Gladys Berejiklian’s scandalous defence, which her barrister has been pushing at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) during the week, that she did not act corruptly in awarding a $5.5 million grant for the electorate of her former secret boyfriend Daryl Maguire, Wagga Wagga, because she was only pork-barrelling has come unstuck by a smoking gun memo.
ICAC are investigating $35.5 million in grants, including $5.5 million issued to the Australian Clay Target Association, that Gladys Berejiklian approved for the seat of Wagga Wagga when she was treasurer before becoming premier in January 2017.
The memo was sent to former NSW Premier Mike Baird from his then advisor Nigel Blunden on the 12-12-16 which makes it clear the grant was dodgy and it couldn’t have been pork-barrelling because Mr Blunden suggests that they would be better off spending the money elsewhere to pork-barrel as per below where he says at the end of the memo “At the very least, let’s target our marginal seats, not one of our safest,”
One of the other lines that is most damming is:
They should go away, test the assumptions, verify the business case and then come back when it’s solid. (this was suggested and it was taken off the agenda, but Daryl fired up and Gladys put it back on)
What the comment “let’s target our marginal seats, not one of our safest” from Nigel Blunden to former NSW Premier Mike Baird also shows is how openly and blatantly corrupt Mike Baird and his staff were.
I watched a fair bit on the ICAC hearing during the week and published the below video on Wednesday (20/10/21) regarding Gladys Berejiklian’s defence at ICAC. One of her barristers, Sophie Callan, is claiming Gladys Berejiklian wasn’t acting corruptly she was just pork-barrelling which is a disgraceful defence and shows how desperate Gladys is. Sophie Callan didn’t use the term “pork-barrelling”, she used the words “political purposes” to describe the $5.5 million grant, which is the polite way of saying pork-barrelling.
Gladys Berejiklian thrown under a bus at ICAC by NSW Deputy Liberal leader Stuart Ayres
Stuart Ayers gave evidence at ICAC on Friday and he was focused on saving himself and I tweeted the below message (Click here to see on Twitter)
It was reported on the 22/10/21:
Gladys Berejiklian should have disclosed her relationship with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest when deciding on giving a multi-million dollar grant to a shooting club project that he had lobbied for, the deputy leader of the New South Wales Liberal party has told a corruption inquiry.
On Friday, the party’s new deputy, Stuart Ayres, who in 2017 was the minister for sport during the push for a controversial $5.5m grant to the Australian Clay Target Association now at the centre of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s probe into Berejiklian’s conduct, joined other witnesses in saying he had no idea she had been in a secret relationship with Maguire. (Click here to read more)
Anyone who watched ICAC during the week knows that Gladys Berejiklian’s political career is over as the witnesses lined up to point the finger squarely at Gladys Berejiklian so I wonder what the Liberals who were encouraging her to run for the federal seat of Warringah are thinking now?
It was reported on the 4th of October:
Some federal MPs say Berejiklian is seriously considering the proposal to switch to federal politics, but believe she wants to wait until the investigation being undertaken by the independent commission against corruption is complete.
Supporters of Berejiklian are confident that the ICAC investigation will clear her of any wrongdoing, while Berejiklian has insisted she has always acted with “integrity”.
It is understood that the prime minister, Scott Morrison, is aware of the approach to Berejiklian about Warringah, which would give the Coalition a strong chance of taking back the blue-ribbon seat, currently held by independent Zali Steggall. (Click here to read more)
While Gladys Berejiklian approved the $5.5 million grant when she was treasurer it wasn’t finalised until August 2017 and by that time, she was Premier, and the new NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet was the one who signed off on the deal in August 2017 as reported by independent news website The Klaxon:
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet as Treasurer was responsible for the $5.5 million Wagga Wagga gun club grant, which was green-stamped despite it being “unusual” and the NSW Office of Sport not wanting “any involvement” in the project, according to internal government emails.
Documents from a cache released by the NSW Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) show that just weeks before the grant was awarded to the private Wagga Wagga gun club, in August 2017, NSW Government staff were concerned about the grant process – which needed to go to the “Treasurer” for approval.
“We need to ensure that the funding goes to public infrastructure, not to private assets on private land,” wrote Jenny Davis of Infrastructure NSW.
The July 8, 2017 email was to seven colleagues, spanning three NSW Government departments. “The project is unusual,” Davis wrote. “The ERC (Expenditure Review Committee) minute approved it before we had ever heard of it. “Our recommendation doesn’t need to go back to ERC, but it does need the Treasurer to approve it.”
The $5.5m grant, which is at the heart of ICAC’s investigations, was approved just weeks later, in August 2017. Perrottet was NSW Treasurer at the time. (Click here to read more)
There has to be a good chance that by the end of the ICAC inquiry a few more current politicians might bite the dust.
Former deputy Premier John Barilaro is due to give evidence on Monday (25/10/21) at ICAC and I have no doubt he will be looking out for himself a per usual. As I Tweeted on Friday (22/10/21): (Click here to see on Twitter)
It’s going to be a very long weekend for Gladys Berejiklian waiting to see how many other witnesses at ICAC throw her under a bus next week to save themselves. I’ll keep on following up on this matter as there is hard evidence, straight from the Liberal Party’s own mouths via documents and testimony in the witness stand which is something the public rarely gets to see, proving corruption goes right to the top.
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