The New South Wales Premier has called on disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire to quit politics altogether after secret phone recordings of him discussing potential developer “dividends” were revealed.
Gladys Berejiklian said she felt “deep disappointment” after learning the recordings, played at an Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing on Friday, were of the Wagga Wagga MP trying to strike a deal in 2016 with then-Canterbury City councillor Michael Hawatt.
She said he should reconsider representing Wagga Wagga.
“Whilst it is for Mr Maguire alone to determine whether he stays on as the elected member until next March, I would encourage him to think carefully as to whether he can effectively represent the people of Wagga Wagga from here on in.”
Mr Maguire quit the Liberal Party on Friday night after the ICAC inquiry heard telephone conversations of him trying to arrange with Mr Hawatt the “dividend” they’d get for helping arrange a multi-million-dollar property sale to a Chinese developer.
“1.5 per cent isn’t enough divided by two, if you know what I mean,” Mr Maguire was recorded as saying.
The veteran Liberal MP also quit his role as parliamentary secretary for counter terrorism, corrections, veterans and the Centenary of ANZAC.
The Premier said the opening of nominations for the seat of Wagga Wagga would be brought forward so an “appropriate” new candidate for the Liberal Party can be preselected.
“He has let down his constituents, the people of NSW and the NSW Liberal Party,” she said.
Wagga Wagga mayor Greg Conkey called on the MP to seriously consider quitting parliament, while local Labor-aligned councillors said the city “deserves better than this”.
Acting NSW opposition leader Michael Daley says while Ms Berejiklian has “no power to compel anyone to go”, Mr Maguire should not be allowed to remain on the crossbench as “a lame duck wrongdoer” until the state election in March.
Mr Maguire, who has held the safe seat since 1999, apologised for causing “distress and embarrassment” to the party and denied he had ever received or shared any commission from brokering property deals with Mr Hawatt.
In recorded calls with Mr Hawatt, the veteran MP described giant Chinese developer Country Garden as “mega-big” with “mega-money” and said he had “half a dozen” other potential clients wanting to buy development-approved sites in Sydney.