One Nation’s Mark Latham has told New South Wales parliament that disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire had a key to NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s north shore home for many years.
In a bombshell question time in the upper house, Latham asked the leader of the house, Don Harwin, whether Maguire had a key and cohabited.
“Given that Daryl Maguire had a key to the premier’s north shore home for many years, and while cohabiting came and went as he liked as recently as last month, doesn’t this demonstrate an intimate personal relationship and the premier’s failure under the ministerial code of conduct to declare all of Daryl Maguire’s business interests,” Latham asked.
Harwin took the question on notice.
Maguire is being investigated by the corruption watchdog over commissions he received from property developers for lobbying for their developments while he was a parliamentarian.
The inquiry heard that from at least 2015, and possibly as early as 2013, he was in “a close personal relationship” with the premier. The pair were caught on phone intercepts where Maguire can be heard talking about the progress of deals and payments he would receive.
Berejiklian has said she did nothing wrong and did not assist him in any way to achieve these deals. She said she believed his business interests were appropriately disclosed.
But there has been ongoing speculation about the nature of the relationship. Under the NSW ministerial code ministers must disclose the interests of those with whom they have an “intimate personal relationship”.
In question time, Berejiklian described the assertions made by Latham, and repeated by the opposition, as “factually incorrect”.
“Today I have read things that are practically and factually incorrect,” she said.
“If you respect the integrity process, then let it do its job. I was there as a witness only.”
Berejiklian answered the question despite an intervention by the speaker, Jonathan O’Dea, who said the question raised issues of subjudice and suppression orders by Icac.
Latham’s question came after Berejiklian did a round of media interviews over the weekend and earlier this week, which included revealing she hoped they would marry.
When asked by the Sunday Telegraph if she fell in love with Maguire, with whom she admits she only had public service work in common, the premier stiffened: “I did. That’s all I’ll say. I’m embarrassed now, but I did.”
But she also said he was “wasn’t my boyfriend” and she did not think the relationship was serious enough to warrant introducing Maguire to her family or friends.
Speaking to Ben Fordham on 2GB on Monday morning, the premier said her five-year relationship with Maguire – which she described at the Icac inquiry into his conduct in office as a “close personal relationship” – was not anything of note.
“It wasn’t a normal relationship,” Berejiklian said.
“He wasn’t my boyfriend. He wasn’t anything of note. I certainly hoped it would be ... [but] because I’m not the sort of person who’d been in a long-term relationship, I didn’t want to introduce him to my social circle.”
Berejiklian continued the relationship even after she was forced to seek Maguire’s resignation from parliament in 2018 when the Icac probe became public. She says the relationship ended on 16 August.
Later on Thursday, frontbencher Andrew Constance said the government would refer Latham and the opposition leader, Jodi McKay, to the privileges committee.
“It was a deliberate act by One Nation and Labor to smear the premier under privilege,” he told reporters. “It’s now incumbant upon these two members … to explain their source.”
Constance was asked how questions about Maguire potentially having a key to Berejiklian’s house could amount to “smear” but would only say the pair had to explain where the information came from.
McKay subsequently issued a statement insisting “my questions referred to matters widely reported in the news media prior to question time”.
“I categorically reject his (Constance’s) assertion that I was working with Mark Latham in this matter,” she said. “I have always maintained the premier knew what Daryl Maguire was doing and failed to report it to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.”