Gladys ‘cannot survive’ bombshell
Gladys Berejiklian stands no chance of surviving after she revealed she was in a close personal relationship with former Wagga Wagga Liberal MP Daryl Maguire, according to commentators.
The bombshell admission came out this morning as part of evidence given to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
Ms Berejiklian insisted her relationship was "never, ever" a conflict of interest, as the commission investigates Mr Maguire's conduct after the inquiry heard evidence he sought payments to help broker deals with property developers.
However, media commentators say this could be a fatal blow for the NSW Premier.
Radio host Ray Hadley simply stated that "she won't survive this one".
Greens MP David Shoebridge tweeted, saying Ms Berejiklian cannot survive this.
"It's hard to see how the Premier can survive a day in Parliament this week given the bombshells being dropped in ICAC about her relationship with the... Liberal MP Daryl Maguire," he said.
Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell says "there's a good chance Gladys Berejiklian will have to resign" over the scandal.
Coming to Ms Berejiklian's defence, News Corp columnist Rita Panahi said the Premier shouldn't fall on her sword.
"Gladys who has done more than any politician to save Australia from itself by reopening the economy & opposing illogical lockdowns/border closures may be in real trouble," she said. "It would be peak 2020 if she lost her job before Dan Andrews."
Other commentators have said they feel bad that Ms Berejiklian's personal life has been exposed in this way.
I feel sorry for Gladys on this. Relationships would be hard enough for someone in her job https://t.co/WNIkV925VW— Dee Madigan (@deemadigan) October 11, 2020
The less details revealed about Gladys’ love life, the better...please.— Myles Davies (@mylesdavies) October 12, 2020
Ms Berejiklian is not the first NSW Premier to face the ICAC but, unlike two others, she is not accused of any misconduct.
Liberal Premier Nick Greiner, who set up the commission in the late 1980s, was the ICAC's first major scalp in 1992.
The commission found he had been "technically corrupt" after getting a job for former education minister Terry Metherell. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision, but his political career was over.
In 2014, Premier Barry O'Farrell resigned after he couldn't recall getting a $3000 bottle of grange from Australian Water Holdings executive Nick Di Girolamo.
Now in 2020, Ms Berejiklian has admitted she was in a "close personal relationship" with Mr Maguire - who is accused of using his public office for financial gain - before cutting off all contact with him earlier this year.
But Ms Berejiklian said the relationship "never" influenced her behaviour as premier, saying she took conflicts of interest extremely seriously and was an "independent woman with my own finances".
Ms Berejiklian said the relationship began after the 2015 election and she decided to cease contact with him after she appeared at a private ICAC hearing in August.
Their last conversation was on September 13, she said.
She said the relationship was not known among their colleagues as she is a "very private person" and didn't feel it had "enough substance" to make public.
Last week, ICAC heard evidence that Mr Maguire gave Ms Berejiklian's email as contact to help a landowner lobby for rezoning changes.
It was claimed he suggested that the premier would be able to provide "a tickle form up top."
The NSW Premier has told the inquiry that she "did not care" about Mr Maguire's financial position and had "never relied on anybody else in my life".
"If you're suggesting that I cared about his financial position, I reject that completely. I did not care. That was his business, it had nothing to with me,'' she said.
"I've never relied on anybody else in my life. And I wouldn't start then."
Ms Berejiklian was then asked, "You didn't care about it?"
"No. I will not accept that I cared about his financial status. That was for him to worry about, and I didn't worry about it," she said.
However, she conceded that Mr Maguire was "obsessed" with his financial position and that they discussed it in relation to his exit from politics.
"Absolutely, he was obsessed with it. Yeah,'' she said.
Looking back, Ms Berejiklian said she did not believe Mr Maguire had been entirely truthful with her over his financial position.
"Looking back, I'm not sure whether he was truthful about that, if I can be frank. I don't know if anything that.. said to me was truthful,'' she said.
"He raised it with me... I can't confirm that what he told me was truthful. But I did not care about his financial position. That was his business."
Ms Berejiklian is not accused of any misconduct in the inquiry but is being probed about Mr Maguire's activities.
Maguire will front the ICAC later this week.
- with Samantha Maiden and NCA Newswire
Originally published as Gladys 'cannot survive' bombshell