The colourful, highly successful and locally popular pharmacist in Perthâ€™s Bayswater was mayor for some 17 years before chancing his arm in state politics.
Dâ€™Orazio is considered by political insiders to be the first victim of the brutality and pre-judging of matters by the notorious Commission, a body increasingly hated by both sides of politics in WA and regarded with growing suspicion in the community.
One of the Commissionâ€™s attention-hogging and sleazy lawyers, the low-rent, high-priced Perth media-tart Patti Chong disgraced herself in her pursuit of Dâ€™Orazio by asking in a public hearing whether the Italian-Australian figure whether he was the â€œgodfatherâ€ suggesting he was some kind of Italian mafia-style operator.
Her racial slur did him tremendous damage politically, appealing as it did to odious racial stereotypes. She used slurs of that kind to build her own profile, so much so she even hires herself as entertainment to those willing to pay her thousands of dollars, alongside Kate Ceberano and magician Shane St James. Itâ€™s a shame her act doesnâ€™t include making herself disappear.
Well-known in Perth, Chong even endorses leather lounge suites and is a petty, spiked-hair C-list celebrity who insists on being invited to cocktail parties at what passes for Perthâ€™s social circuit.
Even the Commission itself was troubled by Chongâ€™s race-baiting:
The use of the term â€˜godfatherâ€™
The term â€˜godfatherâ€™ was used by Counsel Assisting the Commission at the City ofÂ Bayswater public hearing in June 2005 to ask Mr Drago who had suggested the meeting between Mr Drago and Mr Spagnolo.
Subsequently, Ms Chong has acknowledged that her use of the term â€˜godfatherâ€™ wasÂ a throwaway line.
In the Commissionâ€™s opinion, the use of the term â€˜godfatherâ€™ was, in the context of the Bayswater hearing, inappropriate.Â It had no basis in fact and enabled an incorrect inference to be drawn that suggested the existence of some form of conspiracy involving either Mr Dâ€™Orazio or some other â€˜godfatherâ€™ figure.
Of course by the time they reviewed all of this, the damage had been done. The front-page headlines had been achieved. A political career was in the toilet.
Interestingly, Chong learned what goes around comes around. Chongâ€™s ex-husband Ken Bates was the prosecutor in the infamous false murder conviction of Andrew Mallard who was locked up for twelve years for a crime he did not commit. Ironically, the CCC found Chongâ€™s own hubby guilty of misconduct by keeping secret evidence that would have cleared Mallard.
The race-baiter complained about the grave injustice of it all, prompting Greg Barns to comment:
Chong blames the Mallard case for her marriage break up and seems to think that what has happened to her and her husband as a result of his being investigated by the CCC has been just as awful as the 12 years of hell Mallard went through! â€œWhat Andrew Mallard went through was bad enoughâ€, said Chong, but â€œwhat Ken and my family went through is bad too.â€
Give us a break Patti, you and your family didnâ€™t get falsely accused of murder, have the police and prosecution deny your legal team a fair trial, and have 12 years of your life wiped out because you had to spend it in jail!
After Chongâ€™s race-baiting hit the headlines, it was all downhill for Dâ€™Orazio politically even though there was no evidence of any wrongdoing on his part in any respect. The mere hint of it, coupled with race-baiting suggestions from CCC officers about â€œGodfathersâ€ was very wounding in the political climate at the time.
Previously heâ€™d been quite the tricky and effective operator, siding with Defence Minister Stephen Smithâ€™s New Right against the SDA Right in WA ALP factional frolics.
When he was cut loose by the ALP as a result of the political turmoil caused by race-baiting CCC attacks, he smited them all by running against the ALP as an independent and won 18% of the vote directed preferences to the Liberals which was enough to give them the one seat they needed to win at the last WA state election.
It should all have ended differently for him. Decades of party membership ended in bitterness and splitting from his own. It wasnâ€™t as it should have been.
And while itâ€™s not right to blame race-baiting CCC officers for the pre-existing medical condition amyloidosis â€“ a form of blood disease – that triggered his heart attack, it isnâ€™t unreasonable to say after everything he went through that he died of a broken heart.
The CCCâ€™s taxpayer-funded lawyer Patti Chong doesnâ€™t have blood on her hands but she certainly has a racial slur that she has never adequately explained.
What happened to John Dâ€™Orazio can happen to any elected official when accountable bodies like the Corruption and Crime Commission are allowed to run unconstrained by any normal legal standards or any dictates of decency. They are too often populated by bad lawyers with bad attitudes, by those whoâ€™ve failed to advance in law enforcement and have a chip on the shoulder a mile wide who are out to cause as much damage as possible to the prominent and powerful.
The cowardly thugs at the CCC would much rather take down politicians with half-assed allegations that would never stack up in court but make front-page headlines than build a serious case of wrongdoing against a bikie gang or dangerous drug kingpin because they know the latter group are a genuine threat to the community and to anyone willing to take them on.
Fifty-five years old is too young for anyone to die. But we should learn the lesson of John Dâ€™Orazioâ€™s public life and keep fighting the battle to curtail the foul excesses of agencies like the WA CCC which did so much to make his political existence a living hell, for no defendable reason.
With CCC targets committing suicide and some fighting for justice through the courts after facing false accusations from the Commission there has been a slow change in community sentiment about its role.
People like John Dâ€™Orazio, successful, go-getting, community-focused, happy, intelligent people are exactly what politics needs. And itâ€™s agencies like the CCC â€“ with their headline generating war on politics and politicians – that scare off many decent folk from putting themselves forward.