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'I don't need to know that bit.'

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

The quote leaves me wondering ...

So many questions:

* If a person in a close personal relationship with a Premier refrains from telling her 'too much detail', he must have a good reason. Could it be that he believes the detail may be about a deal which may involve an element of interest to ICAC? Could it be that he knows that she will be obliged, by ethics or law, to report the information? Or could it be something else?

* If a person holds public office and, in conversation with a close personal friend, tells him, 'I don't need to know that bit', how does she know that she doesn't need to know it? Is she guided by previous information she has gained? At what point does she decide she has already gleaned enough information to know she doesn't want to (or shouldn't) know more? That to know more would endanger her public position ... if it hasn't already been endangered by the knowledge she has?

* If a person holds a NSW government ministerial position (including the position of Premier) would it not be her/his responsibility to know that under the ministerial code of conduct the definition of a family member includes 'any person with whom the minister is in an intimate personal relationship'? So, how could that minister (including a Premier) not be subject to the ICAC Act which states that she/he must disclose potential conflict matters involving a 'family member'?

As reported by the ABC on October 16:

'The [ICAC] hearing was played an intercepted phone call between Mr Maguire and Ms Berejiklian in October 2017 where he discussed meetings he sought with the Premier's staff to help rectify a planning issue for Ms [Louise] Waterhouse near land she owned at Badgerys Creek.

Sydney's second international airport is being built in the area, and is due to open by 2026.

MAGUIRE: "I had coffee with Louise Waterhouse". BEREJIKLIAN: "Oh yeah, how's she going?" MAGUIRE: "Yeah good. She's got a big problem so I took up to your office and said here can you help solve it. She's got a lot of property out at Badgerys Creek ..." BEREJIKLIAN: "Yeah." MAGUIRE: "... and the Planning Department right, and and RMS and all them, are saying look you know, we, we don't want to plan that now, we're too busy worrying about you know, the new housing and all this around Badgerys Creek. "And she's saying but, you know, I need a road, I need an access, give me an access. I'll develop it myself, I don't need you, right." BEREJIKLIAN: "Mmm." MAGUIRE: "And they're resisting. She said I've been two years trying to get this road on. She said and." BEREJIKLIAN: "Mmm." MAGUIRE: "... and they just won't do anything and I said OK. So I got Roads, I got Jock to come down and I got um, one bloke from your place there, got them to put their heads together and said look, why can't you fix this." "They, they need to extend the, the, the thing 300 metres right and, and there's no change in it. You know put 300 metres and she can get on with the job. Honestly. I just, you know, nobody wants to do anything."

Ms Berejiklian maintains she was never briefed on the details of Mr Maguire's business dealings and that she never became involved with his financial affairs.'

And head on the heels of the above cause of wondering, this week we've had a disclosure debated in the NSW Parliament of the shredding of documents related to $250 million in State Government grants to some councils.

As reported, a former NSW auditor-general, Tony Harris, warned that the shredding was likely to be unlawful and should end Gladys Berejiklian's leadership.

Harris, who has also served as a senior Commonwealth public servant, said he was confident the Premier's office breached the State Records Act when it destroyed paper and digital records.

'The role that the Premier's office had in the shredding of documents is good reason for her departure. She should resign,' he said, according to a report by Alexandra Smith in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Plenty of food for thought ...

Christine Williams


Sydney Morning Herald Oct 17-18 2020 article titled 'Berejiklian "did not want to know": Maguire' by Lucy Cormack

Copyright Christine Williams Photos: Wix; AAP Joel Carrett.

SSOA writers' blogs are made possible through the support of City of Sydney grant assistance.


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