#AceNewsReport – Nov.07: The Obeids bought a family farm up in the Bylong Valley. They seem to have discovered that there was coal under the soil. And they set out to manipulate that… it was just like a windfall profit.” Former Counsel Assisting, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)….
#AceDailyNews says according to a Four Corners Investigation Obeid Inc Report: Today, his name is a byword for corruption and abuse of office. Just over two weeks ago, he was sentenced to jail for a second time, after being found guilty alongside one of his sons of conspiring to rig a lucrative mining tender to benefit the family.
Obeid Inc, reported by Angus Grigg, goes to air on Monday 8th November at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 9th at 1.00pm and Wednesday 10th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
“I am satisfied that the objective seriousness of the conspiracy was one of the highest order.” Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton
The name Eddie Obeid once inspired fear. As a Labor factional boss, he was the ultimate backroom kingmaker.
“He didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to fraternise…To me, his business was done behind closed doors.” Former NSW MP
The corruption watchdog’s investigations into the Obeid dealings exposed the inner workings of the family business model.
“The Obeids operation is simple, straightforward, and it’s used over and over and over again…They love a little trustee, a discretionary trust in which these people who are cooperative agree to hold benefits on trust for the Obeid’s family.” Former Counsel Assisting, ICAC
But the story does not end with Eddie Obeid behind bars: A staggering $30 million dollars from that criminal deal is still in hands of Eddie Obeid and his family companies, and they owe millions more in court costs and unpaid taxes. On Monday, Four Corners reveals how business is still booming for the Obeids and funding their lavish lifestyle.
“They’re still in private schools, they’re still in luxury houses, they’re still living their affluent lifestyle. It doesn’t appear to have had any negative impact at all. As far as I can tell…it’s just business as usual.” Star witness
For months Four Corners has been on the financial trail and has uncovered secret business dealings which could reap the Obeids millions more.
“What if I told you the Obeid family, that is Eddie Obeid and his children are behind that?” Angus Grigg, reporter…..
#AceNewsReport – Nov.02: The watchdog is considering whether she turned a blind eye to alleged corrupt conduct despite an obligation to report suspicions: Ms Berejiklian addressed the media after she finished giving evidence today: She reiterated that every decision she ever made was in the “public’s interest” and said the inquiry had been “difficult” for her: I intend to get on with my life and I want to thank everybody for their support,” she said: It has been my honour and privilege to serve you in my role in public life………..Earlier, Ms Berejiklian denied lying to her then-chief of staff about her secret relationship with Mr Maguire being “historical”.
Under questioning, Ms Berejiklian agreed news of the relationship would have been “politically explosive”, but she claimed whether the “on-again-off-again” liaison was ongoing while she was premier was irrelevant.
Sarah Cruickshank last week told the ICAC she clearly remembered a phone call in July 2018 in which Ms Berejiklian said her connection to Mr Maguire ended before she took the state’s top job.
“That’s not my recollection, that’s not what I remember,” Ms Berejiklian said today.
“I remember telling her how close we were, the time that we’d spent together.”
“I don’t think that would have made a difference whatsoever,” she said.
Counsel assisting the inquiry Scott Robertson repeatedly quizzed Ms Berejiklian on the exact timeframe of her relationship with Mr Maguire, before applying to enter a temporarily closed session to “further explore this matter with the witness”.
“I wish to do it by reference to some material available to me, which in my respectful submission, is more appropriately dealt with in private than in public,” he said.
The former premier also told the inquiry she believed Mr Maguire’s requests for her to use a private phone or encrypted apps reflected a concern for privacy.
The commission has heard Mr Maguire told Ms Berejiklian he received a summons to appear before a separate ICAC inquiry in July 2018 in advance of his appearance.
Between the time he informed her of the summons and his appearance before the commission, Mr Maguire sent Ms Berejiklian a link to the app WeChat.
“You need to get a private phone,” he added in intercepted text messages.
She asked if everything was OK and Mr Maguire made a mysterious statement about having “more info and data than them”.
“I wouldn’t have taken it as any more than privacy issues,” Ms Berejiklian said of his requests.
Ms Berejiklian repeatedly insisted she trusted Mr Maguire when he told her he had done nothing wrong and said she “certainly” knew she had done nothing wrong herself.
Mr Maguire also wrote: “They can read texts but not the little green man, it leaves no trace.”
Asked whether the “green man” may have been a reference to the green WeChat icon, Ms Berejiklian said she was unsure and never used the app.
During the 52-minute phone call in which he told her of the summons, Mr Maguire also referenced property developers and making introductions.
Ms Berejiklian insisted she had no knowledge of his dealings.
“That’s what I was told, doesn’t mean that I absorbed, cared or assumed or knew anything else,” she said.
Mr Maguire made admissions about being involved in a money-making exercise linked to the Canterbury Council during his 2018 evidence.
Ms Berejiklian said she was “mortified” and “shocked” because it was “not, in my opinion at the time, within his character”.
“The shock of what happened did make me question everything,” she said.
But Ms Berejiklian said while she suspected something was “awry” and Mr Maguire may have lied to her, she did not suspect corrupt conduct and assumed he was unintentionally caught up in something.
This was despite her warning to him, during the earlier tapped phone call, against associating with “dodgy people”.
“He told me that there was nothing to worry about, and it was almost a mistake or he’d been caught up in something unawares, as opposed to having a close association with them.”
Mr Maguire was under a “cloud”, she said, but she did not “join the dots” with previous information he had told her about a Badgerys Creek land deal.
“Was the fact that you didn’t make a report about Mr Maguire influenced by the feelings that you had for Mr Maguire at the time?” Mr Robertson asked.
“No. No. Because I sacked him,” Ms Berejiklian replied.
“It was based on the fact that I didn’t feel that I knew anything. I didn’t know any details. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t suspect him of corruption.”
Under cross-examination by her own barrister, Sophie Callan SC, Ms Berejiklian told the ICAC members of parliament contacted her with problems to be fixed “all too frequently” and contacted her in “a myriad of ways”.
“That was my style of leadership,” she said.
“Members of my team, of the government and even other members of parliament knew that I was accessible and there to support them in issues they wanted to progress for the electorates.”
Ms Callan then put to Ms Berejiklian one of the commission’s central questions for consideration: that as treasurer and then premier she had a private interest, namely her close personal relationship, which objectively had the potential to influence the performance of her public duties.
“I completely rejected that suggestion,” she replied.
Ms Berejiklian said the relationship was always separate to her public responsibilities.
“What I felt for him was completely separate to what I did in terms of executing my responsibilities, and I stand by that ever so strongly.”
Ms Callan then asked: “Did you feel your emotional attachment to him influenced the performance of your public duties?”
“Not at all,” the former premier replied.
The public hearings have now adjourned to a date to be fixed.
All parties will have the opportunity to make submissions before the ICAC begins to prepare a report and findings.
#AceNewsReport – Oct.31: She never made decisions that would favour anyone but the people of New South Wales. She had never suspected that the man with whom she was in a secret relationship had ever engaged in corrupt conduct.
#AceDailyNews says according to Australia News Media on UPDATE on Gladys Berejiklian’s Case at the ICAC as media blitz backfired and she was defiant and utterly unrepentant as she did not recall having any particular interest in a government grant awarded to the Australian Clay Target Association, a project long pursued by her secret partner, the former member for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire listen to the videos on this post and decide for yourselves …..
She did not give any special attention to Mr Maguire’s projects, she said, telling ICAC that he was treated no differently to any other member of her government.
Gladys Berejiklian is a disciplined, practised politician who rarely strays from her talking points. But the witness box in ICAC is a very different beast to the floor of parliament or a TV press conference. There is an art to answering questions in these formats.
At a press conference in August, the then-premier told 7.30 it was a “ridiculous” proposition to suggest that she intervened in a grant assessment.
But that kind of response doesn’t fly at ICAC. The NSW government has empowered the agency to compel witnesses to answer questions. Barristers are sticklers for yes or no responses.
On no less than six occasions, ICAC Commissioner Ruth McColl pulled up Ms Berejiklian for not answering questions, or for drifting off into speech-making.
There was plenty for counsel assisting to rake over. Phone intercept after phone intercept was played, detailing conversations between Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire about funding in his electorate. Some were explosive.
A key allegation being explored by ICAC is whether Ms Berejiklian breached public trust by failing to disclose her relationship with Mr Maguire while facilitating the awarding of two grants in his electorate.
In a phone call intercepted less than a month before Mr Maguire’s reputation was shredded at his first ICAC appearance in 2018, Ms Berejiklian casually tells him that she’s secured $170 million in funding for Wagga Base Hospital.
“I’ve just fixed that one,” says Gladys Berejiklian. In the same call, she tells Daryl Maguire she secured the funding “in five minutes” after speaking to then-treasurer, now Premier, Dominic Perrottet.
“I just spoke to Dom and I said put the 140 [million dollars] in the budget.
“He just does what I ask him to.”
When Gladys Berejiklian was asked by counsel assisting whether she would have made a similar intervention for another MP, she replied: “Yes, I’m confident I would have.”
In an intercepted call the previous year, Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire discuss his pet project to revamp the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. During this phone call, Gladys Berejiklian complains about a government bureaucrat working on the funding proposal.
“I can’t stand that guy,” says the former premier. “His head will be gone soon.”
But Daryl Maguire objects: “Not until he fixes my conservatorium.”
Gladys Berejiklian responds: “Alright, good, tell him to fix it and then after he fixes it, I’m sacking him.”
The most painful questions were about the status of their relationship. It bordered on Shakespearean. For two people who loved each other to be called to a corruption hearing on consecutive days must have been excruciating.
Ms Berejiklian’s barrister did her best to try and stop these questions from being asked in a public hearing, requesting that these matters be canvassed in private.
This was rejected. And in making the case against it, counsel assisting the inquiry Scott Robertson argued that it may be that Ms Berejiklian in some respects exposed herself to at least some of this scrutiny.
When the first sensational revelation emerged that Gladys Berejiklian had been in a close and personal relationship with the former Wagga MP last October, the then-premier embarked on a media blitz.
Splashed across the front page of The Daily Telegraph were the words, “I loved him … but I’ll never speak to him again”. Mr Robertson questioned whether this was consistent with what she had said about the relationship not being of sufficient status to warrant disclosure. He said that this was one of the reasons why he intended to explore the relationship in public hearings now.
At one point, Ms Berejiklian was presented with a text message that she sent Daryl Maguire, telling him: “You are my family.” But under questioning, she maintained that he wasn’t a family member in any sense that would require disclosure. Round and round the inquiry went, into what exactly Ms Berejiklian considered the relationship was and wasn’t.
She said she had doubts about how committed he was. She pointed out that they did not share a bank account and she never introduced him to her family. So the relationship did not need to be disclosed. She said it had never occurred to her that the relationship should be factored in when making funding decisions in his electorate.
Mr Maguire had no such indecision. This week, he told the Commission he loved Ms Berejiklian and that she loved him. They discussed marriage. He had a key to her house.
When asked whether he ever returned Ms Berejiklian’s key, he looked away, pausing for a long moment, before saying he hadn’t. It was a painful moment. Ms Berejiklian went on to say that she had now changed the locks.
There is a purpose to all of this. As Mr Robertson told the inquiry, it goes to the heart of whether Ms Berejiklian breached the high standards set for ministers — standards that she set for herself, as she oversaw the ministerial code when she was premier. According to Mr Robertson, the status of the relationship is crucial in determining whether it warranted disclosure. And if it did, whether it amounted to a breach of the rules.
The former premier said that if she had the chance again, she would still not have disclosed the relationship to her government colleagues.
ICAC does not run trials. Mr Robertson reminded us this week that what ICAC does is investigate: it is charged with holding public hearings in public when it considers the public interest in holding them outweighs the interest of a person’s privacy.
Bodies like ICAC have been described as being part of the fourth branch of government: the integrity branch. Former chief justice of the NSW Supreme Court James Spigelman wrote that the basis for the existence of this branch “is the fundamental necessity to ensure that corruption, in a broad sense of that term, is eliminated from government”.
That function was on full display this week and into the next at these public hearings, as Ms Berejiklian continues her evidence on Monday
#AceDailyNews says according to MailOnline (Australia) Reports; Gladys Berejiklian, leader is regretting Kyle and Jackie O, Ben Fordham interviews, this is despite having changed her door locks after they split up as he had a key that had not been returned.
Gladys Berejiklian breaks her silence as she arrives at ICAC
It comes after a stressed looking former premier arrived for her highly anticipated appearance at the corruption inquiry into her secret love affair with Daryl Maguire.
Ms Berejiklian said that she did not ask Mr Maguire to return the key to her house that she had given him. But she has since changed her locks.
ICAC Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl, SC, who is presiding over the inquiry, interrupted Ms Berejiklian’s evidence at one point to say: ‘Could I ask you to answer the question and not make speeches?’
Within a minute Ms McColl interrupted again to say ‘Ms Berejiklian, I do not think you are heeding the message I just communicated to you.’
‘I appreciate that. Thank you,’ Ms Berejiklian replied.
When Ms Berejiklian briefly had difficulty with a screen before her, Mr Robertson intervened to fix it. ‘Counsel assisting and IT support apparently,’ he said.
Mr Robertson asked Ms Berejiklian about her understanding of proceedings.
‘Are you having some difficulty with my questions? I am trying to frame them in a precise way as well so you can answer them yes or no.
‘Are you having some difficulty understanding my questions,’ he asked.
Ms Berejiklian replied: ‘Mr Robertson, I’m just concerned that you are skewing the fact that all of my colleagues rightfully deserve my attention and my advocacy and my support for things that mattered in their communities.’
‘Skewing or not, you understand that your role as a witness is to direct yourself to the questions that are being asked, you understand that?’ Mr Robertson responded.
‘Yes, I do,’ she replied.
‘You have senior counsel to represent you who have an opportunity to ask for clarification. You understand that, don’t you?’
‘I do, yes.’
Outside the hearing, Ms Berejiklian said she would tell the Independent Commission Against Corruption she will ‘strenuously stress’ that she has always put the interests and her ‘love and support’ for the people of NSW first.
Her day at ICAC has finally come – after six months of private hearings, two weeks of public hearings and 500 pieces of evidence.
Speaking to the media, she thanked the public ‘for the amazing support’
‘It’s been very very deeply appreciated at a very difficult month. I’m looking forward to fulfilling my obligations and appearing before this inquiry.
‘I will strenuously stress again – as I have every day of my life in public office – my love and support for the people of this great state has always been the forefront of any decisions I’ve made in public life.’
Gladys Berejiklian reveals that the drama has made her more human
Ms Berejiklian said she had not been listening to proceedings at ICAC over the past two weeks.
‘All I will say is my love and passion for everything that is great about New South Wales remains the case. I’ve been buoyed by the public support I’ve seen. Every decision I’ve taken in public life has always been in the public’s best interests, and the interests of the people of this state.’
But she will be regretting having spoken so openly last year about her ‘close personal relationship’ with Daryl Maguire a year ago after she admitted the disgraced MP was her secret boyfriend at a previous Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.
Shortly after shocking the state with her revelation, the then-NSW Premier seemingly spoke candidly about her doomed love affair with Mr Maguire with 2GB’s Ben Fordham, radio presenters Kyle and Jackie O and Sunday Telegraph gossip columnist Annette Sharp.
The interviews appeared to engender public sympathy for Ms Berejiklian – but they came back to bite her on Thursday when the counsel assisting the ICAC, Scott Robertson, threw them back in her face with devastating results.
On Thursday morning, Ms Berejiklian’s legal team launched a last ditch application to have evidence from Mr Maguire kept private at the corruption inquiry into the former premier.
Sophie Callan, a barrister acting for Ms Berejiklian, told Ms McColl that ‘hallmarks or indications at the level of commitment’ in the relationship with Mr Maguire should not be aired publicly.
ICAC counsel Scott Robertson said the application should be refused. ‘A public inquiry is to be held in public,’ he said.
He added that having a private session would risk it ‘becoming a public inquiry in name only’.
Mr Robertson argued that the hearing should be able to publicly delve into the nature of the relationship between Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire because the former premier openly gave interviews to the press after a previous ICAC hearing a year ago about how she planned to marry him.
What Gladys Berejiklian said before outside ICAC on Friday morning
‘Can I just say good morning everybody. Thank you for the amazing support the public has given to me. It’s been very very deeply appreciated at a very difficult month.
‘I’m looking forward to fulfilling my obligations and appearing before this inquiry.
‘I will strenuously stress again – as I have every day of my life in public office – my love and support for the people of this great state has always been the forefront of any decisions I’ve made in public life.
‘I haven’t been listening to proceedings.
‘All I will say is my love and passion for everything that is great about New South Wales remains the case. I’ve been buoyed by the public support I’ve seen.
‘Every decision I’ve taken in public life has always been in the public’s best interests, and the interests of the people of this state.
Ms Berejiklian told the Kyle and Jackie O radio show that while revealing details about her personal relationship had been ‘humiliating and embarrassing’, it had made her feel ‘more human’.
‘I’m actually starting to feel even stronger after it all… It’s made me feel more human and vulnerable than I’ve ever felt before,’ she told the breakfast show hosts.
Responding to Sandilands’ question about whether she had ever ‘dabbled’ in a same sex relationship, Ms Berejiklian said: ‘I haven’t and I didn’t. Not that there is anything wrong with that.’
Sandilands said he understood why she’d want to keep the relationship private, given ‘secret sex is the best sex’, but the premier was hesitant to comment on the intimate details of her former relationship.
Ms Berejiklian told 2GB’s Ben Fordham she lacked experience in intimate relationships after dedicating so much of her life to politics.
‘It’s fair to say that on average I would probably have less experience than the average person, but that’s an excruciating thing to talk about,’ she said.
‘I’ve always been focused on my job and my work and my family and I haven’t really had time for a lot else to be honest…
‘It wasn’t a normal relationship, he wasn’t my boyfriend. I certainly hoped he would be, but it wasn’t sufficiently substantial. I didn’t want to introduce anyone to my close network unless I knew,’ she said.
‘I was certainly in love with him… but no, he wasn’t my boyfriend.’
Ms Berejiklian told the Sunday Telegraph that ‘I’m still trying to process it. I feel like it’s someone else living this … It’s like I’m the main protagonist in a movie. It’s like I’m the feature and the film is going to end and my life is going to go back to normal but it will never be normal again.’
‘It was hard to define because it wasn’t of a sufficient status,’ she says ambiguously. ‘It wasn’t a traditional type of relationship.’
In a general press conference, she said ‘Without question I stuffed up in my personal life and I accept that.
‘It’s very difficult for someone in my position to have a private and personal life and I’m very upset at what has transpired. But I want to make this assurance to the people of New South Wales I have always put the public first.’
She added: ‘I want to state at the outset that had I known then what I know now clearly I would not have made those personal decisions that I did.
‘I trusted someone that I’d known for a long time and I feel really – really let down. I trusted him for a long time.’
There was little ambiguity at ICAC yesterday, when Mr Maguire gave evidence that he and the then premier had discussed getting married and having a child.
Perhaps if Ms Berejiklian had left her words at ICAC speak for themselves and not done media interviews afterwards in an attempt to save her job as NSW premier, the public might not have found out yesterday just how close and personal her relationship with Mr Maguire actually was.
So Gladys Berejiklian is saying she was in a sexual relationship with Daryl Maguire for over 5 years, in love with him, spoke about marriage & children but it was a nothing relationship she didn't rate worth telling anyone while he was getting corrupt commissions #auspol#icacpic.twitter.com/fClmQuV86d
— Kangaroo Court of Australia – Shane Dowling (@Kangaroo_Court) October 29, 2021