A Labor MP has revealed she ‘feels sorry’ for Gladys Berejiklian after her personal relationship with disgraced MP Daryl Maguire was laid bare.
The embattled New South Wales Premier has faced calls to resign after her knowledge of her former lover’s shady business dealings came into question at an ICAC inquiry this week.
But former Deputy Leader of the Labor Party Tanya Plibersek has come to Ms Berejiklian’s defence, saying personal lives are difficult to maintain as a politician.
‘I feel actually, as a human being, very personally sorry for the premier,’ Ms Plibersek told the ABC’s Insiders program.
Federal Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek (pictured) has revealed she ‘feels sorry’ for the NSW Premier after the details of her intimate relationship with disgraced MP Daryl Maguire were laid bare this week
‘It is hard to form and maintain relationships in our line of work.’
Ms Plibersek refused to answer comments on whether the premier should step down, but said ‘there was never any excuse for corrupt behaviour or turning a blind eye to corrupt behaviour’.
‘Any sort of impropriety should be properly investigated by ICAC and if it is referred to the police, by the police or the courts,’ she said.
‘It doesn‘t matter who the person is, it doesn’t matter their gender, it doesn’t matter if we like the person or feel sorry for them.’
Ms Plibersek, who served as the Deputy Leader for six years until stepping down last year, also slammed the proposed federal integrity commission model.
‘My concern is why don’t we have a national integrity commission, a similar anti-corruption body at a federal level?’ she said.
Ms Berejiklian had a close personal relationship with Daryl Maguire (pictured together)
‘It can only look at behaviour that has happened after the laws have passed and the body is set up. It can’t look at things off its own bat. It can’t accept referrals from whistleblowers … I mean, what a joke.’
The ICAC is attempting to pin down what the Liberal leader knew about Maguire’s financial dealings, including a sale of land at Badgerys Creek, near the site of Sydney’s under-construction second airport.
The inquiry has heard then-Wagga Wagga MP Maguire hoped to make up to $1.5 million in the sale of land – which was owned by racing heiress Louise Waterhouse.
He could therefore clear his debts before retiring from Parliament and embarking on a new life, possibly with the Premier.
In sensational evidence, Mr Maguire this week admitted ‘monetising’ his parliamentary position as an MP, parliamentary secretary and chair of the ‘friends of the Asia-Pacific’ committee.
He confessed to running a cash-for-visa scheme from his office and being a secret director of a company, G8way International. G8way ‘ultimately’ sought to sell access to the highest levels of government.
Ms Berejiklian has been forced to defend her integrity after admitting on Monday she had a five-year relationship with Mr Maguire.
Ms Berejiklian has been forced to defend her integrity after admitting on Monday she had a five-year relationship with Mr Maguire
She was forced to unceremoniously sack the Wagga Wagga representative in 2018 after learning he was making dodgy deals. Ms Berejiklian has denied having any inkling that Mr Maguire’s dealings may be dodgy.
A transcript of private hearings on Thursday were released on Friday showing Mr Maguire admitted forming a relationship with Ms Berejiklian as early as 2013 and becoming ‘close’ in 2014. Both previously said it began around 2015.
Intimate phone conversations, in which he called her ‘babe’ and she called him ‘numero uno’, Spanish for ‘number one’, were broadcasted to investigators.
The notoriously private politician has since been in damage control, telling reporters earlier this week she was ‘humiliated and embarrassed’ the intimate details of her love affair were now public.
Mr Maguire has supported the premier’s claims, telling the inquiry he did shield her from details of his business activities, but had used her as a ‘sounding board’.
‘I thought it would cause her difficulties, so I limited the information that I gave her, yes … obviously, there is a conflict of interest and all that kind of stuff,’ he said.