Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian says she plans to “get on with” her life after concluding her evidence to the state’s corruption watchdog for nine hours over two days about her secret relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.
“Every decision I made, in terms of the public office I held, was in the best interests of the community and the public,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters outside the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“Now I intend to get on with my life.”
The inquiry broadened beyond its primary probe into Mr Maguire’s business and political dealings to examine whether Ms Berejiklian breached public trust in the way she handled projects he was pursuing or engaged in conduct “liable to allow or encourage corruption” by him.
Ms Berejiklian has denied any wrongdoing and was frequently exasperated during the examination in which she was more than once scolded by the commissioners for giving more context than the question required.
In her second and final day in the witness box the former premier was shown a series of July 2018 text messages in which Mr Maguire told her to download instant messaging service WeChat and get a “private phone”.
“They can read texts but not the little green man, it leaves no trace,” he wrote days after he was first called before the commission.
Ms Berejiklian said she didn’t know if “they” referred to ICAC or whether the “little green man” referred to the app’s green icon.
“I had no inclination to think that it was because he had done anything wrong,” she said on Monday.
“It could have been for privacy reasons.”
Ms Berejiklian said she never did buy a second phone.
The former premier was asked about a tapped phone call in July 2018 in which Mr Maguire told her he had been summonsed to appear as a witness at the ICAC.
Ms Berejiklian agreed it was in “black and white” in the transcript that Mr Maguire had made representations to property developers but she didn’t know all the people he mentioned.
“Whether or not I listened or cared is another matter,” Ms Berejiklian said on Monday.
“I did not assume any wrongdoing.”
In the tapped phone call, Mr Maguire told her he had introduced a former councillor to Chinese property development company Country Garden.
He maintained he had never “accepted a dollar” nor “done a deal” and Ms Berejiklian told him to “be honest and listen to your lawyer”.
Ms Berejiklian said she trusted Mr Maguire even after he was summonsed.
“I had no reason to disbelieve him when I pressed him a number of times and he said he’d done nothing wrong,” she said.
“I trusted him.”
NSW ministers are required under the ICAC Act to report suspicions of corrupt conduct to the commission but Ms Berejiklian said she didn’t think there was anything she needed to report.
She was asked again about an intercepted phone call in which the then-treasurer can be heard saying she got “$170 million in five minutes” for a hospital in Mr Maguire’s electorate but said that money had already been allocated.
“I am a stickler for making sure everything is done by the book,” she said.
She was asked about a phone call in which Mr Maguire told her to “throw money at Wagga” and she said she would.
She said governments “threw money at seats in order to keep them” in a by-election.