New South Wales Government MP Daryl Maguire is in deep poo. This is because of revelations to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the state anti-corruption body. In an investigation into claims of improper conduct by former Canterbury City councillors Michael Hawatt and Pierre Azzi, a phone conversation between Hawatt and Maguire was recorded. Maguire was acting on behalf of Chinese ‘friends’ from the company Country Garden, which he was trying to help get established in Australia. In this phone conversation, Maguire told Hawatt, that his ‘friends’ were “mega big with mega money” and wanted to invest in as many as 30 properties for which development had been approved. Hawatt suggested a $48 million project on Canterbury Road, and Maguire asked him what his ‘margin’ was on the property. Hawatt replied that his ‘margin’ was 1.5%. Maguire then said “1.5 per cent divided by two isn’t very good. Three per cent is a lot better, if you know what I’m talking about”. In evidence before ICAC, Maguire said he suspected the ‘destination’ for that ‘dividend’ was himself1.
This corruption, as you would expect, is all over the news1,2, even in the digital Murdoch outlet, news.com.au3, and Murdoch’s Melbourne tabloid, the Herald Sun4. However, all Maguire could do was to apologise for causing “embarrassment and disappointment to a lot of people”, and to resign from his parliamentary secretary position as well as from the Liberal Party and to take leave, as if this somehow is supposed to make the stench surrounding the Liberal Party less intense. Deputy Premier John Barilaro accepted Maguire’s resignation, but would ‘not be drawn’ on whether he should quit parliament altogether1.
As parliamentary secretary, Maguire would have been on a salary of $198,079 per annum with an annual electoral allowance of up to $140,000. Now he is a lowly crossbencher, he is on ‘only’ $165,066, but still gets an electoral allowance5. The fact that a politician can admit being corrupt but does not hesitate to keep his snout deep in the taxpayer funded trough, is symptomatic of what is wrong with modern Australian politics. Seemingly unaware of the irony in his statement, Barilaro said that he and the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, expected “the highest of standards when it comes to integrity for all members of the NSW Parliament”1. This would be hilarious in a satire, but in this context, it is simply criminal.
It is ridiculous and quite alarming that Maguire has not already resigned from parliament, or at least have been asked to do so by the Premier. This sport of thing further weakens the view of the general public on the integrity of parliamentarians in all Australian parliaments. This is a serious issue for democracy as a whole.
I think he will be forced to resign from parliament. If you or I had done that sort of thing we’d already have been given the boot.
Agree Jim. Resignation is inadequate. He should be stripped of his super AND face the courts. I look forward to the corruption charges by the NSW DPP. That’s a huge lol. Can’t recall previous Liberal MHRs caught up in corruption with developers being charged. Was Tripodi ever charged? NSW people should be asking wtf the NSW DPP has been doing with all ICAC’s recommendations. Did Glad reduce their funding?
The ICAC budget has been the target of several funding decreases in recent years causing it to drop some investigations. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/17/icac-weakening-due-to-budget-cuts-and-job-losses-union-and-nsw-labor-warn
This demonstrates that the government is not genuine about rooting out corruption, lest they be caught like Maguire was. Maguire will, I believe, be forced to leave parliament simply by the pressure being heaped on him.
No government believes in being accountable. Witness the myriad steps the grubs have taken over the past century to protect themselves. Inquiries are only ever commenced after the results have already been set in concrete. It follows that watchdogs can **NEVER** be dictionary meaning ‘independent’ as there isn’t a member of the legislature, bureaucracy or judiciary who would be party to creating something that could potentially turn around and bite them. I use the the Queensland Crime Cover-up Commission as an example. Its own official reports to parliament show its utterly miserable investigation rate of complaints received has been as low as 0.4%. Some may recall chairman Allan Macsporran admitting that most local authorities are corrupt, but it would be too much work for the CCC to bring them to account. Even in the rare instance where a politician or bureaucrat is put on the carpet (eg the dual citizen federal politicians), there is no penalty and within weeks they have their grubby snouts back in the feeding trough. I don’t need to detail what fate you or I would suffer if we embezzled millions of dollars of public money. Quite literally, there are several sets of rules. Another issue which is totally verboten in most circles is the over the top protection afforded to the judiciary. It doesn’t matter what these uber-arrogant ignoramuses do because its all hidden so that the masses ‘respect’ them. Anyone experienced with kangaroo tribunals (QCAT / NCAT / VCAT etc) knows full well that the quasi-judiciary is a haven for psychopathic thugs who failed dismally in their previous vocation and delight in exacting vengeance on their victims (hard copy and audio transcripts available). Yet again, there is no avenue for recourse against these goons. Tim Carmody at least tried to bring down the roof of QCAT but the combined pressure of the powers that be apparently put the kybosh on his efforts.