Gladys Berejiklian has refused to resign after her secret relationship with a disgraced former MP shocked the nation.
The New South Wales premier admitted she made a mistake in her personal life by secretly dating former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire from 2015 to 2019.
But she said she will not step down.
‘Whilst I have made this mistake in my personal life, I intend to serve the people of New South Wales to the best of my ability. That’s what I’ve always done. I’ve sacrificed my life to public office, and I’m proud of that,’ she said.
Opposition leader Jodi McKay has described Ms Berejiklian as a fraud for not disclosing her relationship ahead of the state election last year.
Ms Berejiklian’s secret was revealed on Monday morning when tapped phone calls between her Mr Maguire were played at a corruption inquiry.
The calls feature Mr Maguire using colourful language including swear words. He called her ‘babe’ and she called him her ‘numero uno’ – Spanish for number one.
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Premier Gladys Berejiklian has admitted she shared a private relationship with disgraced former colleague Daryl Maguire while he was in office. Secretly recorded phone conversations the pair had have been played at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (pictured)
While Mr Maguire makes comments such as ‘they are sucking people’s d***s’ and ‘they can get f**ked’ in the pair’s phone conversations, the onetime Girl Guide often simply replies to his remarks with ‘Mmm’. The pair is pictured together
Gladys Berejiklian departs after giving evidence at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday
Asked at the inquiry what she meant by ‘numero uno’, Ms Berejiklian said: ‘I think what I would have meant there is that in my personal life I placed importance on how I felt about him.’
While Mr Maguire makes comments such as ‘they are sucking people’s d***s’ and ‘they can get f**ked’, the onetime Girl Guide often simply replies to his remarks with ‘Mmm’.
In other private correspondence the two called each other ‘hawkiss’, an Armenian term of endearment.
One call between Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire played to the Independent Commission Against Corruption took place before a trip he planned making to China.
Mr Maguire, then the Liberal member for Wagga Wagga, was concerned about looming job losses at a company which was based outside his electorate.
Ms Berejiklian said she had a ‘personal attachment’ to Mr Maguire and their relationship – which began in 2015 – had been kept under wraps as she was a ‘very private person’. Mr Maguire is pictured outside ICAC on July 13, 2018
What is the Maguire ICAC inquiry about?
The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating whether the former MP for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire, engaged in conduct that breached public trust by using his public office to improperly gain a benefit for himself or entities close to him including the company G8wayInternational.
He was forced to quit the Berejiklian government in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry heard evidence he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.
Ms Berejiklian can be heard telling Mr Maguire her then chief-of-staff Sarah Cruickshank had concerns about his travel.
‘All right babe, what do you think?’ Mr Maguire says.
‘I just got home, did Sarah ring you from my office?’ Ms Berejiklian replies.
‘No, why?’ he says.
Ms Berejiklian: ‘She sent me a text, when she has to ring a member of parliament she lets me know.’
‘They seem to think it’s in your electorate. I didn’t say anything, It’s none of my business, I’m just letting you know.’
Mr Maguire goes on to explain why he wants to go to China.
‘I will [unintelligible]… these bureaucrats don’t care… they’re shaking hands, they are sucking people’s d***s and they are turning up to everything and they do nothing,’ he says.
Mr Maguire had proposed going on a trade delegation to China where he would discuss a dairy in southern NSW but did not make the trip after a direction from Ms Cruickshank.
One phone call between the pair was supposedly so ‘offensive’ that a live stream of the hearing was paused when it was played for the first time.
Another phone call was played in a private session after counsel assisting Scott Robertson said it raised ‘questions as to the privacy of the two people involved in the conversation… that’s the safest course.’
Ms Berejiklian said she had a ‘personal attachment’ to Mr Maguire and their relationship – which began in 2015 – had been kept under wraps as she was a ‘very private person’.
One phone call was played in a private ICAC session after counsel assisting Scott Robertson said it raised ‘questions as to the privacy of the two people involved in the conversation…’ Ms Berijiklian is pictured with Mr Maguire (right) and former premier Barry O’Farrell
‘She won’t survive this’: What the commentators and pollies say
Radio host Ray Hadley: ‘I don’t think, for a whole range of reasons, that Gladys Berejkilian can survive this.’
‘Given this relationship predated his divorce and separation, and given that she’s now admitted had he retired from politics in 2017 she would have made public the relationship.
Greens MP David Shoebridge: ‘It’s hard to see how the Premier can survive a day in Parliament this week given the bombshells being dropped in ICAC about her relationship with the… Liberal MP Daryl Maguire.’
Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell: ‘When they call a premier you know they’ve got something. I actually think I that there’s a good chance Gladys Berejiklian will have to resign over this.’
NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay says Ms Berejiklian must resign, and if she does not, Labor will move a motion of no confidence in parliament.
‘If you thought you knew Gladys Berejiklian, think again,’ Ms McKay told reporters.
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman and Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres have publicly backed Ms Berejiklian.
‘Gladys Berejiklian has led the state through the last six months in its most testing period of time, she’s got my full support,’ Mr Ayres told reporters.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance it wasn’t for him to comment on personal relationships.
‘I mean, for goodness sake. Let’s just call a spade a spade. This is a human being who has worked her socks off for this state and deserves enormous regard and respect, and will continue to do so, and that’s the important thing for the people of NSW,’ Mr Constance said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was ‘surprised’ by the revelations.
‘These are very new revelations that obviously came as some news to me,’ Mr Morrison told reporters in Queensland.
‘I have worked well with the NSW premier over many years, but that is a matter for her and an ongoing inquiry.’
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers leader Robert Borsak told 2GB radio the news ‘flabbergasted’ him.
‘It certainly was not going around the halls of Macquarie Street, that’s for sure,’ Mr Borsak said.
‘I think she needs to take time out and she should stand herself down until we see the final wash-up of this all.’
In 2017 the pair spoke about their future shared plans, including making their relationship public if Mr Maguire resigned before the 2019 state election.
Ms Berejiklian admitted that over the course of their relationship Mr Maguire frequently spoke of his finances and was ‘obsessed’ with them.
In one phone call, Mr Maguire says: ‘So I think what I’ll do is, if they give me a cheque for my tax, I think it’s better taken off my mortgage. I think what I’ll do is I’ll whack it into shares.’
Ms Berejiklian: ‘You told me that before.’
Mr Maguire was forced to quit the Berejiklian government in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry heard evidence he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.
Ms Berejiklian said on Monday she had a ‘close personal relationship’ with Mr Maguire and the pair continued to communicate until less than a month ago.
She also admitted Mr Maguire had told her about some of his business interests and she presumed the former MP had appropriately disclosed them.
Mr Maguire is accused of using his public office and parliamentary resources to improperly gain a benefit for himself or for G8way International, a company Mr Maguire allegedly ‘effectively controlled’.
He last spoke to Ms Berejiklian on September 13 – less than a month ago – and she had ceased communication only after agreeing to attend the ICAC inquiry.
Ms Berejiklian denied distancing herself from specific details on Mr Maguire’s affairs in an attempt at self-preservation.
‘I would never, ever, ever turn a blind eye from any responsibility that I had to disclose any wrongdoing that I saw, or any activity that I thought was not in keeping with what a member of parliament should be doing,’ Ms Berejiklian told the inquiry.
‘I would suggest that I was either not interested or I thought what he was raising with me was fanciful. He was a big talker.
One message from 2014, before Ms Berejiklian was premier, appears to reveal Maguire telling Mr Berejiklian about how a motel had sold for $5.8 million, and how he was entitled to $5,000
‘A lot of the time, I would have ignored a lot of what he said as fanciful and information that I didn’t care to be involved in or interested in.’
The premier also said she did not take a personal interest in Mr Maguire’s finances, despite their relationship, as she was an ‘independent woman’ with her own means.
She was never concerned Mr Maguire might be attempting to use the influence of her office to promote his own business activities.
Ms Berejiklian was dragged into the saga last week when the ICAC heard Mr Maguire gave racing heir Louise Waterhouse the premier’s email address to help her lobby for rezoning changes that would benefit a parcel of land she held.
ICAC heard Mr Maguire had suggested the premier would be able to provide a ‘tickle from up top’, but Ms Waterhouse said Ms Berejiklian never responded.
The inquiry had heard Mr Maguire looked to make about $1million if the Waterhouse land was sold to a Chinese buyer called Country Garden.
NSW police guard a driveway at the Independent Commission Against Corruption ahead of premier Gladys Berejiklian’s appearance on Monday morning
In a call played to ICAC, Mr Maguire referred to property broker William Luong who was working with him to help Ms Waterhouse with the western Sydney land sale.
‘William tells me we’ve done our deal,’ Mr Maguire says.
Ms Berejiklian replies: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit.’
Ms Berejiklian could become the third Liberal premier in NSW to be brought down by the anti-corruption body her side of politics created.
Nick Greiner became its first victim in 1992 – just four years after he established the ICAC in a bid to uncover Labor scandals during Neville Wran’s decade in power.
While the Supreme Court later cleared him of scandalously offering a government job to former education minister Terry Meterell, the damage was done and the late John Fahey replaced him as premier.
Little more than two decades later, in 2014, Barry O’Farrell resigned over an undeclared $3,000 bottle of Grange Hermitage, bottled in the year of his birth – 1959.
He had received the gift in March 2011 in the week he won a landslide election victory that ended 16 years of Labor rule, following a series of scandals in Kristina Keneally’s government.
‘She’s a fraud’: Labor leader calls for Gladys to resign over her ‘poor judgement’
Statement by Jodi McKay, leader of the NSW Opposition
If you thought you knew Gladys Berejiklian then think again. This Premier is a fraud and today she has been unmasked.
Until one month ago, Gladys Berejiklian was still in contact with Daryl Maguire.
Daryl Maguire who is disgraced by ICAC and is a person of interest by ICAC. Now, it just shows a recklessness on the leader of this state. What it shows is poor judgement from the leader of this state.
How on earth did she think it was OK to still be in contact with the disgraced MP and still be in a relationship with him?
The second issue involves the wheeling and dealing which she was privy to.
Now, it is quite obvious from the telephone intercepts that were played today, intercept after intercept, and the questions that were asked of her, and it is quite obvious that she was privy to the wheelings and dealings of Daryl Maguire, a disgraced member of this parliament.
She heard what Daryl Maguire was telling her. And his wheeling and dealing, the dodgy deals that Daryl Maguire was doing went to the heart, the very heart, to the very top of this government with the Premier involved.
Now, she went to the election in 2019 did she disclose her relationship with Daryl Maguire?
Did she tell any of her colleagues that she was in a relationship with Daryl Maguire when that shocking evidence was first revealed at ICAC back in 2017? She did not.
Gladys Berejiklian has no choice but to resign. She must resign, the citizens of New South Wales believe she must resign, and I know that all of you believe you must resign so she cannot possibly stay as the Premier of this state, given the extraordinary evidence.
I think her political judgement has been poor. Her behaviour has been reckless. She’s shown very poor judgement.
Source: Daily Mail AU