Former member of the NSW Legislative Council
Born in: Born in Lebanon, Obeid came to Australia as a 6-year-old
Home Town: Sydney
A small, slight, greying, bespectacled father of nine, now nearing 70, Eddie Obeid dominated NSW Labor politics for almost two decades.
"He who must be Obeid" was leader of the Terrigals, the sub-faction that stood for everything the public hated about NSW Labor: arrogance, self-interest, perceived corruption, power at all costs and a disdain for the electorate.
Born in Lebanon, Obeid came to Australia as a six-year-old and settled in Redfern, where he became an altar boy. After selling newspapers on the street corner, he graduated to owning ethnic newspapers, such as the El Telegraph in Bankstown, and became a big donor to the ALP before being given an upper house seat in 1991. He rarely, if ever, made a speech in Parliament, except in a brief spell as a junior minister, but he didn't need to, because he pulled he strings.
Obeid's beach house at Terrigal became famous as the meeting place for his right-wing group — born in 1992 — which counted Joe Tripodi as one of its leading lights. The Terrigals raised funds, stacked branches, won votes and dished out cabinet posts for their favoured candidates, gaining loyalty in return.
Obeid and Tripodi put Morris Iemma into the premiership in 2005, then dumped him for Nathan Rees in 2008, when Iemma picked a fight with the unions, and dumped him for Kristina Keneally as the polls continued heading south. Eventually they too were dumped by Labor's new NSW general secretary, Sam Dastyari, who told them to give up their seats and go quietly or face a huge public battle.