW Labor's suspended boss has accepted that she was less than forthcoming during a compulsory examination in the lead-up to an anti-corruption inquiry.

Suspended NSW Labor boss Kaila Murnain has accepted that she was less than forthcoming during a compulsory examination by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Ms Murnain on Thursday returned to the witness box at an anti-corruption inquiry, which is examining whether Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo was the true source of $100,000 said to be donated to NSW Labor by 12 people from a pre-election dinner.

NSW Labor's Kaila Murnain is giving evidence at the Independent Commission against Corruption.
NSW Labor's Kaila Murnain is giving evidence at the Independent Commission against Corruption.
AAP

Mr Huang was prohibited by law from making donations to NSW political parties.

Ms Murnain was suspended from her role as general secretary last week after telling the inquiry she knew about a potentially illegal donation.

She previously said she was scared for the ALP in September 2016 when then-MP Ernest Wong told her a person who said they had donated money to the party had not, and the money had come from Mr Huang.

Mr Wong has contradicted her account of the meeting.

On Thursday, Ms Murnain accepted propositions that she was less than forthcoming and didn't do the right thing during her first ICAC compulsory examination in July 2019.

Chinese Billionaire Huang XiangMo.
Chinese Billionaire Huang XiangMo.
SBS News

Counsel assisting the inquiry Scott Robertson said she didn't initially tell the commission about her meetings with Mr Wong, then-senator Sam Dastyari and a Labor lawyer in September 2016.

She took steps to come back later and gave further evidence, telling the inquiry she did so "freely and on my own desire".

"I wanted to give you as much information as I could remember about what had happened and I wanted to come and do the right thing, even if it wasn't easy," Ms Murnain said.

When chief commissioner Peter Hall QC asked why she didn't offer the information during her first examination, Ms Murnain said: "I did my best to answer the questions that were asked of me but went away and tried to work out what had happened in the past."

"I was incredibly nervous, I haven't ever been to a court let alone a commission before and I felt the need to come back," she said.

The inquiry continues.

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