The faltering memory of former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell has again made headlines after he confessed he could not remember anything at all since a university party back in the late 1970s when a Young Liberal offered him a drink.
The famously forgetful O’Farrell resigned last year after telling the Independent Commission Against Corruption he could not recall a gift of a $3000 bottle of 1959 Grange Hermitage wine from a company exposed for corrupt practices. He has now been forced to deny new allegations that he received a $1195 Mont Blanc luxury pen allegedly given to him by a company bidding for major construction contracts.
“I don’t remember ever receiving this pen,” the ex-premier told The (un)Australian. “But, truth be told, I don’t recall anything at all since attending this student party back in ’78.”
O’Farrell was an Arts student at ANU at the time the event occurred, explaining: “Like all humans, I was pretty upset and a bit unsettled to find myself cornered by a Young Lib at a party. But just as I was about to claim an urgent need to use the dunny to escape, the guy insisted I try this ‘really cool prawn cocktail’, which, like long hair and shouting abuse at Malcolm Fraser, were all the rage back then.
“The next thing I remember is coming to in the ICAC witness stand being asked about bottles of Grange. My first thought was ‘well 1959 isn’t that old, it’s less than two decades ago’, but then someone pointed out it was actually well into the 21st century and my favourite band ABBA broke up decades ago, and I realised I was in a whole other world.”
O’Farrell says he has no memory at all of any events since the ’70s, meaning he could not recall any all of the expensive gifts he had received or the generally high-flying lifestyle of a premier, but that, on the plus side, he had no memory of his government’s role in opening the state up to corporate plunderers regardless of social and environmental cost, such as rubberstamping Jamie Packer’s Barangaroo casino abomination, and as such was able to get to sleep at night.