Gladys Berejiklian’s fight to stop “intimate” details of her secret relationship with Daryl Maguire being aired in public at ICAC has come undone.
It was the front-page interview everyone was talking about – Gladys Berejiklian revealing her “humiliation” over hopes she’d held to marry her dodgy ex-lover, who she had fallen in love with.
But it’s a confession that’s now emerged as one of the anti-corruption watchdog’s key arguments for why the former NSW Premier’s pleas for privacy should fall on deaf ears, because she’s already aired private details of her relationship in public.
And it’s an admission that could also hold the key to determining whether or not Ms Berejiklian has breached the ministerial code of conduct that requires her to declare “intimate” relationships.
At the opening of the hearings today, her barrister, Sophie Callan SC, asked for a non-publication order on intimate details of the former couple’s relationship that might emerge under questioning by counsel assisting Scott Robertson.
”He intends to deduce evidence which raises personal privacy concerns of the highest order for my client,’’ she said.
”In my submission, there is no public purpose served by plumbing the depths of the private life of my client, about intimate details of this relationship, which she has already stated in evidence was a close personal relationship, which she did not assess was of sufficient substance for it to be made public”
The application was also supported by lawyers acting for her ex-lover who said a private hearing was “more appropriate”.
But counsel assisting Ian Robertson said the application should be refused on the grounds that intimate details of the couple’s relationship were put on the public record by the former NSW Premier herself.
Mr Robertson then tendered a bundle of documents, including newspaper articles where Ms Berejiklian told reporters that she “loved” Mr McGuire and thought she was going to marry him.
”There was an article for example, that said something like I was going to marry him but I will never speak to him again or something along those lines,’’ he said.
”Ms Berejiklian has chosen, and I don’t say this critically at all, but she’s chosen to (make) some things in public with respect to her relationship.”
The 41-page dossier tendered to the commission, known as Exhibit 497 also includes a transcript of a radio interview with 2GB host Ben Fordham, and an interview with Kiss-FM’s Kyle Sandilands.
“He wasn’t my boyfriend, he wasn’t anything of, of note,’ she said in the interview with Fordham.
Asked if she had loved him, she replied: “Yeah but how many times are you in love with lots of people and, and it doesn’t end up in something more formal, so um, I certainly was.”
Last year, Ms Berejiklian told ICAC that the relationship wasn’t serious enough to require disclosure.
”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.
But speaking exclusively to The Sunday Telegraph just days later, Ms Berejiklian revealed she was “embarrassed and humiliated” over the fact she hoped to marry her ex-lover.
“I’m never going to speak to him again,” she said. “My life’s changed forever.
“I can formally say to people I’ve given up on love,” she said. “I’m just going to say I have always put my job first, rightly or wrongly, and that will now continue indefinitely.”
When asked if she fell in love with the former MP Daryl Maguire, the Premier confessed: “I did. That’s all I’ll say. I’m embarrassed now, but I did.”
It was a disclosure that legal experts leapt on, because it contradicts the careful wording the premier has previously used to describe the relationship.
The NSW ministerial code of conduct notes that the definition of a family member includes “any person with whom the Minister is in an intimate personal relationship”.
After a short recess on Thursday, Commissioner Ruth McColl refused the application for a partially private hearing, explaining: “It is not in the public interest that I make such an order”.
Shortly after, Daryl Maguire was asked a series of questions to establish, in the words of the counsel assisting the ICAC, the “hallmarks of the relationship”.
“(Did you have) a close emotional attachment?” the counsel assisting, Scott Robertson asked.
“Yes, we had our moments,” Mr Maguire replied.
“You loved her?”
“Yes,” Mr Maguire replied.
“As far as you could ascertain, she loved you as well?”
“Yes,” Mr Maguire replied.
Mr Maguire also agreed the pair would holiday together, and that they discussed “having a child” and getting married.
Mr Maguire was also asked if there was any “physical intimacy” between them.
“Yes,” he replied.
In the Sunday Telegraph interview in October 2020, Ms Berejiklian was asked if Mr Maguire had ever apologised for his conduct. “He’ll never have the chance because I’ll never speak to him again,” she said.
In today’s hearings, Mr Maguire admitted the relationship was once so close that he had a key to her house. He couldn’t remember if he ever gave it back.