‘Let me do my job’: Gladys Berejiklian fires up at ‘offensive innuendo’ about her secret relationship with disgraced MP – as she insists she’s done nothing wrong
Gladys Berejiklian snapped at reporters on Wednesday as she faced a third grilling over her secret relationship with disgraced MP Daryl Maguire.
The premier, who is facing a vote of no confidence in parliament, again insisted that she has done nothing wrong and never witnessed any wrongdoing.
She said reporters were ‘drawing dots which simply don’t exist’ and that she was offended by allegations that she was aware of any corruption.
‘I will not have innuendo, incorrect statements put to me which I have found offensive, but in due course I have accepted to answer everything because it is in the public interest for the public to have confidence in me,’ she said.
Gladys Berejiklian snapped at reporters on Wednesday as she faced a third grilling over her secret relationship with disgraced MP Daryl Maguire
As she thanked her voters for their support, the premier was interrupted by a journalist and fired back: ‘Excuse me, let me finish. I’ve given you your turn, let me finish. Ok?’
She then continued: ‘I know the people of this state know that I have done nothing wrong, I appreciate the questions you all need to ask and I’ve answered them in full detail, but you also have to respect my position as premier and let me do my job.’
Mr Maguire, who resigned as Wagga Wagga MP in 2018, is accused of misusing his public office to broker property deals in western Sydney that would financially benefit him.
Australia was shocked on Monday when a corruption inquiry heard the father of two, 61, had a ‘close personal relationship’ with the 50-year-old premier from 2015 to August 2020.
Ms Berejiklian managed to keep the relationship secret from her family, friends and the public until phone recordings played at the inquiry revealed he called her ‘babe’ and she called him her ‘numero uno’ – Spanish for number one.
Former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire had a relationship with Ms Berejiklian (pictured together) for five years
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
She is now under pressure to resign, accused of turning a blind eye to corruption, after the calls also revealed that Mr Maguire discussed his property deals with her.
In one conversation in September 2017 Mr Maguire said he had done a property deal at Badgerys Creek in western Sydney that would help pay off large debts incurred by divorcing his ex-wife Maureen.
‘We’ve done our deal so hopefully that’s about half of all that gone now,’ he said before the premier replied: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit.’
Concerns have been raised about whether the premier’s secret relationship put her at risk of being targeted by Chinese intelligence, after a picture emerged of her and Mr Maguire meeting President Xi Jinping together in 2014.
On Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian dismissed those concerns, saying: Oh, my goodness… that’s complete rubbish. As the Premier of state, I pass security clearances that nobody else has to pass.’
Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire are seen meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in November 2014
Labor leader Jodi McKay has moved a motion of no confidence against the premier in parliament.
‘She turned a blind eye to corruption in her government by failing to report her knowledge of Daryl Maguire’s business dealings for six and a half years,’ Ms McKay said.
The vote is likely to fail because the government has a majority in the lower house.
On Wednesday Mr Maguire admitted in the Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing that he ‘partly’ turned his Macquarie St office over to the firm G8way Interational.
The company is described as an intermediary between China and Australia which ‘ultimately’ sold access ‘to the highest levels of government’.
Maguire told the inquiry he secretly acted as a director of the business – which had interests in milk powder, a coal mine, a gold mine, cotton, wine, steel and a showroom in Shenzen, China, and facilitated Australian visas for Chinese nationals.
He admitted receiving as many as 20 deliveries of thousands of dollars of cash at his parliamentary office to obtain Australian visas for Chinese nationals.
He also admitted keeping the money ‘off the books’ so he wouldn’t have to disclose it to Parliament.
Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire: A timeline
MARCH 2015: Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire begin a ‘close personal relationship’ around the time of the NSW election. Ms Berejiklian was the transport minister while Mr Maguire, a parliamentary secretary, was separated from his ex-wife.
APRIL 2, 2015: Ms Berejiklian appointed NSW treasurer after the coalition is re-elected.
JANUARY 23, 2017: Ms Berejiklian becomes NSW premier, replacing Mike Baird. Mr Maguire is retained as a parliamentary secretary in her government.
AUGUST 2017: Ms Berejiklian tells Mr Maguire she would like him to quit parliament at the 2019 election so the pair can go public with their relationship. Ms Berejiklian says Mr Maguire also wanted that.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2017: Ms Berejiklian is heard in a telephone intercept saying she ‘didn’t need to know about that bit’ as Mr Maguire discusses his financial interests at Badgerys Creek Airport, and a land deal which would net him a large windfall. A day earlier, Mr Maguire texted Ms Berejiklian that ‘we clinched the land deal’.
NOVEMBER 2017: Louise Waterhouse, a western Sydney landowner, twice emailed Ms Berejiklian after being given her private address by Mr Maguire. She requested help with rezoning changes around Badgerys Creek Airport that would benefit a parcel of her land. Ms Berejiklian did not respond.
JULY 13, 2018: Mr Maguire appears before ICAC, with evidence heard that he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.
AUGUST 3, 2018: Mr Maguire resigns from the Berejiklian government at the behest of Ms Berejiklian and other frontbenchers, with Ms Berejiklian saying she is ‘pleased’ and ‘relieved’ but privately she remains in contact with Mr Maguire.
MARCH 23, 2019: The coalition retains government in the 2019 NSW election.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2020: Ms Berejiklian cuts off all contact with Mr Maguire and agrees to support an ICAC inquiry into his business interests.
OCTOBER 12, 2020: Ms Berejiklian’s relationship with Mr Maguire is revealed at ICAC.