Over the last few days, there has been a full court press by senior Liberals to get Gladys Berejiklian to run against Zali Stegall for the Federal seat of Warringah.
This necessarily involves attacking the NSW ICAC for what Scott Morrison described as their shameful “pile-on”.
“We have seen plenty of these things and recordings of private conversations detailed intimate things that were paraded around in the media. What was that about? Was that about shaming Gladys Berejiklian? I thought that was awful.”
The ICAC is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust by failing to declare a conflict of interest from her relationship with Mr Maguire, and if she failed to report suspicions or encouraged corrupt conduct.
The reason private conversations were aired was because they showed Ms Berejiklian potentially ignoring corruption and blatantly misusing public money for political gain. The fact that the other party was her boyfriend was irrelevant to the act but relevant to the motivation. The more intimate parts of recordings were not made public but heard in private session.
Let’s be clear here.
It was Gladys that mixed work and play. It was Gladys that chose to keep the relationship secret rather than manage the conflict of interest transparently. It was Gladys that overruled departmental advice to, instead, award grant money to bolster her partner’s political standing.
As Gladys so arrogantly said in her defence, “I don’t think it would be a surprise to anybody that we throw money at seats to keep them. At the end of the day, whether we like it or not, that’s democracy.”
Pork barrelling is not illegal, but it certainly isn’t democracy either.
Morrison said this morning, “What I found is that Gladys was put in a position of actually having to stand down and there was no findings of anything. I don’t call that justice.”
I would remind the Prime Minister that the findings have not yet been brought down and that Ms Berejiklian stood down in compliance with the ministerial standards she herself made. Resigning was her choice entirely.
With the vast majority of the electorate in favour of a Federal ICAC with teeth, and the government’s broken promise to legislate one, attacking the NSW ICAC is a risky strategy.
Zali Stegall is no pushover. If I was Glad, I would seriously consider whether it’s worth the attention that her candidacy would draw.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!