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By October 19, 2020Australian Politics, Society

Two years ago, former Liberal Member for the New South Wales state seat of Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire, was targeted by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for allegations he was using his public office for personal gain through commissions for Sydney property projects. Since that time, it has been shown he was also involved in a ‘cash for visas’ scheme. The surveillance included recording his phone conversations. Those phone conversations included some with the premier, Gladys Berejiklian. She was called to give evidence by ICAC and did so on October 12. To say there was a surprise in her evidence is an understatement. In it she admitted that she had been in a “close personal relationship” for five years with Daryl Maguire, who resigned in disgrace from NSW Parliament in 2018. The disturbing thing is that although Maguire was forced to leave parliament in 2018, Berejiklian’s relationship with him continued up until a “few months ago”1, saying: “When I was asked to support this inquiry, it became apparent to me that I should have absolutely no contact any more with that individual”2. That was a rather precipitous fall out of favour, from being a horizontal folk-dancing partner to being referred to as ‘that individual’ in a few months at most.

While many people were surprised at these revelations, and insisted Berejiklian should resign, her response was to maintain “Never, ever have I done anything but what is the highest standard of integrity. Where I have failed is in my personal life”3. This did not go down well with Samantha Maiden, who started off with “Sure, the love drugs dopamine and oxytocin are nice but women who date men are not brain damaged” and “…the idea that the NSW premier didn’t know at least some of what this bloke was up to is infantilising”4.

The recorded phone calls and text chains show that in 2014, Maguire told Berejiklian about a motel sale for which he should make $5,000. To this, Berejiklian replied “Congrats!!! Great News!! Woo hoo”. In a phonecall, Maguire told Berejiklian that the $330 million sale of a development site owned by the Waterhouse family next to the Western Sydney Airport site was close to being completed and he was looking forward to a big payday. Interestingly, Berejiklian replied in this phonecall: “That’s good. I don’t need to know about that bit”4. In her evidence she said she was ‘bored’ or ‘wasn’t interested’ and not because she wanted to remain in the dark; to have plausible deniability. Berejiklian assumed Maguire would make a full disclosure to parliament, but he didn’t4. If Berejiklian assumed that, you’d expect it to come up in pillow talk. But, apparently, it didn’t.

I have also seen tweets from assorted people attempting to state that ‘it’s a private matter’ and that who Berejiklian sleeps with is nobody’s business but hers. With that I would agree, as I indicated when the Beetrooter, Barnaby Joyce, was caught with his trousers down around his ankles. In Joyce’s case it was the hypocrisy and the corruption which were of interest5. Using this tactic is a deflection in much the same way as Berejiklian’s ‘I was a fool’ defence was. I reiterate, it is not the horizontal folk dancing, it is the corruption which is the issue.

What I find almost beyond belief, is the tacit acceptance that a parliamentarian who is receiving a hefty salary paid by the public, spends much of his time arranging business deals from which he gets a substantial cut. No wonder the nation is in such deep ordure, with people like that in parliament. In addition, anyone that believes Daryl Maguire is an outlier is deluding themselves. Compilations of government corruption like those presented here7, and by Michael West8, demonstrate that the problem is almost universal and systemic. The difference between the state sphere of politics and the federal sphere, is that the federal politicians get away with it because there is no equivalent integrity body like the NSW ICAC. This deep-seated systemic corruption has to stop. If it does not, then we will have to make it stop.

Sources

  1. https://theconversation.com/brand-gladys-how-icac-revelations-hurt-berejiklians-school-captain-image-147986
  2. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/we-were-close-berejiklian-was-in-a-relationship-with-ex-mp-maguire-20201012-p5647m.html
  3. https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/10/12/gladys-berejiklian-daryl-maguire/
  4. https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/big-problem-with-gladys-berejiklian-playing-the-victim-card/news-story/abce199f4e382ca40e4d1cf3591c5fe2
  5. http://www.blotreport.com/2018/02/16/not-horizontal-folk-dancing/
  6. https://arp.nsw.gov.au/assets/ars/862b3be2e6/2014-5461.pdf
  7. http://www.blotreport.com/2020/09/23/corruption-galore-5/
  8. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/the-case-for-a-federal-icac/

10 Comments

  • Arthur Baker says:

    “What I find almost beyond belief, is the tacit acceptance that a parliamentarian who is receiving a hefty salary paid by the public, spends much of his time arranging business deals from which he gets a substantial cut.”

    There’s another reason for astonishment – the amateurish nature of their efforts at making a quid on the side. There are two golden unbreakable rules if you’re going to do what my dad called “a fiddle”. And they’re both short enough that even those of limited intelligence can learn and remember them. (a) Nothing written down. (These days that would imply also “nothing that can be recorded”). (b) Don’t get greedy. But they almost invariably do write stuff down or yap on the phone. And they do get greedy. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    How do I know this? It’s all right, Ma. It’s just something I learned over in England. Let’s call it a simple desultory Philippic.

    • admin says:

      Arthur,
      I half suspect that the greedy bastards with a modicum of intelligence tend to go into business, while it is the thick who seem to choose politics.

  • Keryn booker says:

    The nsw premier is in to it up to her neck . To think she wasn’t “I don’t need to hear that ‘ is just being cautious while on the phone . Corruption starts at the top . This will be one of many noses in the trough , I’m sure , before this saga plays out. The two of them have been working in tandem for years . She’s trying to extradite herself from him now , But I’m sure he will take her down when when it comes to the crunch . People like that always do .

    • admin says:

      Keryn,
      I suspect you are right. ‘I don’t need to hear that bit’ was a giveaway. I don’t for a second believe she said that because she was bored. She was looking for plausible deniability. Murdoch’s and others’ (including Berejiklian) use of the poor wronged woman is a slap in the face for all women, and says much about Murdoch and conservatives.

  • Jon says:

    Excellent demolition by Sally Rugg of Berejklian’s recent ‘oh woe is me I was blinded by love’ media blitz over the last week in todays SMH. As the author suggests if she’s that pathetic then why should anyone trust her to be Premier of NSW. Her govt’s blatant pork barreling of coalition electorates before the last election is classic modern-day political corruption. It makes the disgraced Bridget McKenzie’s rorting look like small bikkies.

    The ethics of contemporary politicians – especially, but not only those on the conservative side of politics -should disgust any right-minded person. Was thinking the other day that the simplest way to improve this nation’s ethics and honesty would be to outlaw/jettison four groups – party politicians, and the “Liberal” (they aren’t) , “National” (neither is this mob of fruitcakes) and Labor parties. With apologies to the couple of handsfull of decent people in our parliaments.

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/spare-us-the-damsel-defence-gladys-it-s-an-insult-to-women-20201020-p566u4.html

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      This is a difficult one, but I have often thought about it (i.e. banning political parties). However, it goes against the freedom of association which is implicit in the constitution. I think it could be largely fixed by removing all corporate money from politics, restricting donations such that only citizens can donate, and capping donations from anyone, so that millionaires or billionaires cannot buy parties or advertising. All campaigns for elections should be publicly funded and strictly limited.

  • Russe says:

    My take on the Gladbag’s media blitz, is that she realises Labor is starting to strike a chord in NSW, and the Maguire thing can only, to my immense pleasure, make the filthy Lib-Nats look worse than they have looked for some time. Berejikkie has an eye on the next election, and her fun with Maguire isn’t much help to that! The disasters that false-tears Berejiklian has presided over, like Westconnex, the uneducated, thuggish style of most of her team, the mates-in-business stuff that always occurs with the Liberal Party: these are damning of Gladdie whether or not she got a few rare jollies from Daryl’s between-legs-machinery. And what a piece of dog poo is Maguire, he who left a laughably neon–lit trail of evidence behind him! Truly, I wonder if there’s even a bottom at all to the dark well of foul, inept chicanery out of this vile government!

    • admin says:

      Russell,
      This is the problem with the Murdoch media. They will run with this ‘poor Glad used by Maguire’ until it is forgotten. It will be interesting to see what the ICAC report says, although I don’t hold out a great deal of hope. When this first came out, I had visions which made want to puke.

  • Jon says:

    I understand that getting rid of party politicians is impossible Admin, but if only. The problem isn’t only with people, organisations and corporations buying influence though, it starts with the culture within the two majors and the hayseed sucking hypocrites who claim to represent the country. It seems the very first rule of both Liberal and Labor is that loyalty is number 1,2,3 while ethics, principles and integrity are numbers 98,99,100 in the list of required personal traits.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      Yep, and that is the problem with political parties. All they are concerned with is being re-elected, and they will say anything to do so. They seem unconcerned about the future beyond that. It is all about snouts in the trough.

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