Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian promised her then-lover she would “throw money” at the seat of Wagga Wagga, in order to win a by-election triggered by corruption allegations against him.
ICAC today played a phone tap of the conversation, as Daryl Maguire gave evidence at its ongoing inquiry into Ms Berejiklian.
“I’ll throw money at Wagga Wagga, don’t you worry about that,” Ms Berejiklian can be heard telling Mr Maguire.
“Go and give them a stadium,” he said in a second tap.
“I’ll do that, too, don’t worry,” she replied.
“Well, the bureaucrats knocked it all out,” he said.
“Yes, but I can overrule them,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The pair were speaking about “pork barrelling” – using taxpayer money to try to hold the seat, following his resignation from Parliament, in 2018, after a separate corruption inquiry.
At the time, they were in a secret relationship, which Mr Maguire said started as early as 2013, and didn’t end until last year.
ICAC Counsel Assisting put to him, that they had a “close emotional attachment”.
“You loved her,” Scott Robertson asked.
“Yes,” Mr Maguire replied.
Mr Maguire told the Commission they holidayed together, and that he had a key to her Sydney home, even saying they spoke about getting married, and having a baby.
Before his evidence could get underway, Ms Berejiklian’s lawyers fought to keep evidence about their relationship private.
Sophie Callan SC argued publicly airing the details would cause “humiliation and harm” to Ms Berejiklian.
“There is no public purpose served by plumbing the depths of the private life of my client about intimate details of this relationship,” Ms Callan said.
But, ICAC overruled, saying it was necessary to examine the nature of the relationship, in order to determine if it put Ms Berejiklian in a position of “conflict”.
The hearing has heard evidence from several staffers, bureaucrats and colleagues that the then-Treasurer took a special interest in the awarding of a $5.5 million grant to a gun club in Wagga Wagga in 2017, when Mr Maguire was still the member.
Mr Maguire himself admits he was a “pain in the arse” when it came to lobbying Ministers for money to be spent in his electorate, even Ms Berejiklian herself.
“I would have encouraged her to take a close interest in it,” he admitted.
The Commission will hear evidence from Ms Berejiklian tomorrow.