Lunchtime recap: what we’ve learned so far
OK let’s do a quick lunchtime recap.
Here’s what we learned this morning:
- Icac has referred the “inadvertent” publication of an unredacted transcript of yesterday’s private testimony to the Office of the Inspector of the ICAC, the Sydney barrister Bruce McClintock SC. The Icac commissioner, Ruth McColl SC, apologised to the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and Daryl Maguire over the incident. Berejiklian’s barrister, Arthur Moses SC, was ropable about the publication this morning. He called it a “violation of my client’s privacy and her security”.
- At a press conference, Berejiklian said she had been “let down” by Icac over the publication. “Suffice to say it has not been pleasant,” she told reporters. She again stood by her evidence to Icac, saying “hand on heart, I did nothing wrong”.
- In his evidence, the former Wagga Wagga MP agreed he told Berejiklian some things about his business dealings, but “limited the information” because telling her too much would put her “in a really difficult position”. He also agreed there were certain things Berejiklian “didn’t want to know” about his business dealings.
- At another point during the hearing, Maguire said he didn’t want Berejiklian to know things that wouldn’t “reflect well on her”. He said he didn’t know why he had spoken in “code” during one conversation with the premier, when he referred to a property developer friend as his friend “with the polished head”.
- Maguire was pressed on a conversation with the racing heir Louise Waterhouse in which he said “all that stuff is Icac-able”. He agreed he was “concerned” that if the “extent” of his involvement in a western Sydney land deal became public it “might lead to questions being asked” about whether it was appropriate.
Arthur Moses SC is up again. He’s suggesting that Icac may have inadvertently published the Premier’s phone number yesterday. There’s some discussion about whether or not that is indeed the case. And we’re told it’s already been taken down. But out of “an abundance of caution” McColl puts a suppression order on the number.
And that’s lunch! Could someone maybe bring me a sandwich or a coffee or like a large container of aspirin?
As an aside, we’re talking about a dinner at the Marigold restaurant on George Street in Sydney.
Turns out Maguire’s a fan:
Maguire’s friend ‘with the polished head’. Former MP tells Icac he can’t remember why he spoke to Berejiklian in ‘code’
Another intercept is played. We first heard this one on Monday. In it, Maguire tells Berejiklian he “introduced my little friend” and adds: “You know my little friend?”
“Not really. I don’t need to know,” Berejiklian replies.
Maguire refers to his friend “with the polished head”, then says, “you don’t need to know what for”.
Maguire confirms to Icac that he was referring to Joseph Alha, his Sydney property developer friend. Robertson asks why he was speaking in code to Berejiklian.
Maguire says he doesn’t know.
Robertson asks Maguire why he said: “you don’t need to know what for”.
It was on a need to know basis.
Maguire says he didn’t want to “burden her with any detail she didn’t need to know”.
But Robertson wants to know whether that was the extent of it. Or, did Maguire not want Berejiklian to know information which she might need to take action on. That is, alert someone about what Maguire was doing.
My best recollection or my answer to you is that there were things happening as you know around the place [that] I just didn’t think she needed to know whatever it was were talking about it didn’t need to be said.
Robertson keeps going. Did Maguire not want to “burden Berejiklian with detail” that wasn’t relevant, or did he not want her to have information which “might not reflect well on you, or perhaps her”.
I’d suggest her. That didn’t reflect well on her.
Maguire tells Icac he avoided ‘burdening’ premier ‘with detail’ of affairs
Robertson is asking Maguire about the offer to join the UWE board. Maguire says it was “scant on detail” but either a board position or consulting job had been discussed around February 2018. Maguire had consulted a parliamentary ethics adviser about the offer. It never progressed, though, Maguire says.
We then have a long exchange between commissioner Ruth McColl SC and Maguire about UWE, the structure of its board and difficulties it was having with a Chinese-government linked shareholder.
UWE were talking about opening a factory in Wagga Wagga. It would have meant about 30 jobs, Maguire says, and he “thought it was exciting”.
I actively worked hard to try and get an outcome for them so they could build more factories.
But Robertson asks whether it was “right to say though that in 2018 you were hoping at least in post parliamentary career you were hoping to have some kind of business relationship with Mr Liu?”
I don’t recall there was a particular offer we’d had brief conversations about joining a board, some consultancy, it wasn’t deep in detail it was merely talk.
We’re played an intercept from May 2018 in which Maguire tells Berejiklian that “Jimmy” has “made me an offer”. Berejiklian replies: “You stay away please.”
Robertson suggests to Maguire that on the basis of that call Maguire was “at least keeping [Berejiklian] informed as to kind of things you were thinking about”.
Robertson suggests Berejiklian’s response suggested she was saying “that is a matter for you to work out”.
In relation to your communication with Ms Berejiklian around that time in 2018 when you’re trying to set yourself up … you gave her some information at least in a general way but there was a line by which you would not give her too many details.
My best recollection would be yes.
Robertson asks whether Maguire was trying to avoid putting her in a difficult position.
I’d call it burdening her with detail.
Another intercept. Maguire and Berejiklian again. It’s a long call in which they’re discussing his financial difficulties and plans for the future. At some point in the call Maguire tells Berejiklian that “Country Garden has fucking fallen through”.
Is that a reference to Country Garden no longer being linked to a purchase to the Waterhouse development, Robertson asks.
“Yes,” Maguire eventually says.
He also makes a reference to “Jimmy” in the call. Is that “Jimmy” a reference to Jimmy Liu managing director at UWE, a company Maguire was seeking a board position with. He agrees.
Robertson asks Maguire whether as of February 2018 call he was concerned about his financial position and future. Yes, Maguire says.
We hear another intercept. It’s Maguire and Waterhouse again.
He tells her about the meeting he’s arranged with Sarah Hill from the Greater Sydney Commission. She asks whether she should involve the local MP. He tells her no.
Back in the room, Robertson puts it to Maguire that he told her not to involve anyone else “in part so you could get the credit”.
And he wanted that credit, Robertson says, because he hoped that if the deal went ahead Waterhouse or someone else would “look after you”.
“I mean financially,” Robertson clarifies.
We’re played another phone intercept, which we’ve previously heard, in which Maguire tells Berejiklian about a dinner with William Luong.
Luong, remember, was helping Waterhouse find a buyer or investor for her property. He had told Maguire he would receive a commission if a sale occurred.
The point here is that Robertson is trying to press Maguire on why he only referred to him as “William” to Berejiklian. Does that mean he had previously introduced him to the premier.
I can’t ever recall introducing [Berejiklian to] William Luong but I may have introduced him through name recognition at some point … talking abut William Luong on a number of occasions she may have understood who I meant.
Now Robertson is asking Maguire whether he raised the letter with Berejiklian.
I can’t recall if I did or I didn’t.
So we listen to another intercept from 15 November 2017, this time between Maguire and Berejiklian.
Did you get an email from Louise Waterhouse?
You will. She’ll send you an email. She’s really pissed off now so um, about the you know, the, the airport.
Robertson asks Maguire if that refreshes his memory about raising the letter with Bereijklian.
It does, he says.
Robertson asks whether Berejiklian did anything about the issues raised in the email. Did she give it, he asks, “a tickle from the top”.
‘All that stuff is Icacable’, Maguire tells Waterhouse in phone call intercepted by Icac
We hear another intercept from the same day in which Maguire gives Berejiklian’s email address. First, Maguire tells Waterhouse to say he gave her the email address. Then she changes tact: “You probably better off not to dob me in it.”
Well the fact all that stuff is um, Icacable … and GIPA
Freedom of information or whatever.
All this rubbish they go on with.
Robertson asks Maguire whether he was “concerned” that if the “extent” of his involvement in the western Sydney property became public it “might lead to questions being asked” about whether it was appropriate.