Home » Gladys Berejiklian Icac Hearing Live Updates: Former Premier Says Telling Daryl Maguire He Was Family Was ‘a Turn Of Phrase’

Gladys Berejiklian Icac Hearing Live Updates: Former Premier Says Telling Daryl Maguire He Was Family Was ‘a Turn Of Phrase’

05:09

More from the recordings.

Berejiklian asks:

Does my office know all about this?

Maguire says he told her chief of staff and another staffer.

And I said not to say anything to you until I’ve gone and found out what it’s all about.

Berejiklian asks whether Icac is trying to establish that Maguire made money for making the introduction for the Chinese property developer, Country Garden.

Maguire:

Of course.

05:06

Berejiklian asks again: “They are not investigating you?”

Maguire says he is just a witness, but says the problem is that he could be implicated by some innocent comment.

He continues railing against Icac.

Nobody can have a conversation, nobody can make representations. What’s happening is that MPs and others are being muted by the fact that you have all this overseeing… in a way that paints you as fucking corrupt if you have a conversation.

He says this is all creating a system where MPs will just “warm the seat” and not have a go to help anybody.

Berejiklian asks more details. How long will the hearing take, she asks?

When Maguire elaborates, she replies:

I don’t want to know.

Again, Berejiklian wants to know if Maguire’s lawyers have any concerns.

I’m calm because that’s what the girl said to me. She said ‘did you accept money’ and I said ‘not on your bloody life’. If I had a deal I would have got a solicitor and done things properly, because that’s how I work.

Maguire asks Berejiklian how her day is going. She says she is a “bit distressed for you now”. Maguire says that’s why he didn’t want to tell her.

I must have killed a black cat and 10 Chinamen and walked under a couple of ladders. What more can you throw at a bloke?

Updated

05:00

‘They could be taping your conversation with me right now’: Maguire says, in taped phone call

Additional recordings are played.

Rather ironically, Maguire complains that Icac is always “taping” phone calls and “you can’t even have a conversation now”.

He complains about the $10,000 he has to spent to appear before the Icac.

These people think it’s a fucking picnic. It costs you nothing to go to Sydney, costs you nothing to stay, to do all this stuff, you know? They live in their own world, and everyone is corrupt. You can’t even have a conversation now, they’re taping it. They’re conjuring stuff up.

He goes on:

It’s worse than the Spanish fucking inquisition. They could be taping your conversation with me right now, you wouldn’t know. Wouldn’t know. People have no right to a conversation whether good intent or bad intent.

Maguire says “I have nothing to fear”.

Updated

04:56

She is asked how she could possibly believe Maguire when he said he hadn’t accepted a single dollar through the Country Garden property dealings, when he had previously told her that he was going to resolve a $1.5m debt by receiving a commission from a land deal:

I don’t know how I would be expected to make any joining of the dots which don’t exist in this case.

Updated

04:54

Berejiklian has said she previously did not ask any questions about Maguire’s dealings because they were “of no interest to her”.

She is asked why it became of interest to her by the time of this call in July 2018? Was it because Icac was asking questions?

I’d only be speculating if I answered that question.

Updated

04:51

The call ends.

Berejiklian says she was trying to satisfy herself that Maguire had done nothing wrong.

Did you suspect he was engaged in corrupt conduct?

Berejiklian:

No, I did not and, if I had done, I would have reported it.

Robertson reminds her that Maguire had previously told her that he was going to resolve a $1.5m debt through a land deal.

He asks whether that raised the possibility that he had engaged in improper conduct.

No, I trusted him and I believed him when he said he hadn’t done anything wrong.

Updated

04:47

‘Just be careful’: Berejiklian urges Maguire to be wary over Icac probe

The call goes on.

Gladys Berejiklian warns Daryl Maguire:

Just make sure you’ve taken lawyers’ advice.

Maguire talks about helping a Country Garden employee with a problem with a “planning issue”. He made introductions for the employee.

Berejiklian asks:

Why did you feel like you needed to do that for Country Garden? The lawyers will ask …

Maguire says he wanted to help his friend Tim.

Berejiklian:

Just make sure you answer everything as directly and honestly as you can.

Maguire said “that’s all you can do” and reiterates that he took no money for his involvement.

Berejiklian:

Anyway. Two rules: be honest and listen to your lawyer.

She asks what Icac is trying to establish. Maguire explains that there was a “row” over a property deal and the lack of planning approvals.

Berejiklian says:

If I was new to all this, I’d say, ‘What’s it to you, why do you care… why did you go out of your way?’

Maguire says he was trying to help out Tim.

Berejiklian urges Maguire to “just be careful”.

Updated

04:40

Berejiklian asked Maguire if there was ‘anything to worry about’ from Icac

Gladys Berejiklian tells the inquiry she first learned Daryl Maguire was appearing before Icac from a staffer, and later from Maguire himself.

Another phone recording is played.

Maguire is taped saying:

I’ve been subpoenaed to go to Icac. Summoned to Icac. So that’s exciting.

Berejiklian:

What? What for?

Maguire explains that it is because he made an introduction for a Chinese property developer, Country Garden.

Berejiklian asks whether there’s “anything to worry about”.

Maguire says no, he never took any money.

He attempts to explain the detail and Berejiklian says she doesn’t want to hear about it.

She asks:

What did the lawyers say, did the lawyers say there was anything to worry about?

Updated

04:36

She is asked whether the “money projects” were helping to make it easier for Maguire to retire.

Berejiklian is angry at the suggestion.

I reject it outright, and I find it offensive.

Updated

04:34

Another phone recording is played.

In this call, Maguire says he is concentrating on “money projects” in Wagga Wagga. Berejiklian says that “helps her too”:

The more you do that, the easier it will be to win the seat.

She goes on to say:

We ticked off your conservatorium the other day, so that’s a done deal.

Maguire complains that he hasn’t got all the money. She replies:

Oh my god. Heaven help us, seriously.

After the recording is played, she’s asked if it was normal practice to tell parliamentary secretaries what had been ticked off by cabinet.

Did Maguire get an “advance run”?

No, no more or less than anybody else.

She is asked how Maguire concentrating on “money projects” helped her. Berejiklian explains that the government was worried about regional NSW after the Orange byelection. Anything that helped it win it back was welcome.

At that time, our regional communities felt ignored – they felt we were too Sydney-centric.

She said all her colleagues were keen to win back that support that was perceived to have been lost.

Updated

04:21

Telling Maguire he was ‘family’ was a ‘turn of phrase’, Berejiklian says

This is an interesting exchange.

On the day the subcommittee made a decision on the grant, Gladys Berejiklian told Daryl Maguire he was like her family. Yet she still says the relationship was not of sufficient status to disclose.

Council assisting Scott Robertson:

How can you possibly say that the relationship was not of sufficient status to consider making a disclosure … when on the very same day you’re telling Mr Maguire that he’s your family?

Berejiklian says it was a “turn of phrase” and only intended to reflect her feelings for him, not be taken literally.

Robertson:

So when you say ‘you’re my family’ you didn’t mean ‘you’re my family’?

Berejiklian:

It was a turn of phrase … it wasn’t a definition that I was wedding myself to it. It was simply a turn of phrase to convey the close connection that I thought I felt to him.

Berejiklian then attempts to tell the commission that the “threshold question” for whether she should have disclosed was whether she felt the relationship was significant enough.

She is rebuffed by commissioner Ruth McColl:

I think we’ll decide the threshold questions, Ms Berejiklian.

Updated

04:16

Berejiklian continues:

In my mind, there wasn’t any conflict on my part because this was a proposal to be determined through the proper process on its merits for the public interest.

04:13

Conservatorium grant had ‘nothing to do’ with Berejiklian’s relationship with Maguire, she says

OK, we’re back on here. And straight back into the $30m grant to the conservatorium of music.

Gladys Berejiklian is asked why she sat on the cabinet subcommittee considering the grant but didn’t disclose her relationship to Daryl Maguire.

She says there would be no benefit personally to her and that the relationship wasn’t of a sufficient status to warrant disclosure:

It had nothing to do with what was happening in my private life.

Berejiklian says the thought of disclosing it never crossed her mind:

We didn’t share anything in common except for that close personal relationship … the threshold for me was would I introduce him to my parents, would I introduce him to my sisters?

Commissioner Ruth McColl notes that it sounds as though Berejiklian gave a lot of thought to the matter. Why then did it not cross her mind to disclose the relationship?

Berejiklian:

In my view, [the grant decision] had nothing to do with my personal life because it was on the merits of providing something positive to the community.

Updated

03:59

The morning’s major revelations

We’re not far off resuming. The lunch break typically ends about 2pm.

Just a quick reminder of the major revelations from this morning.

  • Gladys Berejiklian promised to “fix” a grievance Daryl Maguire had about the lack of money for projects he wanted in the 2018 budget. She boasted that she’d secured him $170m in five minutes for a Wagga Wagga hospital and said the then treasurer Dominic Perrottet would just do whatever she wants.
  • Berejiklian denied she ever suspected Maguire of corrupt conduct, despite him boasting that he was going to resolve a $1.5m debt through a land deal near western Sydney airport.
  • She said she’d not disclosed her relationship with Maguire because the relationship wasn’t significant enough. A text message showed she described him as part of her “family”. She said really he had been more like part of her “love circle”, but not family in the way that her mother and sisters were.
  • She has denied giving special treatment to Maguire in relation to two key grants to the Australian Clay Target Association and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. Maguire had advocated for both. Berejiklian had some involvement in overseeing the grants. She had not disclosed her relationship to Maguire to her colleagues.
  • Berejiklian told Maguire she would delay sacking an official so the official could fix Maguire’s concerns about the conservatorium funding.

Updated

03:06

And with that, we’ve adjourned for lunch.

03:06

Berejiklian denies delaying sacking official so he could ‘fix’ Maguire’s funding concerns

Gladys Berejiklian is asked whether Daryl Maguire’s advocacy for the conservatorium ever influenced her decision to “hire and fire an official”.

She says it did not.

But she notes that she was “incensed” that community groups like the conservatorium were being told to apply for money through the unsolicited proposals process, because it wasted their time and fed the impression the government didn’t care about the regions.

The official in question can’t be named.

Berejiklian is played a phone call.

In it, Berejiklian says: “I can’t stand that guy. His head will be gone.”

She appears to indicate that she will delay sacking the official to meet Maguire’s request to “fix” the conservatorium funding:

Tell him to fix it, and then after he fixes it, I’m sacking him.

Asked about the recording, Berejiklian rejects the suggestion that she delayed sacking the official to help Maguire:

No, that person is still in the public service today.

Updated

03:00

Berejiklian said that, during the 2017 meeting, she offered a degree of government support to the conservatorium for its proposal:

I felt sorry for them.

She said the unsolicited proposals process was meant for major projects, like toll roads, not for minor issues like the conservatorium’s desire for relocation and a new performance space.

She says Maguire raised the funding with her “on a number of occasions”, as has the current member for Wagga Wagga.

Did Maguire complain about “roadblocks” to the project?

Berejiklian:

I’m sure he did.

She’s shown an email in which Maguire complained about the lack of progress on the conservatorium funding.

Robertson asks: “Did you take this email from Maguire as a request to intervene?”

No. Again vague recollection would have been that I would have taken it as his frustration with the process.

Berejiklian is played a recording of a phone call.

In the call, Maguire says “this funding is causing some bloody issues”. He is talking about the conservatorium funding.

She says:

At least we’ve engaged them, we’re in conversation. We’re on the right path.

Berejiklian is asked whether she gave Maguire favourable treatment. She denies doing so.

Updated

02:52

Gladys Berejiklian is now asked about another grant. This is the second of the grants at the centre of this investigation. It awarded $30m to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music.

The former premier is asked about a handwritten note to Daryl Maguire, who had been lobbying for the funding, in which she said she was “aware” of the “merits of the proposal”.

She cannot recall what merits they were in particular.

Berejiklian met with the conservatorium on 10 February 2017. Berejiklian says of the meeting:

I certainly got a deeper understanding of what they were seeking … but certainly I do recall having correspondence and having this meeting with them.

The conservatorium wanted to relocate because it could no longer use its old premises, and it wanted a new performance space.

Berejiklian said she had been made aware during the meeting that the funding was being sought through the so-called “unsolicited proposals” process, which would not have been successful:

I was very concerned at the advice they’d been given and I was quite upset and incensed that they’d been asked to follow a particular course of action to get support when I knew that would have set them up for failure.

Updated