Gladys Berejiklian has vowed not to resign, but in order to build back trust, she needs to refine two salient points.
Today, Gladys Berejiklian landed in some spectacularly problematic goop, as it became known that she had a ‘close personal’ relationship with Daryl Maguire, a regional Liberal politician who resigned in disgrace in 2018.
As The Guardian outlined, “During a morning of stunning revelations, the inquiry heard intercepted phone calls in which Maguire told Berejiklian that he potentially stood to make hundreds of thousands of dollars if land owned by the racing heir Louise Waterhouse near the site of the new Western Sydney airport was rezoned. The payment would have been enough to pay off “about half” of his $1.5m personal debt, Maguire told Berejiklian in one phone call. Berejiklian responded: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit.'”
Lauren Pezet of The ABC noted in 2018, “The member for Wagga Wagga had been embroiled in a corruption saga after he admitted to seeking payment to help broker a deal with a Chinese property developer during evidence at the ICAC inquiry into the former Canterbury City Council.”
At the time, Berejiklian was ‘deeply disappointed and shocked’ when she read Mr Maguire’s evidence at ICAC. Wind the clock forward two years, and today (also at the ICAC), Berejiklian confirmed that the relationship began in 2015, and lasted until a few months ago.
Fronting the media, Berejiklian said that while she “stuffed up in my personal life and I accept that…(but) there is huge separation between personal life and public office.”
As Jodi McKay, the Labor member for Strathfield, said today on Twitter, “The questions are piling up. Why have property developers been lobbying inside her office? Why have they been given her private email address? Why did she have a secret off the books meeting with a developer?”
This isn’t about Gladys’ personal life – politicians are allowed to have one – this is about Gladys turning a blind eye to corruption.
— Jodi McKay (@JodiMcKayMP) October 12, 2020
What the state needs (and this will ascertain whether Gladys stays in power) is refinement. Berejiklian can easily separate herself from Maguire by outlining her knowledge of his actions and supplying a timeline. Two crucial blanks need to be filled in.
As Former Federal Agent and Political Commentator Carrick Ryan put it, “Is it reasonable to believe Gladys was unaware of the corrupt actions of Maguire whilst she was in a relationship with him? Then; when she became aware of the investigation into Maguire, did she either end the relationship or disclose it as a possible conflict of interest? If so, when?”