Waterhouse is ‘really pissed off now’: Maguire to Berejiklian
Another telephone intercept is played. Maguire speaks to Berejiklian again about the Waterhouse land issue.
Did you get that email from Louise Waterhouse?
You will, she’ll send you an email. She’s really pissed off now, you know, about the airport. They’re all passing the buck.
Berejiklian is asked whether she ever gave the issue “a tickle from the top”.
Berejiklian says “absolutely not”.
Icac breaks for a short 30-minute lunch.
The counsel assisting, Scott Robertson, is continuing to ask why she wouldn’t have forwarded Waterhouse’s emails to the appropriate agency?
I’m assuming that because it may not have been an issue which required the premier’s involvement.
The Icac is now working out when it will break for lunch.
The premier is not happy, asking whether proceedings can continue and be finalised because she has important matters to attend to.
Berejiklian is being pressed on what she did with emails from Waterhouse.
If I felt another area of government was dealing with it, I wouldn’t have felt the premier of the day should have dropped everything.
She said the email was “irregular”. It was not the usual way that people communicated with the premier, she said.
So why didn’t she forward it on to the appropriate agency?
Perhaps I thought it shouldn’t go any further.
Berejiklian is being asked what she did with emails from property developer and racing heiress Louise Waterhouse, requesting help from the government on her land near the western Sydney airport. Maguire was being paid to help Waterhouse.
Berejiklian said she has had her office look for those emails and said no action was taken in relation to them.
My office advised me that they could not find any record that I had forwarded any of these emails on or that my office had in any way responded.
Maguire told Berejiklian of ‘big problem’ of developer Louise Waterhouse
Berejiklian is being asked about her process for meeting with people.
I would never conduct a meeting without the presence of my staff and without a formal schedule. However, I did allow pop-ins. Members wanted to introduce me to things or things came up urgently.
Was she aware of attempts by Maguire to have her intervene and help Waterhouse with her land sale?
Not apart from what you’ve already put to me in the private meeting.
A telephone intercept was played between Maguire and Berejiklian.
Maguire tells her that he “had coffee with Louise Waterhouse”.
Oh yeah, how she’s going?
Maguire tells her that Waterhouse has a “big problem” with the sale of her land. She wanted road access to her block of land.
Maguire says he involved NSW public servants and staff from Berejiklian’s office in a meeting to help Waterhouse.
They just wont do anything. So I got Roads, I got Jock to come down, and I got one bloke from your place there. And I got them to put their heads together and said, ‘look why can’t you fix this?’ … Honestly, no one wants to do anything.
Maguire also indicated to Berejiklian that an email would be coming to her office from Waterhouse.
Berejiklian said she had assumed that Maguire was making full and proper disclosures of his interests and financial dealings, as required.
My assumption was that he was doing everything properly.
Berejiklian said she “would not have hesitated” to report his actions if she had any inkling that Maguire was engaged in wrongdoing.
I had no reason to believe I had to take an interest in what was his interest, his matter, and I also would have assumed that he would have made the proper disclosures.
She is reminded that Maguire told her he was about to make a lot of money out of a deal out of Badgerys Creek (the site of the western Sydney airport), a project that was of high importance to the NSW government.
The Icac commissioner Ruth McColl is grilling the premier about her position. She reminds the premier that she had “a number of conversations with Mr Maguire in which he explained to you that someone called William was doing a deal at Badgerys Creek, if that deal was affected, he wouldn’t have to worry about his financial position, you know that his financial position was that he was in debt to the tune of about $1.5m”.
Berejiklian then learned Maguire was about to make a vast sum of money at Badgerys Creek, which would help him with his debts.
Were you by this stage starting to be concerned that Mr Maguire was talking to you about a deal in which he would make a profit as a member of parliament out of a large-scale investment with which the NSW government was concerned?
Berejiklian says Maguire was “always talking big” about deals. She says a lot of what he said was “fanciful”.
I wouldn’t have registered a concern at that stage, because he was always talking big about deals and they always seemed to fall through.
‘You don’t need to know about that bit’: Maguire to Berejiklian
Icac has heard that Maguire told Berejiklian if the “Badgerys Creek stuff” was done, he’d have enough money to pay off his debts. Badgerys Creek is the location of the western Sydney airport.
Maguire also intimated that his financial position would be a factor in his decision to resign.
We’ve just heard a phone tap between Berejiklian and Maguire.
Maguire tells Berejiklian:
William tells me we’ve done our deal, so hopefully that’s about half of all that gone.
I don’t need to know about that bit.
No you don’t. You do not. Anyway so it’s all good news, we’re moving ahead.
Berejiklian is asked by Icac counsel assisting, Scott Robertson, why she had said that she didn’t “need to know about that bit”.
She is asked whether she was trying to limit her exposure to details of his dealings. Berejiklian said if she had felt there was “wrongdoing on the part of Mr Maguire” she would have reported it.
If I did regard anything as a concern, I would have reported it or dealt with, and I want to make that very clear.
What we know so far
It’s been a staggering morning at Icac, where the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, is giving evidence to an inquiry relating to Daryl Maguire, a disgraced NSW MP who left parliament in 2018 following a corruption scandal.
The Icac has previously heard that Maguire stood to gain at least $690,000 for helping to “grease the wheels” in a land sale involving racing heiress Louise Waterhouse and a Chinese development company, Country Gardens, in 2017.
The parcel of land was located near the proposed western Sydney airport development. Maguire was still a sitting MP at the time.
Berejiklian was forced to appear after it emerged Maguire had given out her direct email address to Waterhouse.
This morning, we’ve heard staggering evidence from Berejiklian:
- Berejiklian has told Icac she was in “a close personal relationship” with the former Wagga Wagga MP during the scandal that led to his resignation. The relationship was kept private from parliamentary colleagues, she has told Icac, because she is “a very private person” and “didn’t feel the relationship had sufficient substance to be made public”.
- Berejiklian referred to Maguire as her “numero uno”, a remark she said was in reference to his importance in her personal life.
- That Maguire was in considerable debt – he said it amounted to $1.5m – and told Berejiklian of that financial position. Berejiklian said she “didn’t care” about his financial position.
- Berejiklian said she wasn’t aware of any specific details of Maguire’s outside business dealings.
We’re about three hours into an explosive hearing at the Indepdent Commission Against Corruption with the New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian.
This morning we’ve heard the bombshell revelation that Berejiklian was in “a close personal relationship” with the former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire from about 2015 until after he resigned from parliament in 2018.
The NSW Icac is investigating allegations Maguire misused his position as an MP and parliamentary secretary to improperly gain a benefit for himself or for G8way International, a company he “effectively controlled”.
We’ll keep you across the evidence emerging from Icac throughout the afternoon.