The NSW Upper House has taken the serious step of referring the sitting Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The motion was carried 22 votes to 15.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Adam Searle said the Premier has questions to answer about her integrity and conduct as a public official.
“Labor takes this referral of the Premier to ICAC from the NSW Upper House – our Parliament’s house of review – with the utmost seriousness,” Mr Searle said.
“The office of the Premier is the highest office in NSW and the Premier must be beyond reproach.
“It’s time to shine a light on the questionable conduct that’s been taking place in the corridors of power under the Berejiklian Government.”
The NSW Upper House has referred the following to ICAC for investigation:
The repeated failure of the Premier to report any aspect of former Liberal Wagga Wagga MP, Mr Daryl Maguire’s conduct known to her during her “close personal relationship” with him on or at any time after 13 July 2018 (when Mr Maguire gave evidence before the ICAC in relation to Operation Dasha) up until 12 October 2020, the day on which the Premier gave evidence in public to the ICAC in Operation Keppel in breach of her legal duty under section 11 of the ICAC Act
Whether the Premier's “close personal relationship” with Mr Maguire was in fact “an intimate personal relationship” for the purposes of applying the NSW Ministerial Code of Conduct thereby giving rise to serious conflicts of interest prohibited by the NSW Ministerial Code of Conduct
Whether the Premier's “close personal relationship” with Mr Maguire otherwise gave rise to serious conflicts of interest prohibited by the NSW Ministerial Code of Conduct
The Premier's denial that she knew Mr Iwan Sunito, Crown Group Chairman and Group CEO, a major property developer, despite photographic and other evidence to the contrary
The transfer of the Greater Sydney Commission from the responsibility of the Minister for Planning to the responsibility of the Premier
The role of the Premier in the approval of the Stronger Communities Fund Tied Grants
The role of the Premier in the decision to destroy the physical working advice notes which she had written on containing the recommendation and reasons for $141.8 million of the grants
The role of the Premier in the decision to attempt to destroy by deleting the Word version of the working advice notes
The motion included additional amendments, including issues to do with Mr Maguire’s disclosures while a parliamentary secretary, matters arising from the Premier’s attendance at a fundraiser in Taree in 2018 and the allocation of money from the Premier’s Discretionary Fund to the Wagga Wagga electorate while Darryl Maguire was an MP, in circumstances where she did not disclose her relationship with Mr Maguire.
Mr Searle said: “There are too many unanswered questions that only the ICAC can answer. The Premier has tried to hide. But the people of NSW deserve better. It’s time for the truth to come out.”
The motion to refer the Premier to the ICAC will now be considered in the Legislative Assembly. The NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has advised today that the Premier Gladys Berejiklian has refused to appear before the Public Accountability Committee to answer questions about the rorting of the Stronger Communities Fund and the shredding of crucial documents by her office.
The NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay asked if Ms Berejiklian would give evidence to the Committee about the destruction of documents that showed the Premier personally approved the distribution of $141 million before the 2019 election. Coalition-held seats ultimately received 95 per cent of funds from the $252 million program.
Ms McKay said: “Gladys Berejiklian will do anything she can to avoid answering questions about why her office destroyed documents she signed approving the use of public money for political purposes.
“Communities across NSW missed out on funding they never had the chance to apply for. They missed out because Gladys Berejiklian decided to turn the Stronger Communities Fund into her campaign fund.
“If the Premier has nothing to hide, she will appear before the Public Accountability Committee,” Ms McKay said.