Gladys Berejiklian pleaded her innocence on Tuesday when she was bombarded with questions by fired-up journalists after it emerged she secretly dated a disgraced former MP who is facing a corruption investigation.
The New South Wales premier, 50, had a ‘close personal relationship’ with former Wagga Wagga MP and father-of-two Daryl Maguire, 61, from 2015 to August 2020.
She managed to keep it secret from her family, friends and the public until a corruption inquiry on Monday heard phone calls in which he called her ‘babe’ and she called him her ‘numero uno’ – Spanish for number one.
Gladys Berejiklian (pictured today) sparred with journalists on Tuesday afternoon after her secret relationship with a disgraced former MP who is facing a corruption investigation was revealed
The New South Wales premier, 50, had a ‘close personal relationship’ with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire (pictured together), 61, from 2015 to August 2020
Mr Maguire, who resigned from parliament in 2018 and recently divorced ex-wife Maureen, is accused of trying to use his position as an MP to gain money by brokering property deals.
Labor has accused Ms Berejiklian of turning a blind eye to corruption but the premier has insisted that she was not aware of any wrongdoing and has refused to resign.
She was bombarded with questions from journalists at a presser on Tuesday afternoon but maintained that she had done nothing wrong.
‘I will not tolerate, never have, and never will, any improper conduct by any MP,’ she said after being asked if she knew about any corruption.
In one recorded phone call played at the inquiry run by corruption body ICAC, Mr Maguire allegedly said he would make money from a property deal at Badgerys Creek in western Sydney.
When Mr Maguire suggested that deal was close to being done Ms Berejiklian told him: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit.’
Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell suggested the premier knew Mr Maguire was up to something.
‘Premier he told you on the call,’ he said.
Ms Berejiklian replied: ‘I was absolutely not aware, which is why I didn’t report anything.
Ms Berejiklian (pictured) managed to keep her relationship secret from her family, friends and the public until a corruption inquiry on Monday heard phone calls
The premier was bombarded with questions about her relationship on Tuesday afternoon
‘The matters before the ICAC involving Mr Maguire are subject to those investigations. I stress again I did nothing wrong. If I had, I would be the first to put my hand up.
‘Mr Maguire approached a number of people in government, a number of public servants.
‘He was rigorous in his attempts and his attempts amounted to nothing. His attempts amounted to nothing.
‘This person had been in parliament for 15 years. And unfortunately sometimes people are able to get away with things without a lot of people realising.’
The premier said she would in ‘no way’ describe Mr Maguire as a spouse and refused to say when their romance ended.
‘It is a very subjective and personal thing as to when you think something changed from a friendship to a close personal relationship… I was as open as I could be for someone who is very private,’ she said.
On Monday night Ms Berejiklian insisted she has ‘done nothing wrong’ and has not been compromised by the relationship.
The premier’s secret relationship was revealed on Monday morning when tapped phone calls between her Mr Maguire (pictured together) were played at a corruption inquiry
Ms Berejiklian said she was not aware of Mr Maguire’s alleged misconduct when they were dating.
‘I assumed he was doing the right thing. I had my trust in him, and obviously I know now that that trust was misplaced, and I accept that human failing on my part, and I accept it wholeheartedly,’ she said.
‘I had no reason at the time to imagine that he was doing anything wrong, because I trusted him, and I assumed that, if there was any interests to be declared, that he did that.’
The premier said she effectively ended the romance when she sacked Mr Maguire from the Liberal Party before he resigned from parliament.
‘The dynamics changed substantially and I was there to support him as a close friend,’ she said.
Ms Berejiklian said she kept the relationship secret from all her family and friends because it was not ‘of sufficient status’ and she was not sure if it had a future.
Gladys Berejiklian departs after giving evidence at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday
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)
She described herself as a ‘very private’ person and said the exposure of the relationship was a ‘personal nightmare’.
‘I can’t tell you what it’s done to me personally. It’s been devastating, and I’ve had to bear this on top of everything else,’ she said referring to her leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Opposition leader Jodi McKay described Ms Berejiklian as a fraud and said she must resign.
Ms Berejiklian was backed by her colleagues including Health Minister Brad Hazzard who called her ‘the best premier in Australia.’
The premier’s secret relationship 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.
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.’
During the calls, Mr Maguire made comments such as ‘they are sucking people’s d***s’ and ‘they can get f**ked’, but the onetime Girl Guide often simply replied 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 was concerned about looming job losses at a company which was based outside his electorate of Wagga Wagga.
‘I stuffed up’: Gladys Berejiklian’s statement after secret relationship
I have always made sure the public interest is first and foremost paramount in every single thing that I do.
The integrity of the role I have – the office that I hold – is the greatest privilege of my life. And 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. The position I hold is a privileged one. It is an honour to serve the people of the state. And I look forward to maintaining my focus to keep everybody safe, to keep jobs going during a very difficult time for the state.
But I want to state at the outset that, had I known then what I know now, clearly I would not have made those personal decisions that I did. I trusted someone that I’d known for a long time, and I feel really, really let down. I trusted him for a long time. We were colleagues for 15 years.
And I’m not going to take away from the fact that I made a mistake in my personal life, but I have to say that there is huge separation between a personal life and public office.
And I can’t stress enough that, every day that I’ve been in this job, I have held myself accountable to the highest standards, and I’ve held my colleagues to the highest standards.
And I say to all the colleagues, all the public servants, all the people that I’ve worked with – they know me, they know who I am, many of you standing here know me, know who I am, and I will continue to put the people of this state first and foremost in all of my activities.
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 said
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, when 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.
From why she kept up a secret relationship with a dodgy MP to how much she knew about his business dealings: The many questions left hanging after Gladys Berejiklian’s excruciating day at anti-corruption hearing
By Stephen Gibbs for Daily Mail Australia
Gladys Berejiklian spent five gruelling hours in the Independent Commission Against Corruption witness box but her testimony still left plenty of unanswered questions.
For those with little or no interest in state politics a starting point might be to ask what the principled New South Wales premier was doing in a relationship with such a dodgy MP.
Why did Ms Berejiklian maintain that relationship for two years after she forced Daryl Maguire to resign when he admitted at an earlier ICAC inquiry to seeking payment from a property developer?
And how on earth did a woman whose movements and communications are watched so closely keep the whole thing secret for more than five years?
The ICAC is less interested in those questions than it is in what Ms Berejiklian knew about Mr Maguire’s business interests outside politics and whether he had any undue influence over her.
Gladys Berejiklian spent five gruelling hours in the Independent Commission Against Corruption witness box but her testimony still left plenty of unanswered questions. She is pictured at a press conference after her ICAC appearance on Monday
Why did Ms Berejiklian maintain her relationship with MP Daryl Maguire after she forced him to resign when he admitted at an earlier ICAC inquiry to seeking payment from a property developer? The former couple is pictured together
So far there is no evidence Ms Berejiklian misused her office in any way but there are concerns about her judgement and what certain passages of secretly-recorded phone conversations with Mr Maguire really mean.
The ICAC is investigating whether Mr Maguire, the former MP for Wagga Wagga, engaged in conduct which breached public trust by using his office to improperly gain a benefit for himself.
Ms Berijiklian told the ICAC she had been in a ‘close personal relationship’ with Mr Maguire, the longtime member for Wagga Wagga, from 2015 until a few months ago and last spoke to him in September.
She had not been interested in his financial affairs during their relationship, which she kept secret from even her closest friends and family.
Mr Maguire was recorded talking to Ms Berejiklian about some of his business dealings but she said she assumed he would have made the proper disclosures to parliament.
There is no evidence Ms Berejiklian misused her office in any way but there are concerns about her judgement and what certain passages of secretly-recorded phone conversations with Mr Maguire really mean. She is pictured at ICAC on Monday
Opposition Leader Jodi McKay set out the reasons she has called for Ms Berejiklian to resign in a Twitter thread on Tuesday morning
She described him as a ‘big talker’ and said she wasn’t always listening to him.
Ms Berejiklian also swore she would have reported any wrongdoing she suspected on Mr Maguire’s part, regardless of the nature of the pair’s relationship.
Unanswered questions after premier’s grilling
Why did Gladys Berejiklian maintain a relationship with Daryl Maguire two years after he was forced to resign from parliament over a property deal?
Why did she tell him her office knew a business he wanted to advocate for on a proposed trip to China was outside his electorate?
Why when he tried to discuss the closing of a proposed property deal in western Sydney from which he was set to benefit did she say: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit’?
How and why did she keep her relationship with Mr Maguire secret from even her closest friends and family for more than five years?
Many of those calling for her resignation are concentrating on the points in Ms Berijiklian’s evidence when she tells Mr Maguire she does not need to be told exactly what he is doing.
Mr Maguire was recorded telling Ms Berejiklian about a $1.5million debt and a property deal at Badgerys Creek in western Sydney he thought was in place which would get him out of it.
‘I’ll make enough money to pay off my debts which will be good,’ the MP told the premier. ‘Can you believe it – in one sale.’
Ms Berejiklian replied: ‘I can believe it.’
When Mr Maguire suggested that deal was close to being done Ms Berejiklian distanced herself from its detail.
‘I don’t need to know about that bit,’ she told him.
Counsel assisting the inquest Scott Robertson asked Ms Berejiklian if she had encouraged Mr Maguire not to give her too much information about his business dealing.
‘I would suggest that I was either not interested or I thought what he was raising with me was fanciful,’ she said.
‘A lot of the time I would have ignored or disregarded what he said as fanciful and information that I didn’t care to be involved with or interest in.
‘But I want to make very clear – very clear that, at all times, first and foremost in my mind is my duty to the people of this state and my responsibility to the people of this state.’
In one conversation Mr Maguire told Ms Berejiklian about a trip he wanted to make to China where he would advocate for a business outside his electorate.
‘She continued to maintain a relationship with Maguire even after he was disgraced at ICAC back in 2018, and only cut off contact with him in September this year after she was called before ICAC,’ Ms McKay said of Ms Berejiklian
Ms Berejiklian said her then chief-of-staff Sarah Cruickshank had concerns about those travel plans and asked if she had rung to discuss them.
‘They seem to think it’s in your electorate,’ she told Mr Maguire. ‘I didn’t say anything, It’s none of my business, I’m just letting you know.’
Ms Berejiklian, a stickler for detail and proper process, denied she had mentioned the relevant business was outside the boundaries of Mr Maguire’s electorate ‘in jest’.
‘No, no, no,’ she told the inquiry. ‘Absolutely not. My best recollection of that would be you better tell them what this is about because I’m not going to interfere in it.’
Ms Berejiklian told the inquiry that as premier she did not have time to pay attention to information which did not concern her role.
Many of those calling for her resignation are concentrating on the points in Ms Berijiklian’s evidence when she tells Mr Maguire she does not need to be told exactly what he is doing. Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire are pictured together
‘… With all due respect, holding the position I do, I’m extremely busy and I would not have wanted to be bored or be given information I didn’t need, because my assumption was that he was doing everything properly,’ she said.
As for why Ms Berejiklian maintained her ‘association’ with Mr Maguire after he resigned from parliament, it was out of concern for his wellbeing.
‘He was in a very sad state… I felt I should check on his welfare,’ she said.
Ms Berejiklian, an intensely private person, had her own questions about her long, secret relationship with Mr Maguire.
I do not know to this date the truthfulness about how he felt about me,’ she said.