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Gladys Berejiklian, cat with 9 lives, slinks her way out of ICAC

After the NSW upper house voted to refer Gladys Berejiklian to corruption watchdog ICAC, a vote from the lower house kept the premier safe – for now.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has managed to avoid being referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) following a motion put forward by Labor.

It comes weeks after the premier’s relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire was revealed in a separate ICAC commission, prompting concerns that Berejiklian was aware of – and perhaps even complicit in – her partner’s dodgy dealings.

gladys berejiklian icac
Photo via Queensland Times

In a motion put forward by Labor yesterday, the NSW upper house voted 22 to 15 to refer Gladys Berejiklian to ICAC. However, the premier was subsequently saved by the lower house, who blocked the vote 43 to 35 (not an unexpected outcome considering the NSW government currently has a majority at this level of parliament). ICAC is only obliged to consider a motion if it is passed by both houses.

Nevertheless, the outcome in the upper house shows an important shift within the parliament, with crossbenchers who previously supported the premier now voting against her.

 

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According to AAP, the Animal Justice and Shooters, Fishers and Famers parties – who last month both voted in favour of Berejiklian in a no-confidence motion brought by Opposition Leader Jodi McKay – now feel as though there is enough evidence to justify an investigation into potential corruption.

“(This) signifies very serious concern right across the political spectrum about these matters, and the desire from the majority, at least in the upper house, to have these matters independently and thoroughly investigated by the corruption watchdog,” Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Adam Searle described of the vote.

During the proceedings in the upper house, One Nation leader Mark Latham argued that the premier, who had claimed her relationship with Maguire was not of “sufficient status” to go public, had downplayed it to ICAC.

According to The Guardian, Latham revealed that Maguire had keys to her house and had returned there as recently as September to collect his belongings. Latham also alleged that the premier had acted as “a spy against her own staff”.

On top of her relationship with Maguire, Berejiklian’s potential involvement in the shredding of documents pertaining to a $252m grants scheme – 95 per cent of which was allocated to councils held by Coalition seats – is also in question.

It comes as Gladys Berejiklian is calling for a change to the National Anthem in order to acknowledge Aboriginal Australians – a move which has largely been perceived as tokenistic and distractionary.