Gladys Berejiklian could become the third Liberal premier in New South Wales to be brought down by the anti-corruption body her side of politics created three decades ago.
Nick Greiner became its first victim in 1992 – just four years after he established the Independent Commission Against Corruption 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 Metherell, the damage was done and the late John Fahey replaced him as premier.
Gladys Berejiklian could become the third Liberal premier in New South Wales to be brought down by the anti-corruption her side of politics created. She is pictured in the Independent Commission Against Corruption witness box on Monday
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 short-lived government.
Now Ms Berejiklian could be next after ICAC played recordings of her telephone conversation with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.
The NSW Premier made the stunning admission while giving evidence at the ICAC inquiry into corruption allegations against Mr Maguire on Monday.
Ms Berejiklian said she had a ‘personal attachment’ to Mr Maguire after working together for more than 15 years. She said their relationship began in 2015.
They last spoke on September 13 – less than a month ago – and Ms Berejiklian ceased communication only after agreeing to attend the ICAC inquiry.
‘I would like to state at the outset Mr Maguire was a colleague of 15 years, he was someone that I trusted,’ she said.
Nick Greiner became its first victim in 1992 – just four years after he established the Independent Commission Against Corruption in a bid to uncover Labor scandals during Neville Wran’s decade in power. He is pictured in 2018
‘That developed into a close personal relationship.’
Mr Maguire – the Liberal member for Wagga Wagga – 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.
An intercepted phone call between Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire was played to the commission, revealing their close relationship.
The private conversation was about Mr Maguire’s first trip to China.
Ms Berejiklian can be heard saying former chief of staff Sarah Cruickshank had concerns about his travel.
‘Alright babe, what do you think?’ Mr Maguire says.
‘I just got home, did Sarah ring you from my office?’ Ms Berejiklian replied.
‘No why?’ he replied.
Little more than two decades later, in 2014, Barry O’Farrell (left in 2017 with Nick Greiner) resigned over an undeclared $3,000 bottle of Grange Hermitage, bottled in the year of his birth – 1959
‘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 went on to use ‘offensive language’ to explain why he was going to China.
‘I will [interfere]… 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.’
In September 2018, the Liberal Party lost the previously safe southern NSW seat of Wagga Wagga, with a 28 per cent swing against it, after Mr Maguire was forced to quit Parliament, sparking a by-election just six months before the state election.
The Liberal Party had held the seat since 1957.
Nonetheless, Ms Berejiklian won the March 2019 state election, securing the Coalition’s third consecutive term in NSW since 1971.
Mr Greiner’s successor Mr Fahey narrowly lost the 1995 election, but Mr O’Farrell’s Liberal replacement Mike Baird comfortably won the 2015 state election.
Source: Daily Mail AU
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