So what did Daryl Maguire tell the inquiry on Thursday, and why did it matter?
It didn’t make for comfortable watching, but counsel assisting the inquiry, Scott Robertson, asked the former MP for specific details about his secret relationship with Gladys Berejiklian.
They were in love, the former MP confirmed, and had discussed getting married and having children together. They often stayed at each other’s homes, and he had a key to her house, which, he said, she never asked him to return. He also told Robertson the relationship was “physically intimate”.
There were some criticisms of the questioning, and Berejiklian’s lawyer, Sophie Callan SC, unsuccessfully sought to have it heard in private. But, as Robertson argued, there were good reasons for asking the questions.
As I’ve said in the previous post, one of the key questions for Icac is whether Berejiklian acted in circumstances where she had a conflict due to a “private interest”. A private interest under the NSW ministerial code of conduct, as Robertson pointed out yesterday, is not limited to a financial benefit.
But determining the extent of the relationship was, he argued, key to establishing whether Berejiklian had a private interest. And the former premier has, since it was first revealed, continually downplayed the significance of her relationship with Maguire. Last year she told a Sydney radio station: “He wasn’t my boyfriend. He wasn’t anything of note.”
The commission also heard evidence Berejiklian fed Maguire information about projects he had lobbied for in his electorate, and continued speaking to him following his resignation after an appearance at a separate Icac inquiry in 2018.
In one tapped phone call in which he complained about “roadblocks” to securing funding for a project, she replied:
I know but you’re still getting everything. We ticked off your conservatorium the other day, that’s a done deal now.