NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has rejected calls to resign after sensational evidence she had a five-year relationship with an ex-MP who is the subject of an ICAC hearing.
In a sensational twist into the ICAC inquiry into former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, the NSW Premier yesterday admitted she had a close personal relationship with him that only ended a few months ago.
Gladys Berejiklian told the ICAC hearing she was in a relationship with the disgraced MP from 2015-2020, a period in which Mr Maguire is facing ICAC inquiries over his business dealings.
Ms Berejiklian told ICAC she ended the relationship when the ICAC inquiry into Mr Maguire's business dealings were announced earlier this year.
"When I was asked to support this inquiry it became apparent to me that I should have absolutely no contact anymore and I ceased all contact," Ms Berejiklian told the inquiry.
"More substantially, I'm a very private person and I didn't feel the relationship had sufficient substance for it to be made public," Ms Berejiklian said.
Ms Berejiklian was quizzed closely by ICAC counsel assisting Scott Robertson this morning of what she knew about various business dealings Mr Maguire had been involved in and might be interested in pursuing after politics.
Emails between the pair were tendered by counsel assisting as evidence at the hearing.
But she denied to ICAC distancing herself from specific details on Mr Maguire's affairs in an attempt at self-preservation.
"I would never, ever, ever turn a blind eye from any responsibility that I had to disclose any wrongdoing that I saw, or any activity that I thought was not in keeping with what a member of parliament should be doing," Ms Berejiklian told the inquiry.
"I would suggest that I was either not interested or I thought what he was raising with me was fanciful. He was a big talker.
"A lot of the time, I would have ignored a lot of what he said as fanciful and information that I didn't care to be involved in or interested in."
In a press conference later, Ms Berejiklian said she was not stepping down and said she had done nothing wrong and had followed all due process.
"I'm an extremely private person and I stuffed up in my personal life," she told the media.
"The relationship wasn't of any status that I should share with anybody, even my family."
She said she continued the relationship even after Mr Maguire was forced to resign - by her after consulting colleagues - because she felt sorry for him and he was in a "dark place".
She knew Mr Maguire for 15 years and felt "let down" by his alleged actions.
"All proper process was held to account."
She said she had been through a "personal nightmare". "I did not know the extent of what he had alleged to be involved in." She said she had trusted him, but that trust had been "misplaced".
The Land was mentioned in later evidence before ICAC when a tapped phone call between Mr Maguire and Ms Berejiklian was played to ICAC.
Mr Maguire tells Ms Berejiklian he has read some news in The Land that has given him the opportunity to seek an investor.
She replies that she "doesn't read that newspaper" and that he's the only one who tells her what's in it.
Ms Berejiklian then interrupted the hearing to say: "I apologise to The Land".