ICAC: Hunter MPs offices stripped bare Tim Owen office in Hunter St,Newcastle. Picture: Darren Pateman
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Andrew Cornwell has removed all signage from his office in Charlestown. Picture: Ryan Osland

Andrew Cornwell’s Charlestown Office. Picture: Simone De Peak

Tim Owen’s office on Hunter St. Picture: Peter Stoop

The offices of Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell sit empty. Picture: Simone De Peak/ Ryan Osland/ Darren Pateman

TweetFacebookICAC: August 2014 archive Operation Spicer

LESS than a week after they spectacularly bowed out of state politics, former Liberal MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell have all but disappeared without a trace.

Staff from the state’s Legislative Assembly were in the Hunter yesterday charged with removing every hint of the two men whose political careers unravelled in front of the ICAC inquiry.

First to go was theLiberal signage that dominated Hunter Street and Charlestown Road, with commuters spotted doing doubletakes on their afternoon commute as they noticed the absence of the grinning politicians and royal blue back drops that only days before marked the offices of their local MPs.

Then they issued the remaining office staff with standard Charlestown or Newcastle letterheads, removing any mention of the name Owen or Cornwell from official correspondence.

And it’s not just the physical reminders. Their electorate websites have been replaced with error notices, and searches for their names on the NSW Liberal Party website return no results.

Electoral entitlements have been stripped from the office, so the tab for anything from postal stamps to coffee mugs will have to be picked up by the parliament.

That the offices are still open will be a relief for constituents with ongoing matters, and the hardworking and innocent staffers that chose to stay on to serve will still be able to write to ministers on their behalf, or direct constituents to assistance where possible.

It’s the visible symbols of the fallout from the ICAC tales that have gripped the region, and some of the once-loyal political staffers inadvertently dragged into the scandal are understood to be particularly aggrieved.

Former employees of the two MPs contacted by the Newcastle Herald were keeping their heads down yesterday, but it’s understood many are distressed and angry at having their trust betrayed – one former advisor saying there were ‘‘plenty of fragile people out there at the moment’’.

Despite having no links to the scandal, some are receiving abuse from the public, and most are worried about their futures.

But, as one staffer glibly noted, ‘‘at least we’re all pretty much in the same boat’’.

The offices of Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell sit empty. Picture: Simone De Peak/ Ryan Osland/ Darren Pateman