Maguire ICAC hearings: Labor continues to grill Premier over relationship with former Wagga MP

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian responds to questions in Parliament this week. Photo: NSW Parliament
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian responds to questions in Parliament this week. Photo: NSW Parliament

The NSW opposition has continued to pressure Premier Gladys Berejiklian over what she knew about former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire's business schemes during their five-year relationship.

Labor leader Jodi McKay and multiple opposition MPs used Parliament on Tuesday to question the Premier over her private conversations with Mr Maguire about Chinese investment company Country Garden.

Ms Berejiklian maintained the same defence she has used since the secret relationship was revealed at the Independent Commission Against Corruption last week, by saying she had done nothing wrong.

"Premier, in July 2018 you knew ICAC was investigating Daryl Maguire's dealings with Country Garden and his commissions from property developers. We now know he told you about Country Garden and he told you about the commissions," Ms McKay said in Parliament.

"Why did you not report this to ICAC, as you were legally required?"

Ms Berejiklian replied: "I reject the imputations in [your] question.

"Secondly, [Ms McKay] asked me the same question last week. And thirdly, we should allow the integrity body to do the work that is has to do while I do the work that the NSW people expect me to do."

Canterbury MP Sophie Costis then asked the Premier about her statement that she had assisted ICAC in any way possible.

"Yet ICAC needed to tap phone calls, read text messages and summon you to a compulsory examination, all because you didn't come forward with what you knew," Ms Costis said.

"How can you still maintain that you assisted ICAC in any way possible?"

Ms Berejiklian replied: "I say again to those members of the opposition and all members of the house: If you respect the process that is going on, let the process take its course.

"What the people of NSW want, during the darkest time in our state's history, is a government focused on them."

Ms McKay also asked whether the Premier would support "independent funding for ICAC".

Ms Berejiklian said she was "pleased to say" that ICAC funding had "increased by 50 per cent" while the Coalition had been in government.

The opposition sought leave to ask Ms Berejiklian four additional questions but the Speaker of the House did not grant the request.

Labor has also introduced a bill to ban ministers and parliamentary secretaries from taking commissions from property developers.

ICAC revealed in 2018 an intercepted phone call in which Mr Maguire, then a parliamentary secretary, discussed commissions from a property developer looking for Sydney projects.

This story Premier's grilling over relationship with former MP continues first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.