Politics

Gladys Berejiklian Was Interviewed By A ‘Daily Telegraph’ Gossip Columnist, And It Was Laughable

"What women hasn’t continued to date their junior colleague after firing them over corruption allegations? She’s just a modern day Carrie."

Gladys talks to Daily Telegraph gossip columnist about how she loved Daryl Maguire, in stunning PR move

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After last week revealing her ‘personal relationship’ with disgraced former NSW MP Daryl Maguire as part of an ICAC investigation into state corruption, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has downplayed the seriousness of their relationship before telling The Daily Telegraph this weekend that she loved Maguire and wanted to marry him.

The couple’s relationship was publicly revealed last week during ICAC hearings, which are assessing the levels of Maguire’s corruption, as the former Wagga Wagga MP, who resigned in 2018, used his position to directly funnel money into his own business. He has now confessed to a litany of corruption charges — and with news of his relationship of Berejiklian, ICAC tries to assess how much she was privy to.

Given that their relationship began in 2015 — the time has changed in interviews — it’s questionable why it continued until ‘up to a few weeks ago’, given Maguire resigned in 2018 over improper dealings. According to Berejiklian’s first interview with press after the ICAC revelations, it was love.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph‘s gossip columnist Annette Sharp, Berejiklian said she had “given up on love” and felt embarrassed and bruised by the scandal.

“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.”

The sympathetic piece, filled with descriptions of the ‘hurt’ Premier, was accompanied with a girl-boss photoshoot of Berejiklian in jeans and a blazer, and was printed alongside a poll indicating the average person felt the premier had done nothing wrong.

The Daily Telegraph.

In one section, Sharp asks Berejiklian if she loved him, to which the premier says yes, and that she had hoped to marry him, while also rejecting terms like ‘boyfriend’ or ‘partner’.

She also reveals she was ‘bored’ by conversations with him, which means she missed any shady discussions of business: clips played during the investigation capture that boredom. And by Monday morning, she’d resumed her earlier line, telling Ben Fordham on 2GB that Maguire wasn’t “anything of note”, though she hoped he might become something more important to her.

It is a fine line, one which garners sympathy while avoiding culpability — the relationship was supposedly important enough for Berejliklian to imagine marriage, but not important enough to disclose it to the public or be interested by things he said.

As both Crikey and The Saturday Paper point out, the diversion to “poor Gladys” cuts away from the core issue: did she let corruption take place, regardless or not of her personal feelings about Maguire? Anything else — the confusion over their relationship, the jokes about Berejiklian being just another woman felled by a mediocre man, the sympathy — is a distraction.

Online, many are pointing out the hypocrisy in the Murdoch media’s coverage of Berejiklian, given both their current demonisation of Daniel Andrews and previous hard-line with ex-PM Julia Gillard, who in 2014 was herself part of an ICAC investigation dating back to a ‘slush fund scandal’ from her early days as a lawyer in the ’90s, where a relationship raised questions of corruption.

Berejiklian has batted off questions of whether she’ll resign, continuing to say she’s done nothing wrong. The ICAC investigation continues this week.