Berejiklian to front ICAC inquiry on Friday

Former Premier Gladys Berejiklian promised her then-lover she would 'throw money' at the seat of Wagga Wagga, in order to win a by-election triggered by corruption allegations against him.

Berejiklian to front ICAC inquiry on Friday

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian promised her then-lover she would "throw money" at the seat of Wagga Wagga, in order to win a by-election triggered by corruption allegations against him.

ICAC today played a phone tap of the conversation, as Daryl Maguire gave evidence at its ongoing inquiry into Ms Berejiklian.

"I'll throw money at Wagga Wagga, don't you worry about that," Ms Berejiklian can be heard telling Mr Maguire.

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"Go and give them a stadium," he said in a second tap.

"I'll do that, too, don't worry," she replied.

"Well, the bureaucrats knocked it all out," he said.

"Yes, but I can overrule them," Ms Berejiklian said.

The pair were speaking about "pork barrelling" - using taxpayer money to try to hold the seat, following his resignation from Parliament, in 2018, after a separate corruption inquiry.

At the time, they were in a secret relationship, which Mr Maguire said started as early as 2013, and didn't end until last year.

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Daryl Maguire gives evidence at Gladys Berejiklian ICAC hearing

ICAC Counsel Assisting put to him, that they had a "close emotional attachment".

"You loved her," Scott Robertson asked.

"Yes," Mr Maguire replied.

"She loved you as well?"

"Yes," Mr Maguire said.

Mr Maguire told the Commission they holidayed together, and that he had a key to her Sydney home, even saying they spoke about getting married, and having a baby.

Daryl Maguire is today facing the ICAC hearing into his former partner, Gladys Berejiklian.

Before his evidence could get underway, Ms Berejiklian's lawyers fought to keep evidence about their relationship private.

Sophie Callan SC argued publicly airing the details would cause "humiliation and harm" to Ms Berejiklian.

"There is no public purpose served by plumbing the depths of the private life of my client about intimate details of this relationship," Ms Callan said.

But, ICAC overruled, saying it was necessary to examine the nature of the relationship, in order to determine if it put Ms Berejiklian in a position of "conflict".

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ICAC Gladys Berejiklian Daryl Maguire relationship

The hearing has heard evidence from several staffers, bureaucrats and colleagues that the then-Treasurer took a special interest in the awarding of a $5.5 million grant to a gun club in Wagga Wagga in 2017, when Mr Maguire was still the member.

Mr Maguire himself admits he was a "pain in the arse" when it came to lobbying Ministers for money to be spent in his electorate, even Ms Berejiklian herself.

"I would have encouraged her to take a close interest in it," he admitted.

The Commission will hear evidence from Ms Berejiklian on Friday.

Source : 9 News More   

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French President Macron calls Morrison, ending long subs deal silence

The French President also urged Australia to adopt "ambitious" emissions reduction targets at next week's global climate conference in Glasgow and commit to ending coal production and consumption.

French President Macron calls Morrison, ending long subs deal silence

French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken with Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the first time since the shock scrapping of a $90 billion dollar submarine deal, telling his Australian counterpart the decision "broke the relationship of trust" between the nations.

The European leader also urged Australia to adopt "ambitious" emissions reduction targets at next week's global climate conference in Glasgow and commit to ending coal production and consumption. 

"President Macron recalled that Australia's unilateral decision to scale back the French-Australian strategic partnership by putting an end to the ocean-class submarine programme in favour of another as-yet unspecified project broke the relationship of trust between our two countries," a French readout of a Thursday phone call between the two leaders said.

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"The situation of the French businesses and their subcontractors, including Australian companies, affected by this decision will be given our utmost attention. 

"It is now up to the Australian Government to propose tangible actions that embody the political will of Australia's highest authorities to redefine the basis of our bilateral relationship and continue joint action in the Indo-Pacific."

The Prime Minister's Office said he was happy to speak with his French counterpart in a "candid discussion on the bilateral relationship".

"The Prime Minister looks forward to future collaborations on our shared interests, particularly in the Indo-Pacific," it said, in a statement.

"The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to inform the President about Australia's commitment to deliver net zero emissions by 2050."

Australia's decision to scrap the major French deal in favour of the future purchase of nuclear submarines made available through three-way tie-up with the United States and the United Kingdom provoked fury in Paris and among its European allies.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

French officials labelled the decision, conveyed just hours before the global announcement of the AUKUS pact, as a "stab in the back" and Mr Macron immediately recalled his ambassadors to the US and Australia.

Mr Macron and US President Joe Biden appeared to ease tensions soon after with a phone call and the return of Philippe Etienne to Washington but Mr Morrison admitted the Elysee Palace was not taking his calls.

It wasn't until earlier this month that French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault flew back into Sydney, saying he was "happy to be back" but the relationship still needed some work.

Mr Morrison, having negotiated an agreement for net zero by 2050 with the Nationals, is expected to come under pressure in Glasgow from US, UK and European leaders to improve Australia's 2030 targets.

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As part of the Paris Agreement, all countries were expected to ratchet up their targets, "nationally determined contribution" ahead of COP26 but Australia stuck with the same relatively unambitious target of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction based on 2005 levels. 

That's slightly more than half of what the US is pledging and well below the UK and the European Union.

The Elysee said Mr Macron encouraged Mr Morrison to adopt "ambitious measures commensurate with the climate challenge".

"In particular the ratcheting up of the nationally determined contribution, the commitment to cease production and consumption of coal at the national level and abroad, and greater Australian support to the International Solar Alliance," it said.

Source : 9 News More   

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