What happens to Gladys Berejiklian now she’s been found corrupt? Why her Optus job is under threat

What’s next for Gladys Berejiklian? How ‘corrupt’ premier’s high-flying job at Optus is now in peril – as the ICAC makes a bombshell call on whether she will be CHARGED over findings

  • Corruption watchdog releases Berejiklian findings 
  • ICAC declined to push for the ex-NSW Premier to be charged 
  • She currently holds an executive job with Optus 

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s executive position at Optus could be on on line after the state’s corruption watchdog found she committed ‘serious misconduct’ while in office. 

Ms Berejiklian was parachuted into the newly created role of Managing Director, Enterprise, Business and Institutional for the telco in February last year after she abruptly resigned as premier in 2021.

On Thursday, the Independent Commission Against Corruption said Ms Berejiklian and former member for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire – who were both in an undisclosed relationship – engaged in ‘serious corrupt conduct’. 

ICAC has sought advice from prosecutors regarding launching criminal proceedings against Ms Berejiklian’s former lover, but indicated they will not recommend charges be pressed against her.

The report determined: ‘The Commission is not of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the DPP with respect to the prosecution of Ms Berejiklian for any offence.’ 

Regardless, the corruption findings cast doubt on whether her position at Optus – Australia’s second biggest telco – remains tenable.

Ms Berejiklian pictured leaving her home on Thursday ahead of ICAC making its bombshell announcement 

Ms Berejiklian's former top Minister Matt Kean put his spin on ICAC's findings

Ms Berejiklian’s former top Minister Matt Kean put his spin on ICAC’s findings 

In May this year, ahead of the ICAC findings, Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the company was standing by Ms Berejiklian but would reassess their position when the report was released. 

Ms Bayer Rosmarin said the ICAC investigation was connected to events that happened ‘well before Gladys joined Optus’.

‘We will have to look at the findings when they come out and that will be a matter for Gladys, and then we will decide if there is anything relevant for Optus,’ she told the Australian Financial Review.

The company was ‘not expecting’ anything to emerge that would jeopardise her role, she added.

Former political powerbroker Graham Richardson, who previously defended Ms Berejiklian, said he believes she must resign her executive job.

‘I think… she will resign. I’ll be very surprised if Optus kept her on,’ he said on Sky News.

‘There’s no joy for Gladys no matter which direction she looks. And I think that’s really sad.’

‘I think Gladys Berejiklian has hit a dead end.’ 

Ms Berejiklian holds the role of Managing Director, Enterprise, Business and Institutional at Australia's second largest telco

Ms Berejiklian holds the role of Managing Director, Enterprise, Business and Institutional at Australia’s second largest telco 

NSW Liberal premiers ICAC has brought down

NICK GREINER: The Independent Commission Against Corruption was established by the Greiner Government in 1988 only for the Terry Metherell affair to force his resignation in June 1992

Mr Metherell, a former Liberal education minister, was now an independent in a hung parliament and he was offered a job running the new Environment Protection Agency, within the department, so the government could win back his Sydney North Shore seat of Davidson

BARRY O’FARRELL: A month after winning a landslide election victory, Mr O’Farrell in April 2011 was gifted a $3,000 bottle of Grange Hermitage which he didn’t declare

He resigned after this was revealed at an ICAC hearing in April 2014

ICAC said in a statement on Thursday that between 2012 and 2018 ‘Mr Maguire improperly used his office, and the resources to which he had access as a member of Parliament, to benefit G8wayInternational Pty Ltd.’

The Commission said he was ‘in substance a director’ of the company and had arrangements with others to share in its profits.

‘Mr Maguire also failed to disclose his interest and position in G8wayInternational or all the sources of his income, as he was required to do,’ it added.

He also misused his MP position and role as chair of the NSW Parliament Asia Pacific Friendship Group to advance his, and his associates, financial interests, it said. 

The Commission found Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust in 2016 and 2017 by exercising her official functions regarding two government funded construction projects being lobbied for by Maguire.

The two Wagga Wagga based projects were the Australian Clay Target Association (ACTA), and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music (RCM).

‘Ms Berejiklian had presided over and/or been a member of the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) meetings that had approved grants,’ it said.

The grants comprised $5.5 million for ACTA and $10 million for refurbishing and repurposing a new government-owned site to make it fit-for-purpose for the RCM (RCM Stage 1).

‘At the same time, Mr Maguire and Ms Berejiklian were in an undisclosed close personal relationship.’

Why ICAC won’t push for criminal charge despite corruption finding 

Criminal misconduct requires different elements including a ‘nefarious motive’ and a higher standard of proof.

For ICAC’s finding it needs to be satisfied on a ‘balance of probabilities’ that Ms Berejiklian willfully failed to comply with her duties. 

‘The Commission concludes there is insufficient evidence, particularly in the absence of Ms Berejikilan’s evidence, for inferences to be drawn that would prove the offence of misconduct in public office to the required standard of beyond reasonable doubt.’ 

The Commission said it was ‘reasonably clear’ that any advice from the DPP would be that no prosecution should be commenced.

They therefore did not make a submission to the DPP regarding Ms Berejiklian. 

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