By Ian Neubauer

NSW Education and Industrial Relations Minister, John Della Bosca, has been stood down over the alleged cover-up of the Iguanagate affair.

Della Bosca and his wife, Federal MP Belinda Neal, were accused of threatening and verbally abusing staff at Iguanas Waterfront Bar on NSW’s central coast two weeks ago.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma earlier said disciplinary action would not be taken after Iguanas’ management released an unequivocal apology retracting its allegations and clearing the power couple of inappropriate behaviour.

But Della Bosca was stood aside on Friday afternoon after it was revealed he personally wrote the apology and allegedly coerced Iguanas to sign off on the document under threat of legal recourse.

“I have today stood aside Minister Della Bosca from his ministerial duties until police have provided their advice,” the Premier said. “Mr Della Bosca should have disclosed to me at that time the exact nature of his involvement in negotiating the terms of the apology.”

NSW Police are expected to interview the couple over allegations they threatened to use political muscle to revoke Iguana’s license after they were asked by staff to change tables. If cleared, Della Bosca will resume his cabinet positions.

The Liberal Party is attempting to exploit the issue for political gain, with NSW Opposition leader, Barry O’Farrell, calling on the Independent Commission Against Corruption to formally investigate whether statements made by the couple’s diner companions in their support were genuine.

Federal Opposition leader Brendan Nelson also weighed in, saying Neal could be guilty of abusing state power and called on the Prime Minister to give a true account of what transpired at Iguana’s in Parliament this week.  

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The Shout Team

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