Don’t mention the phwoar! Gladys Berejiklian escapes further scrutiny over her MP lover as he admits dodgy deals at anti-corruption hearing – but is it the calm before the storm?
- NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had a secret relationship with MP Daryl Maguire
- Mr Maguire, 61, was forced to resign from parliament in 2018 over property deal
- Ms Berejiklian, 50, maintained a relationship with Mr Maguire until months ago
- The pair was secretly recorded talking about Mr Maguire’s business interests
- Ms Berejiklian insists she has done nothing wrong associating with Mr Maguire
- He followed her into ICAC witness box to give sworn evidence on Wednesday
Daryl Maguire took a non-religious affirmation to tell the whole truth then calmly spelt out the extent of his dodgy dealings while a member of the New South Wales Parliament.
Two days earlier Gladys Berejiklian had sworn an oath on the bible before being forced to admit she had been in a ‘close personal relationship’ with Maguire while premier of the state.
Wednesday’s appearance by Maguire at he Independent Commission Against Corruption had observers salivating in anticipation of what he would say about Berejiklian.
But his evidence proceeded as if nothing had happened on Monday when the deeply private Berejiklian gave her excruciatingly personal testimony about him.
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Daryl Maguire’s appearance at he Independent Commission Against Corruption on Wednesday (pictured) had observers salivating in anticipation of what he would say about his relationship with premier Gladys Berejiklian.
‘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,’ a testy Berejiklian said on Wednesday
There was no chance to hear whether Maguire would support Berejiklian’s position that she knew nothing of his wrongdoing when he appeared at ICAC and no questions about the nature of their relationship. The former couple is pictured together
Viewers who tuned into the live stream of Maguire in the witness box would have been disappointed if they hoped for further salacious detail about the odd couple’s romance.
What they got was Maguire agreeing to suggestions by counsel assisting the inquiry, Scott Robinson, that he had abused his position of power and the public’s trust to benefit himself.
There was no chance to hear whether Maguire would support Berejiklian’s insistence she knew nothing of his wrongdoing, or whether he would throw her under the light rail.
There were no questions about the nature of their relationship, when it started or ended, or how intimate it was at its peak.
There was nothing about how he felt about her now or whether he had ever wanted to take their bond public, as Berejiklian said they had discussed at one point.
Berejiklian said on Monday her trust in Maguire had been misplaced – that she had ‘stuffed up’ in her personal life – and the whole thing had been a mistake.
‘Had I known then what I know now, clearly I would not have made those personal decisions,’ she said.
Berejiklian has said her trust in Maguire was misplaced – that she had ‘stuffed up’ in her personal life – and the whole thing had been a mistake. ‘Had I known then what I know now, clearly I would not have made those personal decisions,’ she said on Monday
Maguire confirmed he had been engaging in dodgy dealings well before he embarked on the relationship with Berejiklian in 2015, two years before she became premier
‘I do not know to this date the truthfulness about how he felt about me.’
Berejiklian said she had never previously disclosed the closeness of her association with Maguire because it had not been of ‘sufficient status’.
What Maguire thinks about his onetime lover’s categorisation of their time together and her dismissal of him as a fanciful ‘big talker’ did not emerge on Wednesday.
Instead, Maguire confirmed he had misused his position well before he embarked on the relationship with Berejiklian in 2015, two years before she became premier.
There were lots of the ‘I don’t recall’ replies common to such inquiries and plenty of outright admissions of having blatantly done the wrong thing.
Maguire confessed he had used his Parliament House office, staff and other tax-payer-funded resources to conduct business dealings for himself.
From that Macquarie Street office the 61-year-old had effectively run a business called G8way International, without ever publicly declaring his interest.
G8way acted as a sort of intermediary between Australian and Chinese business people promising access to ‘the highest levels of government’ which Maguire admitted was through him.
The only time Berejiklian was mentioned at ICAC before lunch on Wednesday was when Maguire said he had been re-appointed as a parliamentary secretary when she became premier. The former couple is pictured
The company explored proposed investments – usually without any success – in coal, gold and tin mines, in meat, wine, cotton, milk powder and steel.
‘A lot of them didn’t come off,’ Maguire said.
At one point there was even an automatic car wash on the horizon but the only money seeming to come in to G8way was from what Maguire conceded was a ‘cash-for-visas’ scheme.
As part of that rort deliveries of thousands of dollars in cash from successful Chinese applicants for Australian visas were made to Maguire in his parliamentary office.
He was unable to say how often he had received such payments and when asked by Ruth McColl, who is running the inquiry, if it could have been 20 times said, ‘I don’t know, commissioner.’
Maguire did, however, have boundaries when it came to abusing his power. When asked if he had ever taken a fee to introduce anyone to a state politician he said: ‘That would be going too far.’
Maguire had boundaries when it came to abusing his position. When asked if he had ever taken a fee to introduce anyone to a state politician he said: ‘That would be going too far.’ He is pictured at ICAC at an earlier hearing in July 2018
The ICAC is also investigating whether Maguire misused his public office to broker property deals in western Sydney that would financially benefit him.
On Monday, secretly-recorded phone conversations between Maguire and Berejiklian were played to the commission in which she said she did not need to hear details of his business dealings.
The only time Berejiklian was mentioned before lunch on Wednesday was when Maguire said he had been re-appointed as a parliamentary secretary when she became premier.
While Maguire was in the witness box the premier was addressing a press conference where she faced a third day of questions about her relationship with him.
Berejiklian snapped at reporters as she again insisted she had done nothing wrong and never witnessed any of Maguire’s wrongdoing.
‘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.
‘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.’
A timeline of Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire’s relationship
* Berejiklian and Maguire begin a ‘close personal relationship’ around the time of the NSW election. Berejiklian was the transport minister while Maguire, a parliamentary secretary, was separated from his ex-wife.
APRIL 2, 2015:
* Berejiklian is appointed NSW treasurer after the coalition is re-elected.
JANUARY 23, 2017:
* Berejiklian becomes NSW premier, replacing Mike Baird. Maguire is retained as a parliamentary secretary in her government.
* Berejiklian tells Maguire she would like him to quit parliament at the 2019 election so the pair can go public with their relationship.
Berejiklian says 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’.
* Louise Waterhouse, a western Sydney landowner, twice emailed Berejiklian after being given her private address by Maguire. She requested help with rezoning changes around Badgerys Creek Airport that would benefit a parcel of her land. Berejiklian did not respond.
JULY 13, 2018:
* Maguire appears before ICAC, with evidence heard that he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.
AUGUST 3, 2018:
* Maguire resigns from the Berejiklian government at the behest of Ms Berejiklian and other frontbenchers, with Berejiklian saying she is ‘pleased’ and ‘relieved’ but privately she remains in contact with Maguire.
MARCH 23, 2019:
* The coalition retains government in the 2019 NSW election.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2020:
* Berejiklian cuts off all contact with Maguire and agrees to support an ICAC inquiry into his business interests.
OCTOBER 12, 2020:
* Berejiklian’s relationship with Maguire is revealed at ICAC.
OCTOBER 14, 2020:
* Maguire gives evidence at ICAC.