NSW Premier's secret phone calls with disgraced ex revealed

·Lifestyle Editor
·4-min read

Disgraced MP Daryl Maguire has been grilled over a secret phone call with the NSW premier where he discussed a business deal he was involved in.

Mr Maguire faced an ICAC hearing for a third day after allegedly using his public office for personal financial gain.

In a phone call played during the hearing where Mr Maguire is speaking to his former lover Premier Gladys Berejiklian about a business deal, she responds, “I don’t need to know about that bit”.

In response, Mr Maguire says: “No you don’t, you do not.”

When asked by the commissioner why he said that during the September 2017 call, he said he did not know.

The commissioner grilled him further and said that it could not have just been a random response.

GLADYS UNDER FIRE: Read more of our coverage of the NSW Premier’s tough week here.

He questioned whether Mr Maguire had information he did not propose to share with her, to which Mr Maguire responded, “yes”.

On Thursday the former Wagga MP said he would speak to Ms Berejiklian about his finances and his $1.5 million debt, and the commissioner asked whether or not he was concerned whether she would have to take action if he disclosed more information to her.

Daryl Maguire arrives at the Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing in Sydney, Friday, October 16, 2020.
Daryl Maguire faced a third day of an ICAC hearing into alleged corruption. Source: AAP

“Well yes, I would have been concerned that it would cause an issue for her, yes,” Mr Maguire said.

He added he was concerned what questions could be raised as a result of his involvement in helping secure a $330 million property deal in Badgerys Creek, next to the proposed Western Sydney Airport.

“Do you agree that at least in part you sought to shield some of that information from Ms Berejiklian?” the commissioner asked.

“Well, yes,” Mr Maguire responded.

“You shared some at least in general terms what you were up to and what you were doing?” the commissioner said.

“Yes,” Mr Maguire answered.

The former MP added the premier was to some extent a sounding board to discuss things he was involved in, in general terms.

MP says he didn’t want to cause Premier ‘difficulties’

When asked whether he believed there were particular bits of information Ms Berejiklian did not want to know about his activities, Mr Maguire said, “yes”.

Mr Maguire said there was a point where he stopped giving the premier details as he was concerned it might “cause her difficulties”.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses media during a press conference at NSW State Parliament in Sydney, Wednesday, October 14, 2020. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told Daryl Maguire she did not need to know about a business deal he was involved in. Source: AAP

“What difficulties do you think it would have caused her if you descended to specifics?” the commissioner asked.

“I think it would have put her in a really difficult position if I went into specifics of issues and all sorts of, you know, complexities that might be involved,” he responded.

“I don’t think she needed to know and the conversations I had, commissioner, were of a broad nature and I regularly refrained from giving too much detail because a lot of it was hypothetical too.”

The commissioner said Mr Maguire did not answer the question, and again asked what difficulties it would have caused the premier.

“Obviously, there is a conflict of interest and all that kind of stuff that I considered might make things really difficult for her,” he said.

NSW premier faces tough questioning

After a rocky start to the week with Ms Berejiklian forced to answer what she considered to be “offensive” questions about her knowledge of Mr Maguire’s dealings, she again defended herself during a press conference on Friday.

"Hand on heart, I have done nothing wrong," the premier responded on Friday after being asked if she could be trusted.

Ms Berejiklian pointed out she had been called as a witness by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which is investigating allegations Mr Maguire abused his public office while an MP between 1999 and 2018.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks to the media during a press conference in Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitted to having a close and personal relationship with Daryl Maguire on Monday. Source: AAP

"They have made it very clear that I am a witness and I have not been accused of any wrongdoing," she said, adding she did not expect to be recalled.

Asked what would be the "test" for her to resign she responded: "when I have done something wrong".

The NSW Labor opposition on Thursday accused Ms Berejiklian of being a "sounding board for corruption" during her romance with Mr Maguire, who has admitted to misusing his public office.

The very private premier was grilled by the ICAC on Monday about Mr Maguire and revealed they had been in a "close personal relationship" since 2015.

This included the period in 2018 when the 61-year-old Mr Maguire was forced out of parliament after an earlier ICAC commission heard evidence he had solicited secret commissions.

Ms Berejiklian told the ICAC she pulled the plug on her contact with Mr Maguire in August this year before facing the media to admit she had "stuffed up in my personal life".

"I trusted someone who didn't deserve to have my trust, and I'm deeply regretful of that," she said.

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