OUR SAY: Mr O'Farrell sends a message in a bottle for politicians

BARRY O’Farrell always presented himself as more of a beer man than a wine connoisseur.

Events in state parliament on Wednesday will have done nothing to change his tastes.

Mr O’Farrell announced his intention to step down as leader of the NSW Liberals and premier of the state after being forced to accept he did receive a $3000 bottle of wine from a businessmen with links to Eddie Obeid.

It might pale in comparison to some of the multi-million dollar scandals to have previously come before the Independent Commission Against Corruption, but Mr O’Farrell has fallen victim to the high standards of integrity he has demanded from elected officials - and fair enough.

Mr O’Farrell must have known his many political enemies would be sweating on the slightest sniff of scandal from his government and moved in quickly when they got the chance.

Mr O’Farrell had no choice but to announce his resignation and, by moving so quickly, he will limit any damage to the rest of the government.

STORY: PREMIER'S RESIGNATION A SAD DAY FOR POLITICS

It would be a shame, though, if a $3000 bottle of wine became the enduring memory of Mr O’Farrell’s premiership.

Mr O’Farrell secured a thumping election win in 2011 and has tried to lead a reforming government.

In fact, the main criticism of him has been that the rate of reform has been too slow, but he has always been a conservative by politics and a conservative by nature.

Wednesday will not be remembered fondly by Mr O’Farrell, but perhaps it will set a new benchmark for political standards in NSW.

If a premier can be taken down by a single bottle of wine then the standards expected of all state MPs is higher this morning than ever before

And that can only be a very, very good thing.

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