Daryl Maguire called on in ICAC probe into former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
A tapped phone call played at ICAC has revealed Gladys Berejiklian promised her secret boyfriend she would “throw money” at his former electorate after he resigned from politics.
Intercepted phone calls and text messages between Ms Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire have exposed ways the pair discussed his funding requests for Wagga Wagga.
Mr Maguire has also revealed the pair loved and were intimate with each other, talked about having a child together, and discussed marriage.
Despite being a self-described “leper” in the eyes of Liberal colleagues in 2018, Mr Maguire said he was kept in the loop after his sacking by Ms Berejiklian, whom he was secretly dating.
The communications intercepted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption revealed that Mr Maguire suggested to Ms Berejiklian how she should go about firing him after he allegedly lied to the corruption watchdog on July 13, 2018.
“Get stuck into me. Kick the sh-- out of me. Good for party morale,” Mr Maguire said in a message to Ms Berejiklian.
The day before, Ms Berejiklian had issued a fiery statement saying Mr Maguire would be sacked.
It was also revealed Mr Maguire was asked for his input on how to win the by-election that was triggered as a result of his resignation from parliament.
Ms Berejiklian was heard in a bugged phone call telling Mr Maguire: “I’ll throw money at Wagga, don’t you worry about that.”
In another phone call excerpt, Ms Berejiklian was heard telling Mr Maguire: “You just have to do what's right on your end, otherwise you’ll kill me.”
“I'm batting for you. You just need to know what the right things are to throw money at Wagga,” Mr Maguire responded.
“I already know, you've already told me the three top things,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Maguire told her to “go and give them a stadium”, prompting Ms Berejiklian to respond: “I'll do that too, don’t worry.”
When Mr Maguire complained that “the bureaucrats” won’t allow it,” Ms Berejiklian responded: “Yes, but I can overrule them.”
Mr Maguire was also taped during a phone call with the Liberal candidate, Julia Ham, advising her on how to run her campaign.
The Liberal party ended up losing the by-election to an independent candidate.
The ICAC is probing whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public’s trust in the course of the relationship, including whether she had a conflict of interest in helping award grants to Mr Maguire’s electorate without disclosing that she and Mr Maguire were a pair.
She has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr Maguire told the ICAC on Thursday he and Ms Berejiklian loved each other, would live together from time to time and contemplated having a child.
Mr Maguire, whose allegedly corrupt conduct helped bring down the NSW premier, took the witness chair at the ICAC about 11am.
He was asked a series of questions to establish, in the words of the counsel assisting the ICAC, the “hallmarks of the relationship”.
“(Did you have) a close emotional attachment?” the counsel assisting, Scott Robertson asked.
“We had our moments, but yes” Mr Maguire replied.
“You loved her?”
“Yes,” Mr Maguire replied.
“As far as you could ascertain, she loved you as well?”
“Yes,” Mr Maguire replied.
He also agreed they would stay with each other from time to time while visiting each other’s cities and that he had a key to her house.
Mr Maguire also agreed the pair would holiday together, and that they discussed “having a child” and getting married.
Mr Maguire was also asked if there was any “physical intimacy” between them.
“Yes,” he replied.
The private questions were asked despite a last-minute request by Ms Berejiklian’s barrister, Sophie Callan, to hear the details of the relationship behind closed doors.
The ICAC commissioner ruled against Ms Callan and instead agreed with Mr Robertson, who argued establishing the nature of the relationship was relevant to the allegations the commission was investigating.
Those allegations included whether Ms Berejiklian failed in her duty to report allegedly corrupt conduct by Mr Maguire, and whether she encouraged that conduct by turning a blind eye.
Ms Berejiklian is scheduled to testify on Friday. She has said she always acted with integrity.
Mr Maguire told the ICAC on Thursday he would keep Ms Berejiklian “updated” on projects he championed, including a submission for using taxpayer money to fund a Wagga Wagga gun club.
The former MP was played a recorded phone call with Ms Berejiklian from October 2017 where he said he wanted to make Wagga Wagga the “blazing star of the southern universe”.
“Wagga is going to be just like Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian responded.
In another bugged phone call, from 2018, Ms Berejiklian was heard discussing money that Mr Maguire had sought for a music conservatorium in Wagga Wagga.
Ms Berejiklian could be heard saying to Mr Maguire the money was for “your conservatorium”.
The then-premier was heard responding to a comment by Mr Maguire about a “roadblock” to getting the money, saying: “You're still getting everything.”
She also said she would be able to “overrule the bureaucracy” in the grants process.
The ex-MP agreed he wouldn’t “compartmentalise” between his public work and private relationship.
“You didn't seek to avoid directly lobbying Ms Berejiklian?” Mr Robertson asked.
“No, I lobbied everybody, anyone that had a slightest attachment to whatever it was I was proposing I lobbied,” Mr Maguire said.
Responding to questions from Ms Berejiklian’s lawyer, Mr Maguire said: “You could always go in and see premier Berejiklian (in her parliamentary office) at any time.”
“With (the previous premier Mike) Baird it was more difficult to get past the guards,” Mr Maguire said.
In December 2016, a powerful cabinet committee that Ms Berejiklian chaired approved $5.5 million for the gun club, money that would only paid out once the gun club could show that the funds would benefit the state as a whole.
Three months later, in March, Mr Maguire emailed Ms Berejiklian to “vent” his frustration that the money was being held up, the ICAC heard.
“Typical of our bulls--t government,” Mr Maguire wrote.
Mr Maguire, who earlier agreed he was both a “pain in the arse” and a “pest” when it came to advocating for his own agenda, told the ICAC the message was “typical Daryl”.
Mr Maguire was also asked about money he was seeking for a music conservatorium project in Wagga Wagga.
The ICAC has previously heard the Riverina Conservatorium of Music was awarded $10 million, and was promised another $20 million.
Mr Maguire was played an intercepted phone call where he was heard saying he had acquired “tens, and tens, and tens, and tens of millions of dollars”.
The former MP was asked by Mr Robertson why he spoke about the money as if it was “his”.
“That’s just Daryl-speak,” Mr Maguire responded.
Before Mr Maguire’s testimony began, Ms Berejiklian’s barrister, Ms Callan, made an application to the ICAC commissioner to ask that certain “intimate” details of the relationship be discussed in private, rather than before the public.
“In my submission, there is no public purpose served by plumbing the depths of the private life of my client about intimate details of this relationship,” Ms Callan said.
She indicated that Mr Robertson, who argued for hearing certain details behind closed doors last year, had changed his mind this time.
Ms Callan said she understood Mr Robertson would seek to “scrutinise the level of commitment or substance of that relationship”.
“As I understand it, this year his position has changed such that he considers there is a proper basis for exposing such intimate private details in this public forum,” Ms Callan said.
Mr Maguire was a longstanding local member who agreed last year he used his parliamentary power to try and enrich himself.
He was originally drawn into an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation in 2018 concerning a Sydney council.
Mr Maguire was caught allegedly giving false evidence to the commission, testimony that was contradicted by a bugged phone call.
The political fallout was hard and swift for Mr Maguire, who resigned from parliament shortly after his July 13, 2018 testimony.
He was also sacked from a role as parliamentary secretary by then-premier Berejiklian, who unbeknown to most people in parliament was his secret girlfriend.
Mr Maguire soon became the focus of his own ICAC investigation. That probe held public hearings last October, during the course of which his relationship with the premier was revealed.
Ms Berejiklian remained in the top job for another year after her bombshell testimony to the commission, before resigning when the ICAC revealed she, too, was a focus of investigation.
The current set of hearings are a continuation of the same probe that looked into Mr Maguire last year.
The 2018 ICAC probe into the Sydney council handed down its findings in March this year and recommended that prosecutors consider charging Mr Maguire.
Originally published as Daryl Maguire called on in ICAC probe into former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
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