A Valentine’s Day phone call between NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her lover and former Liberal MP Daryl McGuire was intercepted by corruption investigators and it reveals how clearing his debts were central to their hopes of a future life together.
The covert recording, that involved a police warrant, took place on the February 14, 2018, just months before Mr McGuire was forced out of politics over land commissions on property deals.
It also raises fresh questions about how much Ms Berejiklian knew about the deals before Mr McGuire was forced to quit politics over the scandal.
The inquiry has heard that Mr McGuire was in the midst of a divorce and knew he had to hand over a substantial amount of his parliamentary pension to his wife, Maureen.
Ms Berejiklian and Mr McGuire appear to be talking about his divorce and the financial fallout on the Valentine’s Day phone call.
“No I’m just trying, trying to let you think about what you need to do and all that stuff that’s all,’’ Ms Berejiklian says.
Mr McGuire says he just needs to “get these things over the line that’s why I was late for the thing last- working, working, working.”
“Hmm,’’ Ms Berejiklian replies.
At that point, Mr McGuire appears to refer to the Country Gardens deal that was ultimately at the centre of his departure from politics several months later.
In a phone tap released by ICAC in July 2018, Mr McGuire reveals that Country Garden is a client and he stands to earn a commission over a deal involving the development.
“I’ve got a meeting tomorrow morning with Joe and those guys try and tie that up I’m working bloody hard because (indecipherable) Garden has f***ing fallen through and Jimmy’s we got his over the line that’s good I can’t I can’t not go to nothing I have to go to something there is no future doing things for NSW government.”
Ms Berejiklian responds by calling him “Hokis” an Armenian term of affection.
“I understand that but this is the other thing that I am thinking right that I-- I need you to process in your head what you want to do right but I also need to come to the realisation that it’s not got anything to do with me so I just have.”
Mr McGuire replies that it will have “absolutely nothing” to do with her.
“But that’s that’s a bigger picture, bigger issue that I need to figure out,’’ Ms Berejiklian replied.
Mr McGuire adds: “I just, I just, I just, got to sort out you know with these kids and stuff what’s going to happen that’s all I’m worried about.”
“Yes I know that’s why I am giving you space. I’m trying not to stress you,’’ Ms Berejiklian says.
“I’m trying to support, support you not stress you.”
In the meantime, Mr McGuire says: “I am working to make the farm pay. I’m working to try and get things over the line. I don’t want to stay. I want to go you know but if they push me into a corner then then you know I’ll have no choice.”
The NSW Premier replies, “Hmm.”
“I don’t want to be pushed into a corner, that’s why I’m working hard. You know that’s why I went to the meeting. Why I was late. That’s why I’m having lunch with people. I’m working.”
“I get that I’m just trying to process things in my own head that’s all,’’ she replies.
“You’ve got to think about your stuff and I’ve got to think about my stuff that’s all.”
The phone call ends like this:
MAGUIRE: Hmm well I am working on that Gladys. I’m going to bed see ya later.
BEREJIKLIAN: OK bye.
Ms Berejiklian has denied any wrongdoing or that she knew about her ex-lovers controversial deals.