How Daryl Maguire brought down a NSW premier

Friday the 13th has long been considered a harbinger of bad luck. For Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, it was the day his political career came to an ignominious end.

More shocking would be the ripple effect of the day’s bad fortune, which would ultimately lead to the downfall of Maguire’s secret lover, former premier Gladys Berejiklian, followed by the shattering of her reputation with a finding she engaged in “serious corrupt conduct”.

Gladys Berejiklian, the then-NSW minister for transport, with then-Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire in his electorate in 2015.

Gladys Berejiklian, the then-NSW minister for transport, with then-Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire in his electorate in 2015.Credit: The Daily Advertiser / ACM

The first public indication that “Dodgy Dazza”, as parliamentary colleagues cruelly referred to him behind his back, was living up to his moniker occurred on Friday, July 13, 2018, when Maguire appeared at the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Two years earlier, on May 9, 2016, ICAC officers were targeting Canterbury City councillor Michael Hawatt over questionable property deals when they intercepted an astounding call.

They listened as Maguire, a state MP representing the Riverina district, boasted to Hawatt, an inner-city Liberal councillor, about his connection to a Chinese developer.

“My client is mega big and got mega money and – and wants two or three DA approved projects right now. Today!” the MP said.

Over several calls in May and June 2016 the pair discussed splitting the $1.5 million sales commission if they could get Maguire’s buddies from Country Garden Australia (CGA), a subsidiary of China’s largest property developer, to buy a development site from Hawatt’s mate, developer Charlie Demian.

Months after this fateful call with Hawatt, an email arrived for Tim Lakos, the head of property acquisitions for CGA.

In the body of the August 2016 email – subject line: “This is Australia” – were just three words: “Who is Daryl?”

Lakos explained to Country Garden’s new boss Guotao [GT] Hu that Maguire was a well-connected NSW government minister (Lakos was exaggerating), who was well-known in Chinese business circles.

It would be in Hu’s interest to meet Maguire, said Lakos in his email, as the MP was “a bit of a deal-broker and also willing to help with government matters”.

What neither man knew was that “Dodgy Dazza” was already in the ICAC’s sights over his earlier dealings with their company.

Surveillance photo of Daryl Maguire (left); with Charlie Demian (second from left with back to camera); Tim Lakos (white shirt); and Michael Hawatt (right, back to camera) at a Sydney cafe in May 2017.

Surveillance photo of Daryl Maguire (left); with Charlie Demian (second from left with back to camera); Tim Lakos (white shirt); and Michael Hawatt (right, back to camera) at a Sydney cafe in May 2017.Credit: ICAC

On May 27, 2017, surveillance photos show Lakos, Maguire, Demian and Hawatt meeting at Cafe Noir underneath CGA’s Castlereagh Street office to discuss the deal.

Nothing good came of the plans and Hawatt was later found to have engaged in “serious corrupt conduct” by dishonestly using his position on the council to advance the interests of developers.

The ICAC asked the Department of Public Prosecutions to consider charging Hawatt with blackmail, bribery and lying to the ICAC. Maguire has since been charged with one count of giving false evidence to the ICAC, adding to separate charges he is facing over an alleged cash-for-visas scheme he was running while in parliament.

In the witness box on that Black Friday in 2018, Maguire had denied any such money-making schemes with Hawatt – only to be confronted with damning telephone intercepts. His nearly 20-year parliamentary career came to a crashing halt.

After two days of silence, Berejiklian issued a statement: “I was shocked by the events of Friday and I spoke to Mr Maguire late that afternoon to express in the strongest possible terms my deep disappointment. He has let down his constituents, the people of NSW and the NSW Liberal Party.”

But the premier wasn’t being entirely frank.

Not only had she had conversations with her secret lover about a commission he had received and ones he hoped to receive, but Maguire had alerted Berejiklian to his forthcoming appearance at the ICAC, even though it can be a criminal offence to do so.

The week before his devastating appearance, the couple talked for almost an hour about Maguire being summonsed to the ICAC.

Maguire’s unfortunate appearance at this public hearing sparked further reports about his conduct to the ICAC.

The premier herself signed two highly sensitive briefing papers, known as “pinks”, from the Department of Premier and Cabinet informing her that, due to their duty under the ICAC Act to report possible corrupt conduct, two senior government officials were reporting what they knew about Maguire.

But the person who knew the most said nothing.

When the premier was summonsed to a private ICAC hearing on August 16, 2020, she was asked if, prior to the public revelations about Hawatt and Maguire’s scheme two years earlier, she was aware of whether “Mr Maguire had previously sought or had been paid a commission in connection with the sale of property while he was a member of parliament?”

“I was not aware,” she replied confidently.

The premier was then confronted with a text exchange with Maguire in early 2014.

Although she later told the ICAC that her clandestine relationship began in 2015, this text exchange pre-dated this by some 13 months.

Throughout 2017 Maguire was busy trying to get a hefty commission by brokering the sale of land at Badgerys Creek to Country Garden Australia (now known as Risland).

A deal by CGA to buy property owned by the about-to-be jailed murderer Ron Medich had fallen over and now Maguire was concentrating on getting a cut if he could get CGA to buy land owned by the late Bill Waterhouse and his children Robbie and Louise.

The potential windfall for landowners around Badgerys Creek was huge.

On her return to Sydney – after speaking in South Korea about NSW’s plans for an “aerotropolis” bringing high-quality engineering, robotics, defence and agribusiness jobs to Badgerys Creek airport – Berejiklian addressed a business forum foreshadowing her government’s grand plan for the area surrounding the proposed airport.

“It’s no exaggeration to say the Western Sydney Airport is one of the biggest economic game-changers our state has ever seen,” she said on August 31.

Behind the scenes, Maguire was planning for Badgerys Creek to be the biggest financial game-changer in his career. Phone taps reveal him repeatedly telling the premier that he would get rid of his $1.5 million debt with a land deal he had cooking at Badgerys Creek.

Four days day after the premier’s “game-changing” announcement Maguire told his partner excitedly: “It looks like we finally got the Badgerys Creek stuff done, that’s good, mmm. I’ll be glad when that’s done ’cause I’ll make enough money to pay off my debts [laughs], which would be good. Can you believe it, in one sale.

“I can believe it,” Berejiklian replied.

The following day, September 6, 2017, Maguire tells her: “And um yeah I’ll be alright if we do this deal with um if William [Luong, buyer’s agent for the Waterhouses] gets this deal done at Badgerys Creek then I won’t have to worry about it, too much. We’ll be in front again.”

Later that day he texted her saying: “also good news we clinched the land deal! … I should be back in the Black soon.”

The very next day, Maguire again shares his delight with Berejiklian about his debt reduction.

Maguire’s hopes for a percentage of Luong’s potential $6.9 million commission for selling the Waterhouse land to Country Garden hit a snag. Its rural zoning was affecting its potential sale, which was in turn affecting Maguire’s hope of getting a whack of money. Maguire lobbied tirelessly to get officials to rezone the land or approve a new road.

Louise Waterhouse signing in to NSW Parliament House October 17, 2017.

Louise Waterhouse signing in to NSW Parliament House October 17, 2017.Credit: ICAC

In October 2017, phone taps recorded Maguire telling Berejiklian that Waterhouse was having so many problems with her land at Badgerys Creek that “I took up to your office and said ‘here can you help solve it’.”

Surveillance photos show Waterhouse and Maguire in Parliament House on the day in question. In the premier’s foyer he badgered a staffer from the roads minister’s office.

He also gave Berejiklian’s private email address to Waterhouse, telling her the matter was “ICAC-able” and could be the subject of a freedom of information request, “so just send it directly to her personal one”.

The following day, November 15, 2017, he advised Berejiklian to expect Waterhouse’s email. “She’s really pissed off now so um, about the, you know, the, the airport … Just going around in circles, and I said this, this is f—ing typical of, of our government … these bureaucrats passing the buck,” he told Berejiklian.

Daryl Maguire meets Louise Waterhouse inside NSW Parliament House on October 17, 2017.

Daryl Maguire meets Louise Waterhouse inside NSW Parliament House on October 17, 2017.Credit: ICAC

Waterhouse emailed that same day requesting the premier’s help with zoning changes around Badgerys Creek airport that would benefit her family’s parcel of land. Berejiklian did not respond.

Evidence was later given to the ICAC that this email could not be found on Berejiklian’s computer and that “the premier is the only person who had access to, and the ability to delete items from the email account”.

In a private hearing in August 2020, the premier was asked whether she recalled: “Mr Maguire having any involvement in relation to land, around or near Badgerys Creek?”

Her answer was a flat “No.”

In a 52-minute call the premier had with Maguire in July 2018, before his appearance at the ICAC, she observed that the commission might be interested in why an MP from Wagga Wagga would be involved in introducing Chinese property developers to inner west councillors.

Maguire was having none of it. “I mean it’s just bullshit,” he blustered. “It’s worse than the Spanish f—ing inquisition.

“You know that people can’t even talk any more. You know they could be taping your conversation with me right now.”

Just days before his ICAC appearance, Maguire was encouraging Berejiklian to download WeChat, an encrypted Chinese messaging app. “They can read texts but not the little green man. It leaves no trace,” said Maguire referring to the green WeChat icon.

In the days after Maguire’s seemingly shady dealings were revealed at the ICAC, the opposition wanted a full investigation into the man who was infamously known as being a “corridor carouser” – a person who stalked the parliamentary corridors, lobbying about property developments and foisting his contacts upon relevant ministers.

Labor MP Daniel Mookhey was just one of many who raised concerns about Berejiklian’s silence on the matter. “When Mr Maguire’s conduct was first revealed in the secret ICAC recordings – which we all heard – we did not hear from the premier; she was nowhere to be seen. Indeed, when the call came for Mr Maguire’s resignation and removal from parliament, the most conspicuously absent voice was that of the premier.”

After Maguire’s disastrous ICAC appearance, the premier, who was on a week’s holiday at the time, told only one trusted confidant about her relationship with Maguire and, even then, she lied.

Sarah Cruickshank, former chief of staff to Gladys Berejiklian.

Sarah Cruickshank, former chief of staff to Gladys Berejiklian. Credit: Kate Geraghty

Sarah Cruickshank, both a friend and chief of staff to the premier, was at dinner on that Friday the 13th when Berejiklian called in a distressed state to confide in her that before she became premier in 2017 she had been in a relationship with Maguire.

The premier assured her repeatedly it was a historical relationship that was over long before she took the top job. She was only informing her chief of staff in case any pesky media got wind of her past relationship.

It later emerged that Maguire’s resignation from parliament in August 2018 over his brazen plans to secretly make money from a development deal was not enough to convince Berejiklian to end the relationship.

Instead, it continued in secret for another two years, ending only on September 13, 2020, shortly after the ICAC announced it would be holding public hearings into more of her partner’s questionable business activities.

Cruickshank would later reluctantly agree with assistant commissioner Ruth McColl’s assessment that Berejiklian had lied to her about the timing of the relationship.

Berejiklian told her it was long over and that it had occurred before she was premier. The final report noted the premier’s assertions were a lie and that the reason she wasn’t telling the truth was that “the cloud that was then over Mr Maguire might also encompass her … [and was] likely to inflict serious political damage”.

The bombshell that Maguire had been her secret partner while she was premier became public when Berejiklian was in the ICAC witness box on October 12, 2020.

Without flourish, counsel assisting Scott Robertson, SC, asked the premier a simple but ultimately lethal question.

Maguire was more forthcoming when asked about the relationship.

“It was a relationship, I take it, that was attended by a level of physical intimacy?” Robertson asked. “Later, yes, yes. That’s correct,” Maguire replied. They loved each other, talked about marriage and having a child.

“You had a key to her house?” Robertson asked. “Yes,” replied Daryl.

“Did she ever ask for that key back?” Robertson asked. “No,” replied Daryl.

The final report revealed that text messages between the pair dated from July 2013 to August 2018. “The messages are replete with terms of endearment, the use of pet names and other indications of mutual affection and love. They include discussions about marriage and the possibility of having a child together.”

Even when confronted with transcripts of phone conversations that showed Maguire discussing the representations he was making on behalf of property developers, Berejiklian stubbornly refused to budge. “Well, in the transcript it says he told me. Whether or not I listened or cared is another matter.”

Time and time again, in both public and private hearings, Berejiklian made excuses as to why she had never reported her partner’s possible corrupt conduct.

‘[Berejiklian’s] assertions that virtually no matter what Mr Maguire told her, she did not believe he had done anything wrong, let alone engaged in corrupt conduct, were dissembling, and almost impossible to accept as genuine.’

ICAC report

“If I had any suspicion whatsoever that, that I knew anything or suspected anything, of course, I would not have hesitated,” she said.

Instead, she said: “I wasn’t listening”; “I don’t remember”; “I wasn’t paying attention”; “I took zero interest”; “I have no recollection”; and “I hadn’t made that link”.

When it was suggested she was lying, Berejiklian offered: “I’ve been honest in what I thought I remember.”

The final report was scathing about Berejiklian’s “laundry list” of justifications for not reporting Maguire’s corrupt conduct, which the commissioner found “strained credulity, were inconsistent, circular, and at times bordered on the irrational”.

Since the premier “impressed as a shrewd politician concerned to be across the detail at all times”, McColl found it inconceivable that it never crossed Berejiklian’s mind to question how Maguire, a member of her government, was set to earn a significant commission in an area that involved a major government infrastructure program.

“Her assertions that virtually no matter what Mr Maguire told her, she did not believe he had done anything wrong, let alone engaged in corrupt conduct, were dissembling, and almost impossible to accept as genuine,” the report found.

Having been grilled once again in private hearings in September 2021, Berejiklian must have known her number was up when she received a summons to appear at a public hearing.

At noon the next day, October 1, the ICAC announced it was investigating the premier herself over the favourable grants she gave to organisations in her partner’s electorate and whether she had breached the public’s trust by failing to report Maguire’s possible corrupt conduct.

Within an hour, a red-eyed and drawn Berejiklian read from a prepared statement announcing she was resigning as premier.

Gladys Berejiklian announcing her resignation as premier on October 1, 2021.

Gladys Berejiklian announcing her resignation as premier on October 1, 2021.Credit: Dominic Lorrimer


“I state categorically, I have always acted with the highest level of integrity. History will demonstrate that I have always executed my duties with the highest degree of integrity for the benefit of the people of NSW who I have had the privilege to serve.”

In the end, it wasn’t about all the things Berejiklian did do; it was what she didn’t do that proved to be her downfall.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

Justin Scaccy

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button