‘I stuffed up’: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stares down calls for resignation over ICAC probe

By Matthew Elmas

October 12, 2020

Gladys Berejiklian
Gladys Berejiklian (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a close personal relationship with disgraced former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire was a “stuff up” in her personal life.

Berejiklian stared down calls for her resignation on Monday, hours after an anti-corruption probe heard tapped phone calls revealing Maguire told the Premier about alleged use of public office for personal gain.

Berejiklian will face a vote of no confidence from the opposition in NSW Parliament today, but maintains she did nothing wrong.

“I’m an extremely private person and, without question, I stuffed up in my personal life,” Berejiklian told reporters on Monday afternoon.

“If I had done something wrong I would be the first one to consider my position. But I haven’t.

“Had I known then what I know now, clearly I would not have made those personal decisions that I did.”

Details of phone conversations heard by the commission revealed Berejiklian was told on several occasions about Maguire’s allegedly improper activities, including details of a land deal near Western Sydney Airport, which Maguire said he stood to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from.

Berejiklian responded: “I don’t need to know about that bit.”

During her four-hour appearance at the commission, Berejiklian said she could not recall the conversation, and said she had no idea what Maguire was talking about.

In a later media appearance, the Premier framed their relationship as a failing in judgement, saying she trusted Maguire and “had no reason at the time” to imagine he was doing anything wrong.

The inquiry is investigating whether Maguire pursued improper commercial opportunities between 2012 and 2018 while a member of parliament; the genesis of the investigation was allegations he furthered the interests of a China-based property development company by coordinating “door opening” and “lobby work”.

Maquire is also under investigation over his alleged participation in a “cash for visas” scheme, and whether his chairmanship of the NSW Parliament Asia Pacific Friendship Group (APFG) was leveraged for commercial gain.

Maguire resigned in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry heard he sought payment to help broker deals for property developers.

The inquiry continues, and is still to hear evidence from Maguire himself.

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