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Paul Doorn to appear; former NSW premier says she had no knowledge of Daryl Maguire’s conduct

By on October 19, 2021 0

In case you missed it yesterday, the lawyer assisting the ICAC in its investigation, Scott Robertson, gave an opening speech on the first day of the public hearings. He gave a more detailed guide to the issues being investigated by the Corruption Watchdog.

Counsel assisting the ICAC, Scott Robertson, at hearings last year.

Conflict of interest

Mr Robertson said the watchdog was investigating whether former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian demonstrated the “high standards of probity” she set for herself – even and her ministers when she had not disclosed her secret relationship with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire and any conflict of interest could have presented.

Under the New South Wales ministerial code of conduct, a minister “must not knowingly conceal a conflict of interest from the prime minister”.

The ICAC is investigating the events from 2012 to 2018, in which Ms Berejiklian was Treasurer of New South Wales (from April 2015) and later Prime Minister (from January 2017). The ICAC learned last year that Ms. Berejiklian and Mr. Maguire were in a relationship between 2015 and 2018.

Gladys Berejiklian is preparing to announce her resignation at the beginning of the month.  She denies any wrongdoing.

Gladys Berejiklian is preparing to announce her resignation at the beginning of the month. She denies any wrongdoing.Credit:Dominique lorrimer

Obligation to declare

Under Section 11 of the ICAC Act, a NSW Minister and other public officials have a duty to report any matter that the person reasonably suspects or may concern corrupt conduct.

Mr Robertson said the ICAC had no records to show Ms Berejiklian had reported to an agency manager or the corruption watchdog suspected corrupt behavior involving Mr Maguire.

Ms Berejiklian forced Mr Maguire to resign as parliamentary secretary on July 13, 2018, after testifying in a separate corruption investigation. A few days later, on July 21, she announced that he would be leaving the state parliament altogether.

But Ms Berejiklian said in a private hearing at the ICAC on September 18 this year that she did not suspect Mr Maguire of corruption when she called for his resignation in 2018. “I was in shock. I didn’t know what to think … I hadn’t read what was going on. I don’t remember what I was thinking at the time, ”she said.

Mr Robertson said the watchdog is also investigating whether to accept this evidence.

Gladys Berejiklian and former MP Daryl Maguire were in a secret relationship between 2015 and 2018.

Gladys Berejiklian and former MP Daryl Maguire were in a secret relationship between 2015 and 2018.Credit:AAP, Janie Barrett

“Authorize or encourage” corrupt conduct

Mr Robertson said the watchdog was also investigating whether Ms Berejiklian had engaged in conduct which was “likely to allow or encourage the occurrence of corrupt behavior by Mr Maguire”. The ICAC learned last year that Mr. Maguire spoke to Ms. Berejiklian on some tapped phone calls from her business relationship, and on one call she said: “I don’t need to find out more “.

Mr Robertson said “a question arises as to whether Ms Berejiklian’s apparent inaction with regard to the information provided to her by Mr Maguire was likely to allow or encourage Mr Maguire to engage in corrupt behavior “.

Government grants

The ICAC is investigating Ms. Berejiklian and Mr. Maguire’s conduct in relation to $ 35 million in state government grants to the Australian Clay Target Association and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in its electorate when Ms. Berejiklian was treasurer of NSW in 2016/2017 and 2018. At the time of the grants, the couple were in a secret relationship and Mr. Robertson alleges that Mr. Maguire “vehemently advocated for government support for these projects within government, including directly to Mrs. Berejiklian “.

“We expect the evidence to show that the proposals investigated in this public inquiry have not been subject to a competitive assessment as to whether these proposals, or any of them, should be preferred over other possible demands on public money, ”Mr. Robertson said. .

“And while this is not indicative of corruption, it does raise the possibility that Ms. Berejiklian’s conduct had the effect of preferring Wagga Wagga-based organizations to equally or more deserving ones.
organizations based elsewhere in that state.

Berejiklian’s response

As we will continue to point out throughout this blog, Ms. Berejiklian denies any wrongdoing. She had this to say in her resignation speech on October 1:

The problems that [the ICAC] … investigation are historical subjects that have already been the subject of numerous attacks against me by political opponents in the past 12 months.

Many of these topics were the subject of questions the opposition asked me when I appeared before an estimates committee earlier this year.

I want to be very clear, in all the decisions I have ever made as Minister or Premier of NSW my first consideration has always been the welfare and welfare of the people of this state.

I categorically state that I have always acted with the highest level of integrity. History will show that I have always performed my duties with the highest degree of integrity for the benefit of the people of NSW whom I have been privileged to serve.


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